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Shark Tank: Lori Greiner Is The Least Likely To Close A Deal According To Forbes

For entrepreneurs daring enough to brave the "Shark Tank," an offer from the show's celebrity investors can feel like the reward after a long journey. In reality, their journey has just begun.

As some fans of the long-running ABC reality program may already know, a handshake deal in the tank can be easily broken after the cameras stop rolling — especially if that handshake was with Lori Greiner. According to a report from Forbes released at the beginning of the year, Greiner closed just 29% of her deals — the lowest closing rate of her regular peers on the show. Robert Herjavec was just one-percent shy of tying Greiner for the bottom slot, while Kevin O'Leary, Mark Cuban, and Daymond John all closed about half of the deals in question. That makes real estate empress Barbara Corcoran the top shark, having closed a solid 60% of her deals, according to Forbes.

The implications of Greiner and Herjavec's low closing rates are varied. As Forbes relayed in their last "Shark Tank" audit back in 2016, the investors stated that entrepreneurs would often come to the show with inaccurate financial claims that would subsequently come to light once lawyers got involved. In the 2023 article, Cuban also said that the series had recently seen a rise in what they once called "gold diggers" (people who only appear on the show for a "free commercial").

From the entrepreneur's perspective, sources told Forbes that the investors would simply pull out of deals without explanation. In some cases, contestants were even coerced to "accept" deals by producers as part of the show, despite the entrepreneurs' disinterest in taking the offer (Cuban confirmed this allegation to Forbes). Regardless of what you believe, it's hard to ignore such a deep decline in the sharks' closing rates.

The Sharks aren't feeding like they used to

Speaking of Forbes' 2016 article, the data they released in January 2023 becomes even more interesting when you compare it to their findings from seven years ago. In 2016, Forbes found that 43% of the deals made in the "Shark Tank" ultimately dissolved, with the contestants alleging that the investors attempted to offer them altered deals off-air. Only 27% of these handshake deals were legally closed under the terms agreed to while filming the series.

In this same survey, Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec were still ranked the lowest two sharks in terms of closing — though Herjavec was three points lower than Greiner (about 46% and 49%, respectively). Surprisingly, Barbara Corcoran didn't reach much higher at just 50% even. Kevin O'Leary and Daymond John almost broke the 60% barrier, while Mark Cuban closed a staggering 88% of his deals.

Overall, closing rates on "Shark Tank" seem to have gone down dramatically. Perhaps in the social media age, the series is more valuable as a marketing tactic than an earnest investment platform. Though some may clutch their pearls at the idea of entrepreneurs entering the tank in bad faith for a free commercial, it's hard to paint that strategy as unethical when the show is forcing contestants to take a deal under the threat that they'll be cut from the episode.

For both parties, "Shark Tank" is an entertainment program first and a business meeting second. If the audience comes to this same realization, it may tarnish the "American Dream™" branding that's carried it so far.