A lot of inventors really struggle with selling their inventions. They love being creative and coming up with ideas, but they have a problem talking about it or hate the idea and practice of being a salesman.
I love talking to people. My family knows – wherever I go, I’m bound to make a new friend, to approach someone in a bar or the grocery store. But I wasn’t always so comfortable doing this. I was shy and uncomfortable talking to someone I didn’t know or a large group of people.
I think this was so because I was intimidated. For example, when I would attend my wife’s company parties, I was often the wallflower. I thought that these corporate employees were smarter than me, that they had more information than I did. They had gone to Ivy League schools and had great paying jobs. Who was I?
It wasn’t until this logic changed that I could gain some confidence. I finally realized a very important truth, and you need to too. If you have the opportunity to present your invention to a licensing company, if you’re standing before them (or your sales sheet is), then YOU have the power. They’re listening to you and your ideas – it’s your floor.
You need to learn to look at yourself differently. You’re ultimately trying to show a company how they can make money: be proud. That’s of value. Not everyone can do that. I once attended a meeting at Coca Cola and was downright frightened. What did I know about corporate America? But I realized that they didn’t want or need me to be a smooth talking salesman. They were looking to buy, not be sold.
And furthermore, understand that you will realistically have a lot less face and phone time than you’re probably imagining. When I first began inventing, I thought I needed to fly out and have all these meetings in person. I didn’t. You don’t need to be able to present incredibly well in person. But you do need a strong sales sheet to do your selling for you.
And frankly, I’ve even sold products that I now realize had very weak sell sheets! Have you identified a real problem? Does your idea solve it? Derive strength from these facts. If your ideas are strong, they’re really all you need.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 25 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight, a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas and the skills needed to succeed. You can ask questions and get advice on the inventRight forum, check out the resource center, and listen to the weekly radio show on inventing.