I frequently encounter inventors who truly believe that they “just need a name” or “just need a contact” in the company they are interested in submitting an idea to in order to be successful. The fact is there are no magical names and there are no magical contacts. At times, having a contact has helped me. I’ve definitely networked to find a contact at a company or newspaper. Other times, having a contact hasn’t helped me at all. But in all instances, the information I supplied to the company and quality of my presentation has been the most important.
If you have a contact in a company you’re interested in submitting to, do your homework. Know their needs. Does your product solve a problem or answer one of those needs? It must. Be professional: persistent but polite. The bottom line is firm. If someone is buying apples, you need to sell apples. It doesn’t matter how sound your contact is or isn’t. You could have the best contact in the world; if you’re not selling apples, they won’t be buying any of your product.
Waiting for a contact to present itself is like waiting for that perfect, magical idea to hit you. That idea doesn’t exist and neither does your perfect contact. And no amount of waiting or hoping will change this truth. I’ve realized that the best thing you can do for yourself is to be proactive. Get over your fear of making contacts by perfecting your small talk skills and practicing your pitch. It’s as simple as introducing yourself as a product developer and explaining you’re interested in submitting an idea.
Having a contact has helped and failed to help me an equal number of times. There’s no guarantee. So don’t expect one.
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