Selling. Many inventors fear it, but you don’t have to. Your product ultimately needs to sell itself; if it truly has a sincere benefit, then the process isn’t going to be difficult. You need to believe that you’re simply showing a company or a potential partner how they can make more money.
But let’s make a few points clear. After twenty-five years of essentially cold-calling companies, I still get nervous. It’s impossible to fully rid yourself of nerves. The best thing you can do for yourself is to learn how to lessen them and live with them. A little knowledge will go a long way in taking away some of your anxiety. Inventors think they need to know everything. That, too, is impossible. But the more you do and the more you familiarize yourself with, the more confident you are likely to be. I let the information I gain calm me. It’s also important to recognize the importance of practice – it never gets old. Practice to the mirror, practice in the car, practice on your family and friends. Writing down some of the concepts of my pitch also helps jog my mind. The first call is always the most difficult, but ride it out.
You might be asking yourself, “But what if they ask a question for which I do not have an answer?” It might happen. And, really? It’s perfectly fine. Do the best job you can. I view selling your idea to a company as establishing a relationship. And in that relationship, you want to create dialogue. You want them to ask questions! If you don’t have the answer to one, maintain composure and inform them that you will get back to them on that particular issue. You should, however, have a base understanding of their business and manufacturing.
In establishing that relationship, it’s crucial you don’t overwhelm the company you are approaching with too much information in your pitch. They are not going to want, nor expect, to know everything at the very beginning. I believe the sell sheet is the perfect example of this; a picture of your idea and description of its benefit should be enough to pique their interest. It is also the perfect tool they will use to sell your idea to their own customers and bosses. In a best-case scenario, a company will call and ask for additional details. Inventors have a tendency to want to divulge too much, too early. Resist it!
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Coming Up Next Week…
Hey, I’m rolling out nationally to 7 Eleven with my guitar picks.
Did I go through the corporate door in Dallas, TX? – No.
Did I need a unique patented idea? – No.
Did I have any prior experience selling at convenience stores? – No.
Am I loving life? – Hell No.
You better be careful what you wish for.
Learn the difference between licensing and manufacturing first hand.
Would I do it again? I guess you will have to listen in to find out.