Pitch Your Idea Like a Pro

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idea pitch

I’m not going to sugar coat it, so here goes…  most inventor product pitches stink, and it has nothing to do with the invention.

The trouble is that many inventors misunderstand what’s important about their ideas to the person they are pitching it to.

 

Here are 5 mistakes people make when pitching an idea for licensing:

5.  Too Long.  Many pitches I am sent to review are wayyyy too long and share wayyyy share way too much detail for an invention submission.  Imagine walking up to someone you want to date and trying to make a good first impression by handing them your autobiography.  OMG TMI…  A good product pitch is short, concise and targeted to the person you’re giving it to.  Your goal is to engage the interest the other person in your solution so you can open a dialogue.  Then you can answer their questions and share all those wonderful details and facts that prove why your product is a perfect fit for them right now.

4.  Too Self Centered.  Inventors often get so caught up in what their invention means to them, they can’t resist sharing their flash-of-genius stories when pitching their products.  You have a limited amount of time in which to get your idea across to that decision maker so don’t spend it fluffing your ego.  General rule: only explain how you came up with the idea when someone asks.

3.  Not Personalized.  You private goal might be to get ANYONE to license your idea, but you certainly don’t want to come across that way.  When you present your idea to a company take the time to customize your pitch just for them.  This might be as simple as adding their logo, but to have the best shot at landing this deal make sure you do your homework.  You want to understand and then share why this company alone is so perfectly situated to take advantage of your opportunity.

2.  Not Grounded in Reality.  Nothing lets a seasoned product manager know they are dealing with an unrealistic inventor faster than hearing one of these phrases:  “Everyone needs this!” or “There’s nothing on the market like it!”.  These phrases show that either you haven’t done your research or your idea has no market.  Make sure to learn the real size of your market along with who your competitors are so you can position your product accordingly.

1.  Missed Mark.  Inventors almost always share why the customer needs their invention, but many forget to answer the next biggest “why” question.  Why is your product a fit for the company you are pitching it to?  Will your idea expand an existing product line, take market share and retail space away from a big competitor, or perhaps allow them to expand in to a complementary category?  The better job you do answering these questions the easier it is to get this company to give you that ‘Yes’ you’ve been working for.

Your invention may be just what your target company is looking for.  Make sure to spend the time and effort editing your pitch to clearly communicate the opportunity.

To get more information on how to create a perfect pitch for your product, log in and check out the PitchPak module of the Inventors Blueprint training program.

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8 comments

  1. Posted by Ryan Grepper, at Reply

    What else should or shouldn’t be in a product pitch?

  2. Posted by michael, at Reply

    Ryan,

    Great advice!! One other item from some one who hears pitches all day long……..
    Say what your product is and what it solves. Over half of the pitches I hear never include this– so we get to the end of the pitch and I have to ask them what is this product? The next item that is almost always missing is – what is this product replaceing on the shelf? Why is yours better?

    Keep up the good work Ryan

    • Posted by Ryan Grepper, at Reply

      Hey Michael,

      Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. That’s a good perspective to remember that every new item has to kick another one off the shelf. Thanks!

  3. Posted by Andrei Mincov - Canadian Trademark Factory, at Reply

    Great post, Ryan.

    I’d add two more mistakes:

    1. Not having any clarity on the strategy. I met an inventor who invented an improvement that could be installed in passenger airplanes and wanted to do all of these AT THE SAME TIME: build a hugely expensive prototype, develop a manufacturing facility to make the real product to sell it to the airlines and/or plane manufacturers, get a patent on it, license it out, and make sure that everyone who travels by plane can experience the improved way of flying, because it makes lives so much better. And yes, he didn’t have much of a budget, either.

    2. Not having a strategy about secrecy. Some are so paranoid they aren’t capable of raising enough interest to compel the other side to sign an NDA. Some are so excited about the invention, they give out too many details before they realize they no longer have anything they can sell.

  4. Posted by Colleen, at Reply

    A good pitch should be presented without spelling errors and with correct grammar. If it is a written pitch letter or email, do not write it as if you are speaking it. Make your sentences complete. Make your subject and verbs agree. It will sound and appear more formal to you when you read it back to yourself but proper spelling and grammar are still the professional way to present your ideas. Companies want to work with independent inventors who present themselves professionally so don’t cut corners in your communication with them.
    Polished public speaking skills such as making eye contact, poise, appropriate hand gestures, not rushing your works, speaking up, etc come into play when you are presenting your pitch verbally.
    Your five points are very well taken. The structure and style of their pitches are very important but don’t skimp on delivery. I would just encourage inventors to strive to be professional and brush up on some communications basics to get the results they want from their pitching!

  5. Posted by Loretta, at Reply

    Ryan, Do most people “pitch” with a letter, on phone or video chat, or in person? I can imagine you’d need different approaches to each.

  6. Posted by Ryan Buikema, at Reply

    Ryan, you sir are a genius-and I salute you. I have found more useful information than I thought possible by reading your posts. As an amateur prolific inventor, I would say that you hit the nail right on the head with everything I have read. Certainly a lotwork to be done. I need to grab the bull by the horns and find the right mentor/investor so I will not die with only engineers notebooks full of invention predictions to give my son. Thank you again.