How Can I Pitch My Invention?
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.It's great that you are working from the foundation of an actual patent, as most products or product ideas that are pitched aren't that far along in the development stage.
That said, there are a few ways put your product in front of people who might be interested.
First, you could find a manufacturer's representative who already is familiar with the specific industry or category you are looking to target, and who already has contacts in that market. That person would then work with you to get to get your pitch or sales package together and tout your product to buyers.
You could also do this "direct," as you will pay any rep some percentage of sales, or a commission for the work. No matter which route you go, the basics of selling your product are essentially the same as any direct response sales campaign. It's simply "target, offer, copy." This means your "target" industry or category comes first. This then becomes your list of prospects or your market of companies in your targeted industry or category.
Then, you build your pitch around the benefits your device has to the end user. In this case both the company you are targeting as well as their customers.
At this stage, your "offer" is all about what's in it for them, and the gains and returns they can get by working with you.
Finally, your sales materials (your copy) should be oriented around these benefits. A few things to consider:
1. Be sure to maintain ownership of your idea and be clear about what "rights" you are negotiating in terms of either sales and or licensing.
Typically, you'll get a royalty or some kind of residual income stream based on sales. However, work with an attorney to make sure definitions of your compensation are clear and benefit you. Many times, these types of deals go bad when "revenues," "sales" or "net profits" aren't clearly defined or end up benefitting the licensee.
2. Be sure you are working with an attorney who has experience in negotiating these types of deals, both in the U.S. and on an international basis, and never sign or agree to anything without having a good attorney review the deal. Also be aware that if you are looking to go international, you will run into new challenges, especially in countries such as China where the view of patents and intellectual property rights is distinctly different than that of the U.S.
3. Be prepared for rejection and have a "Plan B" and "Plan C" in case "Plan A" doesn't work out. Product development and new product launches are tricky and risky for all parties involved. As long as your product is something people want, need or desire, you'll have a much easier time selling it than if you're looking to impose it on the market.
In general, you've come a long way already toward bringing your product to market. Now's the time when the "rubber meets the road" in terms of actually getting it in the market.
That's essentially a sales job, and if you aren't a great sales person, then find someone who is and work with that person. Make sure you have a good attorney as a trusted advisor and negotiator by your side.
Related: Get Your Product to Market in Six Steps
Related: Selling Your Invention