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Do The Hustle Do you have what it takes to sell your new product?

By Don Debelak

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I recently received a letter from an inventor who had mailedfliers to 150 potential customers. Not one response came back, andthe inventor was devastated. He had been convinced all he had to doto get orders was send out a mailing.

I've heard at least 10 to 20 similar stories per year forthe 10 years I've worked with inventors. Selling any product ishard work--even for large companies, which typically make severalsales calls per customer before they start receiving orders for anew product.

Generating initial sales is even more difficult for inventors,who are selling a new, unproven product, and who often don'thave a track record of business success. When retailers look at aninventor's product, they don't just worry whether theproduct will sell; they also worry whether the inventor will bearound in two months. They want to be sure that if the productdoesn't work, the inventor will be able to pay refunds forreturns. All this means that new-product entrepreneurs must workextremely hard to generate their first sales.

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