Group of healthcare professionals talkingWhen pitching your idea to an investor or potential business partner, it generally takes them less than three minutes to decide whether or not they want to hear more — or conversely — will completely tune you out, according to Inc. As an inventor aiming to successfully pitch and sell your product, capturing a person’s full attention is crucial — and doing so within three minutes is even more so. To improve your chances of successfully pitching and selling your idea, keep the following points in mind:

1. Practice and refine your product’s elevator pitch
Think of an elevator pitch as a cover letter to a job application: If an investor or consumer likes the abridged version of your pitch, they’ll be more interested in seeing the complete business plan or the product itself. To create an impactful, 30-second elevator pitch, start with an attention-grabbing opening line, such as an interesting statistic. While drafting your pitch, make sure to be authentic and realistic about your product and what it can do. Throughout, try to use plain language, including only the most valuable and interesting information.

handshake2. Draft a nondisclosure agreement
While this isn’t exactly advice for improving your sales pitch, it’s a point worth seriously considering. This document, which is signed by both an inventor and a person hearing about the invention, protects you from having your idea(s) stolen. You’ll want to make sure your nondisclosure agreement is legally sound before dishing them out to get signed, and you can do so through visiting The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website, where there are a plethora of examples.

3. Take your pitch, and product, on the road
To make money from your idea, you generally have the following options: Sell the patent, license usage rights or market the product yourself.

Selling the patent: If you choose to sell your patent, it’s important to understand that only a select few actually turn a profit, but opting to do so results in a quick and definite payoff — which is generally not a guarantee by any other means. If your product is a slam dunk, you may have signed your rights over for a nominal amount in comparison.

patent license agreement formLicence the invention: When an inventor chooses to license an invention, they are assigning ownership of their idea to another party in exchange for for earning royalty payments, normally ranging from 2-8 percent of the product price. In this scenario, a licensee will agree to annual volume minimums, geographic exclusivity, and a specific royalty percentage. The risk, however, occurs if a product is not successful, as you may have missed out on an upfront payment.

Sell the product: Opting to sell your product yourself means that all profits go straight into your pockets. But the downsides may outweigh the one, big benefit. Any money you make will most likely get eaten up by overhead costs, such as legal and accounting fees, business start-up costs and the actual cost of producing, marketing, and selling the product. This option also requires an inventor to be business savvy and nuanced in navigating the startup community.

Ultimately, there will be many factors that determine the success or failure of your pitch  — many of which are impossible to control — but you can, and should, take charge of your invention’s messaging, whether in the form of a condensed elevator pitch or in your product’s sales collateral.

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