Halina Zakowicz reports:
"The key to getting potential licensees interested in your invention idea is to create a spectacular sell sheet...The sell sheet is a marketing piece that promotes your invention in a [one-page] ad format by describing the product, its features and benefits, and whom the product can be purchased from. A sell sheet is supposed to take no more than a minute to look over and understand, so it needs to be brief and to the point. There are sell sheets for companies, hospitals, books, kitchen gadgets, and software programs...At its basic level, the sell sheet contains four areas, which are the product description, photo(s)/diagram(s), features/benefits, and the inventor contact information...While there is a section for all the features/benefits of an invention idea, there should also be a separate and overarching benefits statement. This statement should be no longer than a single line and should succinctly pitch your idea to your prospects. Finally, the sell sheet should also contain either a 'Patent Pending' statement or patent number...[A] sell sheet is much cheaper and easier to create than a physical prototype of your invention idea. The sell sheet effectively combines words and images into a kind of virtual prototype of your product, enabling you to submit that idea quickly and easily to potential licensees. Even better, whereas in the past you’d be sending out numerous glossy (i.e., expensive) photocopies of your sell sheet, nowadays you can just email your prospects with the sell sheet in an enclosed attachment. You can even set up a website that describes your invention idea, dedicating one page of that website to your sell sheet...The sell sheet gives prospects a good enough idea about your invention…but that’s as far as it should go. Your sell sheet should provide only enough information to pique reader interest, not include specifics on every individual nut and bolt...[B]y sticking to the basics and emphasizing your [single-line] benefits statement...you allow your potential licensee to fit your invention idea into the scope of her existing product line and manufacturing processes...Sites like eLance, Freelancer.com, Guru.com and oDesk are filled with reasonably priced freelancers who can make several different iterations of your invention idea and save you the headache and expense of learning a program like InDesign or SolidWorks (a CAD program). You might also consider working with a local community college or a design/trade school to produce more complex drawings or scale models of your invention idea...After you have the sell sheet generated, it’s time to start soliciting companies and individuals with whom you could see working and actually building your invention. If you spark their interest, you can offer to send them your sell sheet, plus your business card and a cover letter...[Y]ou should never send unsolicited materials to a prospect, even if you deem...her a perfect match for your idea. Without a proper introduction and invitation, your unsolicited materials will simply get tossed in the trash. If you get a 'no thanks' after sending out your materials, try to find out why your idea was rejected. It will be immensely useful for you as you hone your idea and decide whether to take it to a different company or market segment...[D]o not become discouraged if your first few attempts at contacting and finding potential licensees [don't] work out or [produce] only rejections. It takes time and continued effort to place an invention idea with an appropriate company or manufacturer. But once you get the green light, you will find the process infinitely easier to repeat, leading to a series of licensed invention ideas that generate a steady passive income for you."
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