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Selling Your Idea, Part Two

Many inventors are not looking to launch a business to bring their idea to the market, but rather, are looking to sell their idea. In these videos, Rich explains the best strategies for doing this.

The letter of introduction

In part 1 of this series, we talked a bit about the criteria for finding an ideal person who’d be interested in buying your idea or invention. What we’ll talk about now is what to say to them when you make contact through an initial letter.

Before you even consider sending out such a letter, you need to be sure that your idea is fully protected. That assurance of course should come from your attorney, who is fully aware of your situation and goals, and has already taken the necessary steps to protect your idea. Your attorney can give you the go ahead to reveal your idea after it’s protected.

Now that you’ve targeted someone who seems to be a prospect—who seems to be someone who would potentially be interested in your idea, what you want to do is make contact by sending them a letter that gives them a sense of who you are, what you have, and why they would be interested in having a further dialogue with you. The goal in this letter is not to tell them all about you idea. The goal of this letter is to open the door for a conversation, and see if they’re interested enough to have that further conversation with you.

Assuming that your idea is protected and you own the right to sell it, let’s talk about what should be in the introductory letter. What you want to accomplish with this letter is to open up what might become a sale. In order for any sale to begin, the recipient of your letter needs to be curious about what you’re doing. The first thing you need to do, then, in this letter, is to create curiosity. Curiosity will not only be the thing that has them read the rest of the letter, but it will also be the thing that has them want to find out more about what you have. You might even say that the purpose of this initial letter is just to create curiosity.

The first thing you need to do in your letter is acknowledge that you know something about their business and its challenges. Your letter might start out something like this: “I understand that you are one of the largest manufacturers of cookware in the United States. I also know that people love nonstick pans, but are becoming increasingly concerned about the chemicals in nonstick surfaces.” In making that statement, you’re showing them that you have an understanding of their field, and that this understanding has led you to a solution.

Next in that letter, you want to say something like: “I have a patent pending solution that will satisfy this problem, and satisfy consumers that they’re using a product that’s safe and free from harmful chemicals.” This second statement tells them that you have a great solution to their problem. And of course, if you are going to say that it’s patent pending, that needs to be true. You can discuss with your attorney when is the appropriate time to say that. The point is that you want to show them that you appreciate the problem, and that you have a solution. But what you don’t want to do is tell them about the solution right then and there.

Instead, you want to continue the letter by saying: “If you’re curious to find out more about my solution and how it might enhance your current product line, contact me and we’ll set up a meeting.”

Overall, the point of this letter is to show them that you appreciate the problems in the field, show them that you have a solution, and pique their curiosity about your solution, so that they’re open to discussing a new idea with you.

A very common mistake that people make is to send out letters to lots of companies, fully describing their idea. There are two problems with that approach: 1) Once they know what your idea is, they’re no longer curious. And it’s important for them to be curious in order to have that further dialogue with you. 2) Once you do have a company that is interested in your idea, they’re going to want to know that none of their competitors receive a letter from you telling them what your idea is all about. Because they’re going to want to have the jump on getting the product out there before their competitors know what they’re up to. So they’ll appreciate that you didn’t blast out to the entire industry all the details about your idea.

So now, assuming that you’re protected, go ahead and write that letter, send it out to a few well-targeted individuals, and we’ll talk more about how to sell your idea in part 3 of this series.