5 Pointers on Pitching
Don’t Forget These Important Basics When Presenting Your Invention to Companies by April Mitchell
THERE ARE so many things to be aware of when pitching or presenting your invention to companies. Often, first-time inventors can be nervous (I surely was), which can easily derail them.
Sometimes, we don’t realize how a few little things can make such a big difference. Consider these reminders, even if they seem simple, before and during your next pitch meeting.
“It is common for inventors to feel they are “bothering” a person or a company when asking of their time to pitch to them, when in reality we could be helping them.”
1. Mindset matters. Be confident and positive in your product and your abilities. Energy feeds off energy. Don’t be apologetic about any part of your project or presentation. If you are excited about your product and let the company know how happy you are to present to it, its representatives are more likely to be excited about it as well and see your product in a positive light. If you apologize for something not being good enough or to their standards, they may start with that thought in their mind—and it could taint their true perception of your product. I learned this the hard way. Now, I do my best to present my product in the best possible light—even if I think something could be improved. If a person or company does not like your product or it’s not a right fit for them, they will at least see you as a positive and confident person and hopefully be willing to meet with you again.
2. They are just people! You are pitching to people, even if they may be “up there” on the company ladder. They are looking for great new ideas for their company, and you are helping them by providing new possibilities in innovation. It is common for inventors to feel they are “bothering” a person or a company when asking of their time to pitch to them, when in reality we could be helping them. We are providing them with a service that could make the company thousands or millions of dollars. Try thinking of the people you are pitching as potential partners to work with on your product—and remember that you are helping THEM.
3. What do you know? Research your prospective partnering company beforehand. Sure, you have heard this before, but what kind of information should you know? I recommend knowing who you are pitching to and everything about the company you can. Know the company’s history and how it got started. Know where it is based, how big it is. You should know its top sellers and where in its product line you envision a fit for your product. It should be perfectly clear why your product fits with the company and where it fits. The more you know about the company you are pitching to and about its product line or brand, the more confidence you will have.
4. Do an online run-through. Be prepared, and back things up! Technology can give us trouble when we least expect it. Have all your materials finalized, saved, and ready to present. If it’s an online pitch, be sure to practice and ensure everything works correctly—your video, sound, sharing your screen, etc. I like to have everything I am going to present to a company opened and minimized on my computer so I can see it and just have to click on it to maximize it. I have everything lined up in the order I plan on presenting it, so I am not spending time searching for what I’d like to present. If pitching in person and using an electronic device to show a sell sheet or video, be sure to have your materials easy to find or bring up. Most often, time is limited in these meetings. Make the best use of everyone’s time.
5. Enjoy the experience. At the very least, the process of pitching your invention to companies is good professional practice. = If you are nervous, know that it gets easier and more fun the more you do it because you feel more comfortable and can develop a different outlook about it.