In the prior post I discussed how you should prepare for licensing before you leave home to present your product.
In today's post, the follow up to last week, we'll address tips on effectively presenting your product to a potential licensee:
- What to bring with you to the presentation
- Do's and don't's for the presentation
- Presentation tips and recommendations
What to bring with you to the presentation
Bring your best prototype(s) or product sample(s). Expect to leave a prototype or sample with them for further evaluation. A finished product is always ideal, but, a working prototype, where they can easily envision the finished product, is fine if a finished product is not available.
Also, bring several compelling presentations, one for each attendee of the meeting. A great example presentation is provided on http://www.asktheinventors.com website. This compelling presentation covers all the bases of your product and why it would be a good fit for your potential licensee. Make sure to keep both the prototype and the presentations in a bag hidden from your guests until you are ready to present them.
Lastly, bring a simple small notepad to the meeting to jot notes to yourself. A tablet or laptop is okay, but I feel they are a bit too cumbersome and draw too much attention to something that is not a key portion of the presentation. Keep it simple and subtle so it doesn't distract.
Do's and don'ts for the presentation
Do start the meeting with a brief enticing intro statement that grabs their attention and piques their curiosity. This should be designed based upon research you did about the company (see discussion on annual reports, 10K and 10Q reports from the previous post).
Do be engaging and make eye contact with each of the participants frequently.
Do respect their time by having a short, 15-minute presentation with another 15-minutes allowed for questions and discussion after the presentation. If they have a lot of questions and the meeting runs longer than 30 minutes, that is fine – it is on their nickel at that point.
Don't dim the lights and present a PowerPoint presentation of your product. You want to be the center of attention. Also, a PowerPoint presentation has the feel of a teacher presenting to students, the wrong dynamic.
Don't encourage questions during the presentation, but let them know the presentation is brief and there will be time for questions afterwards. Questions can interrupt and derail the flow and strength of your presentation.
Don't act as if you are an expert. They are the experts and you are merely an independent product developer with an innovative new product they might like to produce.
Presentation tips and recommendations
Once they are assembled and ready, begin the presentation quickly with your intro statement that captures their curiosity and interest. Tell them why you chose to invent the product, what problem you saw that is solved by your invention. This makes them think of you as a colleague who understands the challenges they face daily instead of an outsider.
Briefly describe the key benefits of your invention and at the right moment, remove it from your bag and show it to them. I strongly suggest that the unveiling should occur at the end of your presentation.
Your enticing intro leads into an interesting (but brief) story as to how you invented it. Next, you describe features that whet their appetite for seeing just what this great product is. Finally, you reveal the invention and let them take a look at it, then open the meeting for questions and further discussion.
As the meeting winds to a close, ask for next steps and some kind of commitment from your key contact. For example you might say something like:
Kevin, I think you and your team can envision how this new product could benefit ABC Corporation and offer benefits to your customers. What do you recommend our next steps should be in moving forward?
Note this focuses on benefits to the company and their customers (it is all about them) and seeks his suggestion of next steps. It strongly implies you will be working with them together and will be moving forward with a licensing agreement.
Lastly, hand each of them the leave-behind compelling presentation booklets. Let them know these booklets highlight the key benefits of the product. Provide everyone with your business card and get cards from each participant if possible – gives you names, phone numbers and emails of everyone, very valuable.
Expect they will likely need 2 or 3 weeks to decide what should be next or if they will choose not to move forward.