How can I sell my concept to a company that could incorporate it into their existing product line?
Sales mentor Pat Cavanaugh responds to the following question from an inc.com user:
I would like to know more about concept selling. I have an idea that I have turned into a small business but feel that it could be much bigger. I am curious about how to align myself or sell the concept to a larger entity that could easily put my idea into their product line. What steps can I take to make this a successful experience?
Pat Cavanaugh's response: First of all, put yourself in the shoes of this larger company:
- What advantages would your concept have for their product line?
- Would your concept seriously affect any of the items in their current product line?
- Has your small business proven that there is a target market for this concept?
- Would the potential size of this target market justify the investment of this larger business in your concept?
- Why wouldn't this larger company have your concept in their product line? Is there a reason, or is your concept so unique that the larger firm just hasn't thought about it yet?
- Do you have figures from the performance of your small business that would speak to the profitability of your concept?
If the answers to the above questions are positive, then you must identify the company's decision-maker and come up with a creative way to reach him in order to get an appointment. Being in the promotional products industry, I'm partial to a unique direct mailing that will get your correspondence noticed -- maybe even something that has to do with this unique concept of yours -- so that when you call to follow-up, that decision-maker will say, "Oh, yeah, that's right, you're the person who sent me that? ." Your goal is to get that appointment with a direct mail piece and a follow-up phone call, nothing else. And that means not giving into the temptation of trying to sell that concept over the phone. You want to sell it in person.
I would also recommend you contact your business attorney to get some legal advice to draft a non-disclosure statement to protect your concept so no one can take your idea and develop it on their own.
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