I’ve been advocating the benefits of sell sheets for the last thirty years. I wrote about them at length in my book, One Simple Idea. And I hear people do the same throughout the industry. But this is what I’ve learned and what I want you to listen closely to. Sell sheets are just one tool in your tool box — they are not the end-all be-all. Sell sheets perform a specific and important function, but that function is a narrow one. A good sell sheet opens the door to a potential licensee for you by grabbing the reader’s attention. At its best, a sell sheet should cause someone to ask more questions and to want to know more about a product idea. If your sell sheet accomplishes these goals, congrats! It served its purpose. But you should be able to answer the two questions that come next. “How are we going to do it?” they will ask. “What does it cost?” You must be able to understand what these questions mean and to answer them articulately and thoughtfully.
Although sell sheets are very important, finding the right potential licensee to show a sell sheet to and establishing a rapport with contacts in the industry and at your chosen company are as important. Is this company a good fit for your product? Everything likes to think that they’re interviewing us… but we’re interviewing them as well!
If you can craft a sell sheet yourself, great. If not, find the person that is going to help you. Consider reaching out to a professor at a local arts and design college to ask who his most talented students are. Find someone online. Always, make sure that anyone you work with signs a “work-for-hire” agreement so your intellectual property is protected.
Your sell sheet is one part of the puzzle. Don’t confuse it as the entire game.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed over 20 products in the past 30 years. He is a board member of Accudial Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and has a new book “One Simple Idea: Turn your dreams into a licensing goldmine while letting others do the work,” from McGraw-Hill. Along with business partner Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight, a company dedicated to education. Teaching inventors and entrepreneurs the skills needed to successfully license their ideas.
One Simple Idea is available in book stores and online book retailers nationwide. When you buy the book you get access to our our database of over 1400 companies looking for ideas as well as other bonus materials. Visit www.inventright.com to learn more.