The centerpiece of any patent sale or licensing negotiation is a powerful presentation. In this presentation, you will be making the case for why this person or company should want your patent. Obviously, you will want to make this as compelling as possible to justify the time spent negotiating and get that patent sold. But how should you go about it? In this article, we’ll offer 10 tips for making your presentation sing.
1) Use numbers to make your presentation come alive
When it comes to selling intellectual property, nothing sweetens the deal like numbers promising future success. If you can quantify the size of the market your patent will serve, expected sales, profit margins, and the like, this will be an immense benefit. Numbers speak louder than words in this case because they make the prospects of success real for the person you are presenting to. For this reason, use numbers early and often – and be prepared to prove their validity.
2) Eliminate hype from your presentation
If numbers make a great presentation, hype kills it. There is simply no reason to “puff up” your presentation with words like “awesome”, “amazing”, or anything else you would picture a sleazy used car salesman saying. These tactics do not make your presentation more compelling. They just make anyone with common sense suspicious of what you are trying to put over on them. Therefore, avoid this method of organizing your presentation.
3) Deliver your presentation in order
As with anything else, it helps if you deliver your organization in a logical sequence, with each slide or point building upon earlier ones. Therefore, you do not want to start talking about projected sales and profit margins before explaining what the patent covers. While this sounds obvious, many patent holders overlook hierarchy in their zeal to make their patent look appealing. Do not make that mistake. Take the extra time to work out what should be said when, and you will be better off.
4) Avoid “happy talk”
In his landmark text “Don’t Make Me Think”, Steve Krug warns web designers against using what he calls “happy talk.”
“A lot of happy talk is the kind of self-congratulatory promotional writing that you find in badly written brochures. Unlike good promotional copy, it conveys no useful information, and it focuses on saying how great we are, as opposed to delineating what makes us great.”
This applies to patent presentations as well. Bombarding the other party with irrelevant information makes a sale or licensing less likely, because he has more information to process. Instead, you want to keep the other party focused only on what matters, which leads to tip number 5.
5) Focus on what matters
Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? And yet, so many presentations veer off the path of relevancy into the blind alleys of pointlessness. The best way to define the difference in this case is to use an example. Here is an example of something you would want to focus on in your patent presentation.
“Our idea was featured in Time Magazine’s 100 Coolest Things of the Year special.”
This is worth focusing on because it demonstrates a genuine public interest in what your patent covers and has to offer. Now, by contrast, here is something you probably would not want to focus on in your patent presentation.
“It took six months for the patent to be approved.”
By staying laser-focused on the benefits of buying or licensing your patent, you give the other party less to think about. You can lead them down the road to a painless, mutually beneficial sale.
6) The shorter, the better
There will be some exceptions to this rule; for example, a patent covering a way to automate open heart surgery is going to take more than a few slides to cover. However, for most patents, you should strive to keep your presentation as short as you can. In addition to making sure you don’t lose the other party’s attention, a short presentation exudes confidence. It shows that you do not need to belabor the same old points over and over to prove that you have the goods.
7) Answer the tough questions
Smart negotiators can tell when a presentation has conveniently glossed over the tough questions. When it comes to selling or licensing a patent, those tough questions are likely to involve competition, costs, and similar concerns. You should take a proactive approach and anticipate the other party asking those questions. Do not wait for him to ask, though. Instead, answer them right in the presentation. How can X competitor be dealt with, or the worst-case scenario of Y cost going up? Doing this makes you come across as more honest, which helps the other party trust in everything else you are saying.
8) Rehearse your presentation before giving it
If you plan on narrating your presentation (if it’s in PowerPoint, for instance) it definitely pays to rehearse it on someone else first. This should be relatively simple; just ask your partner, spouse, or friend to sit down and listen to you give your pitch. Undoubtedly, you will make some mistakes, or think of something you wish you included in the presentation during this rehearsal. Fortunately, you will be able to go back and make changes then, when messing up doesn’t matter, instead of during the presentation when it could ruin the deal. The result will be a finely tuned and polished presentation that delivers the message you want it to.
9) Consult your patent attorney before delivering your presentation
This is just a precautionary step to make sure you do not make any legal guarantees or statements that could be held against you. A patent attorney can tell you point blank whether something you want to say constitutes a performance obligation, forward-looking statement, or the like. Generally, you want to avoid making these kinds of statements in the event that something goes wrong later on.
10) Close your presentation by explicitly stating what you want to happen
What is the point of your presentation? Whether it is to sell or license your patent, you should wrap things up by saying so. This can be stated in any way you want, so long as it gets that point across. Something like “For all the reasons given, we think it’s clear that buying/licensing this patent would benefit everyone involved” is what you want to shoot for. This integrates everything you said in your presentation toward the main goal that you have in mind – getting that deal done.
If you can implement these simple tips into your presentation, you will greatly increase your odds of selling or licensing your patent.