It was an investment pitch that could change their lives.
Tommie and Vernice Nellon, co-owners of Fresno-based Kool Breeze Solar Hat, had already poured everything into their family business, making straw hats topped with solar-powered fans. Online sales had been steady, but there wasn't much growth.
So, to expand the brand, Tommie, a solar engineer, invented a construction hard hat version of the original design. He and his wife invested $80,000 into that line, which took them to the breaking point.
Now they're about to go face to face with an investor who is willing to give them one shot.
Fortunately, they have had Deanne Bell, co-host and advisor for CNBC's reality business show "Make Me a Millionaire Inventor" to help guide them through the process of preparing for the big moment. Because when it comes to making a perfect pitch, here's what she says you have to do before you speak one word.