What’s the best way to find and pitch a company about licensing your intellectual property? Let’s begin with a way that doesn’t work – cold calling. It’s very difficult and companies are constantly being bombarded by cold calls.
Instead, before you begin approaching any company, do your homework. Develop a licensing plan, and research which companies are the best prospects. Once you figure out the best prospects, one of the fastest ways to find and approach them is at trade shows. At a trade show, you’re not in a cold call type of environment. Exhibitors are there to meet prospective buyers, sellers, and vendors, so it’s more of an open meeting type of situation.
One of my client’s invented a new hair care product. It was an accessory for curling irons. The first thing we did is go to a beauty product trade show to check possible licensing partners. We looked for companies producing similar products and met them in person. We found out who to contact about licensing, which made contacting the companies easier since we had a direct referral.
Trade shows are a fast way to meet a lot of companies very quickly. In some cases, you’ll be able to present your licensing opportunity and find out if the company is interested. In other cases, you’ll find out who to contact at the company after the trade show.
After you return from the trade show, send an initial email or call the person directly. Be sure to let them know someone at the trade show referred you. Say something like “Hi, I met Mr. Smith at the trade show. We spoke for a few minutes about licensing our new widget. He thought it might be of interest to you, and said you would be the person that I need to speak with.”
Trade shows are a powerful resource that quickly opens the door and accelerates your search effort. It’s a great way to make first contact and find out who is responsible for looking at licensing opportunities. You’ll get a direct referral into the company which is one of the best and fastest ways to find a licensing partner.
Rand Brenner is an IP professional whose passion is helping inventors, startups, and businesses of all sizes use licensing to turn their IP into income-producing products, services, and technologies. His decades of experience run the gamut from medical devices to food technology to consumer products. He’s licensed some of the biggest Hollywood entertainment blockbusters including the Batman Movies (1 and 2), and the number one kid’s action TV show, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Rand speaks about licensing and is a featured speaker at investment conferences, trade shows, colleges and startup events. He’s a published writer with articles appearing in several prestigious trade magazine including The Licensing Journal, Intellectual Property Magazine, and License India. Rand also mentors at the Cal State Fullerton School of Business and Economics and is a judge for their startup business plan competitions.