One of the most efficient and low-cost tools for finding and making the right contacts is trade shows. There is nothing more effective than one-on-one meetings.
Building relationships is key to creating licensing deals. When you meet your potential licensing partners in person, you can quickly learn whether they are right for your intellectual property.
There are several ways you can promote your licensing opportunity at trade shows. One way is to find out who the right person is at the company to speak with. I consulted a client who invented a new hair care product. It was an accessory for curling irons. The first thing we did is go to a trade show to check possible licensing partners. We were able to see the companies in person, view the products they made and either speak with or find out who to contact about licensing.
You can do this informally (which we did) by asking them if they do any licensing. If so, you can then ask if they would be interested in licensing your IP. If they are interested, keep your pitch short with general information such as “the IP is a new hair accessory item”. From there, you can find out what information they need, who to send it to, and then follow-up with more specific information about your IP.
Trade shows are also a great place to go if you’re ready to make presentations to a lot of potential licensing partners. In this case, you’ll want to be in an exhibitor booth, but that can get pricey. If it’s your first time showing your IP, try this low-cost way to get a trade show booth. Share an exhibitor booth with another company, especially if they have a big booth in the center of the show. I used this strategy with a toy client that was launching their product in the US. We rented a small section of the booth, which gave the company great visibility to all the licensors and retail buyers.
You don’t need much space, but at a trade show, location is everything. Sharing a space can get you a great location and a big presence at a small price. The more visible you are at a trade show, the more potential licensing partners you can meet. And that’s how you create money-making licensing deals.
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.