Getting a licensing deal for a new product idea can be challenging. One good way to go about it is by attending a trade show. Trade shows give you access to industry professionals who may be interested in licensing your idea. More than that, however, they also make it easy to present your idea to multiple companies, simply because they are all gathered together in one place for the duration of the show. Having a game plan in place before the show begins can improve your chances of success.
There is no need to register for a booth at the trade show. Instead, you need to take your idea directly to potential buyers. That means focusing on connecting with the right people during the show. These tips should help:
- Choose the right trade show. There is no point in attending a trade show unless the companies that are going to be there are the right fit for your product idea. Make up a list of companies that may be interested in licensing your product. Then, check that list against companies that are going to be at the trade show. That way, you can decide if the show is a good fit.
- Preregister. Typically, trade shows offer discounts if you register in advance. Different shows have different policies in terms of who they will allow in. Some are open to the public. Others are only open to people who are actively involved in the industry. Find out what the requirements are for the show that you want to attend. Don’t be discouraged if it is only open to retailers or other industry professionals. You may be able to get in by scheduling an appointment with one of the many companies that are going to be at the show.
- Choose the right accommodations. Most trade shows will recommend a certain hotel for their out-of-town attendees. Consider booking a room at the hotel for yourself. Even though it may be more costly than other hotels located nearby, it can give you a chance to connect with potential buyers in a more casual setting in the cocktail lounge.
- Prepare ahead of time. Figure out what you hope to accomplish at the show. Be sure that you have a map of the layout so that you can mark which booths you want to visit. There is no point in wasting time on visiting companies that are unlikely to be interested in your product idea. Instead, focus only on the businesses that are the most likely to be a good fit. If you have extra time after you have visited all of them, you can then check out other booths.
- Make a good impression. According to Exhibe Corporation you should dress professionally. Keep in mind, however, that your clothing should be appropriate for the industry. Certain industries are more formal than others. You should do your best to avoid being overdressed or underdressed so that you make the right impression.
- Take care of your feet. Walking around at a trade show can really do a number on your feet and your lower back if you don’t have the right footwear. Make sure that you wear supportive shoes that are comfortable enough to walk in for an entire day. Check out these shoes from Arcopedico
- Be ready to present your idea everywhere that you go. You never know when you may bump into someone who could be interested in your idea. Keep business cards and sell sheets on hand at all times so that you have access to them whenever you need them.
- Grab as much literature as you can from exhibitors.
- Wait until slow times to visit booths. If there is a crowd, you will have a much harder time presenting your idea or making a valuable connection. Usually, the best option is to wait until the second day. By then, the initial flurry of activity will have died down and you are more likely to have a chance to talk to the right person.
- Let them make the first move. Walking into a booth and presenting your idea without any type of introduction can feel a little bit pushy. A much better option is to allow a salesperson to approach you. All that you have to do is walk into the booth and start looking around. Eventually, someone will come over to talk to you. This is the perfect opportunity to get the conversation rolling. Begin by saying something nice about the products that the company makes. Try to be as genuine as possible, showing real interest in their products. After a little bit, the salesperson will most likely ask you about yourself. That gives you the perfect opening to introduce yourself and your idea.
- Pick up business cards whenever possible. trade shows are perfect for making connections with new people. You should grab business cards everywhere that you go. You never know when a particular connection is going to turn out to be valuable.
- Reach out after the trade show. Don’t just let those business cards sit around unused. Instead, always follow up after the trade show has ended. Don’t be too pushy, though. Wait a week or two before you send a follow-up.
- Remember that you are there for business. When you attend a trade show to sell an idea, it is important to stay focused. Don’t get so caught up in the show itself that you forget why you are there.
Attending trade shows is a great way to connect with potential buyers for your product idea. It is one of the easiest ways to approach companies about picking up your idea since it eliminates the need to schedule a meeting or to bypass a gatekeeper.