Networking with Companies
Create Those Contacts!
The patent sale process can be long and discouraging at times. Sometimes you need someone in the background to cheer you on to keep moving along in the patent sale process. As the sixth step in this process, this week’s topic is more of a cheer… CREATE THOSE CONTACTS! While creating your contacts, keep last week’s newsletter about first impressions, in the back of your mind.
Trade shows are the number one spot for you to meet companies, manufacturers, investors, and other inventors in your industry. Make yourself and your product known by introducing yourself to industry leaders.
To make the most of your event I suggest that you research who will be there and the specific companies you want to target. Having ‘target companies’ in mind will help you save lots of time and ultimately give you more time with prospects.
Additionally, you want to make sure that you are prepared for those conversations.
However, contacts can be made anywhere, and at anytime and you need to be prepared! Here are a few of my suggestions for creating and keeping a contact:
Keep business cards with you at all times!
Business cards allow you to be remembered by someone for a period of time after you have met. It can also serve as a reminder of your conversation. Trade shows can have thousands of people attending. By giving a business card to a person you are talking with, that person is able to be reminded of you and your product after the show is over when looking through the cards that they received.
An exchange of business cards seems more respectable than just walking up to every guy in a suit and asking for his business card. Introduce yourself, and have a genuine conversation, THEN offer your business card and ask for his/ hers. People will be more inclined to talk to you when contacted later on, if they are able to pull out your business card and confirm that they have actually met you before.
Staples or Kinko’s can produce cards for you in 24 hours. The card should have your name, the name of your product, telephone number, email address, and if applicable, a website address where people can find more information.
* When choosing the email address to put onto your business card, make sure that it is professional. An email address like HOT4CHICKS@EMAIL.COM is not professional. Likewise, the voicemail message associated with the telephone number should convey professionalism as well and should not be along the lines of “HEY GUYS, ITS ME! LEAVE ME A GOOD ONE AND ILL GET BACK TO YA ASAP!”
Record all conversations!
Not literally record the conversation (FYI: It is illegal to record a conversation without the other party’s consent.), but take notes.
After you meet someone that you have exchanged business cards with, wait until you are away from the person, and write on the back of the business card key information that you learned about him/ her. Key things to remember:
- The companies you discussed.
- Investors and manufacturers mentioned.
- Possible friends he/ she said might be interested or may know someone that can help.
- Where they are from.
- How long they are in town for. (If they are staying longer, you may be able to set up a meeting while you both are still there.)
- Children, spouse, or other personal information mentioned.
This information will help you to remember them and also to make them remember you when you contact them.
A telephone call or email will be more likely to be responded to positively sounding like:
“Hello Mr. Smith, this is Joe, we met at the software convention in Dallas last week. How was the trip back to Tampa? You had mentioned that your friend Sally, who works for Microsoft, may be interested in my product, and I was wondering if you would be willing to make an introduction…”
Any conversations that you have with this person, need to be documented so that the next time you contact him/ her you can remind them of the last time you talked and what you talked about.
DO NOT underestimate, neglect or tarnish any relationships that you have made!
Contacts are so important to any part of the intellectual property selling process. Creating and keeping contacts, in any line of work, can at some point in time, be a life saver.
Anyone that gives you their contact information should receive a follow-up email. A quick and concise email stating, it was nice talking with them and that you look forward to speaking with them again soon, should be the minimum.
As an inventor dedicated to seeing your invention sold on store shelves, you cannot afford to have anyone giving you a bad reputation. Integrity is all anyone has in this world, and if your word isn’t good, then who will want to trust you? At all costs, avoid ignoring contacts or tarnishing relationships, because even if you think that he/ she could never help you, you may be wrong.
About the author of this article:
Lindsey Yeauger is the Director of Communications for Idea Buyer LLC, a new product development company that owns and operates IdeaBuyer.com- The Online Marketplace for Intellectual Property. The site gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. You can email her at Lindsey@IdeaBuyer.com.