The two success secrets to selling your licensing opportunity are building relationships and securing a reference licensee.
Finding the first licensing partner is challenging. They are often the most difficult to get. Sometimes you get started as a result of someone approaching you about licensing. Look for a partner in close geographic proximity so it’s easier to meet with the them. Also consider friends and family as potential candidates for your first licensee.
The Internet is a good starting point for doing a first search. Trade shows are a great opportunity to meet a lot of potential licensees. You can also read trade magazines for a specific industry, such as apparel or toys, and learn about potential candidates. One of the best ways is through word-of-mouth networking at seminars, conferences and trade shows.
Licensing partnerships build on relationships and long-term partnerships. Licensees evaluating licensing opportunities look for two things: an IP owner they like and trust; and an IP with a great chance to make a profit.
The most successful licensor is one is one who is genuine and wants the licensee to make a profit. No one is going to invest the time and money upfront working with someone they don’t like or trust (the same is true when you are evaluating a licensee). Hard selling a license to get up front license fees is not the way to build a long-term sustaining partnership (but it’s a way to potentially end up in litigation).
The second secret is that licensor’s don’t sell licenses, licensees do. If you have an IP with multiple licensing opportunities, such as a brand, character, book, or business process, your first licensee becomes your reference licensee. Other potential licensees want to know if their successful, and speaking to an active licensee will be one your strongest selling points.
The best way to get your first licensee is to offer a sweat heart deal. Keep the licensing fee low (consider no initial payment and royalties only) so it’s attractive for the licensee to get the license and commercialize your IP.
You’ll want to spend time working with your first licensee and helping them make the licensing deal profitable. This partnership also helps you find out about making your IP licensing opportunity more attractive to other licensees.
Free E-Course: Guerrilla Licensing: 7 No Cost and Low Cost Strategies to Promote Your IP Licensing Opportunity
Getting the first licensee if often the most challenging. Sometime it begins when the IP owner is approached by a potential licensee. Most often, it starts with promoting the licensing opportunity. During this 7 day e-course, you’ll learn about seven no-cost and low-cost strategies to promote your intellectual property and create moneymaking licensing deals. Click here to sign up for this free e-course.
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.