Walking Trade Shows

Trade Show
Inspired Home Show, Chicago, March 2023

Since the beginning of the year I've walked three trade shows: Las Vegas World Market, National Hardware Show and the Inspired Home Show (formerly the Housewares Show). In December I planned on going to none of them. My plans changed and I'm glad they did. The shows were all great, at least for me. Trade shows offer a chance to make new connections, reconnect with old friends and learn what's happening in an industry.

I walked away from the three shows with more significant pending deals than I've ever had from shows before. We'll see if any actually come through. I'm hopeful. I also walked away confirmed in my belief that inventors seeking licensing deals should walk shows and not stand at booths to present their inventions.

Walking a show means registering as a trade guest or in whatever category suits you and then, literally, walking. Make plans to see specific companies that are showing and then just walk and look and talk. Some of my best opportunities at these past shows came almost by accident. I stopped at a booth because something caught my eye and I started a conversation. Those conversations turned into possible licensing deals.

One of the companies I visited had a contact guy for inventions. I met him and he was very nice. When I showed videos of inventions on my phone to others in the company they were impressed and said, "he's not the guy; you need to talk to our VP." They called over the VP and asked me to show her the videos - she handed me a card and asked me to follow up. Without the trade show I would never have met her or known that she was the key to getting a deal.

At another booth for a very large company I asked some reps if they accepted inventions from outside inventors. Yes, they said, you can use our inventor portal. "Do you actually look at them?" I asked. Yes, came the answer. "What's most interesting to your company now?" They told me and it happens to be something we've got a great solution for!

- Mike

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