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Attending the Right Trade Show to License Your Invention

By Paul Niemann, President of Market Launchers


I am sold on attending trade shows when you’re in the process of launching a new product. There are several main benefits of attending trade shows in your industry, which I learned again first-hand when I attended a trade show last week for one of my products, which I managed to find a distributor for.


After speaking with Frank West a couple weeks ago and hearing him explain how he met his future licensee by attending a trade show, I thought this would be a good time to talk about trade shows again.


Attending at a trade show gives you at least 3 main benefits:


1.         It allows you to meet with representatives from many companies at once, rather than flying all over the country otherwise. Plus, you will learn of many companies worth visiting who you may never have heard of before. For example, if you’re trying to get an automotive product on the market, the convention wisdom would be to stop by the booths of the main automakers. But you would also want to visit with some of the many suppliers to the auto industry who sell to the big companies – and they’re much easier to work with than the big ones.


2.         Attending a trade show also allows you to see what some of your competition is doing when you visit their booths.


3.         Attending a trade show allows you to learn much more about your industry. At last week’s show, I talked with booth vendors who have been in the industry for a long time, and this was helpful because my product is in an industry in which I have never worked.


In short, I have benefited from almost every trade show that I’ve ever attended. And I usually do NOT rent a booth, which is usually very expensive. In fact, sometimes it’s better to NOT rent booth space, especially if you go to the trade show alone.


Here’s why: If you rent booth space, it means that you’re tied to your booth most of the time. If you’re alone and you leave to explore the other booths, then your booth would remain unstaffed and, as a result, unvisited.


On the other hand, if you don’t rent booth space, you’re able to wander the exhibit hall to meet with prospects and to see what others in your industry are selling.


Earlier I mentioned that I managed to find a distributor for my product. How? I showed a sample of my product to people at a number of booths (while having proper IP protection, of course), and I received very favorable comments from the majority of them. But it was a man who owned his own company – who also did not have a booth there – who I met in the hallway outside the exhibit hall.


I guess the moral of this story is that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. I’ve found that the more people I talk with, the luckier I get. There’s no guarantee that my new partner will be able to bring in a lot of sales of my product, but we’re off to a good start.


And it would never have happened if not for the industry trade show.


Paul Niemann runs, building web pages for inventors. Having your own web page allows you to show your invention to companies when you’re unable to present it to them in person, serving as your own “online brochure.” Plus, there are companies who search the Invention Database for new products. Visit for details and pricing.