It’s time to call in, regardless of whether you attended a licensing show. Attending the show may help you establish connections and gain more immediate access to specific contacts, but it is not very difficult to access these otherwise. I recommend searching through a company’s website or calling the publisher of a licensing trade magazine and asking for assistance (if you can’t physically find the actual magazine). I’ve learned that the licensing industry is small – individuals specialize in it and move from company to company. Never burn a bridge because I can almost guarantee that you will have to interact with that person again.
Ask to speak with someone regarding your interest in licensing the company’s properties. You may have to volunteer your specific category of interest, as large companies have different channels for licensing (mass distribution versus specialty, for example). The next obvious need they will have is to view your product, through your website or an electronic sell sheet. At this stage in the process, you are attempting to demonstrate the credibility of your business. You want them to understand, without a doubt, that your business is established and flourishing. They want to feel confident that they are selecting a licensor who has the means, resources, and intentions to sell and promote their product. On my website, I list every distributor of my product, for example. I’m letting them know, “HEY. I’m in business.” Insure that the website or sell sheet presents the product and its benefits in the best possible light. I don’t recommend sending in an actual prototype, as it is a little too early in the process. The website/sell sheet will give the company an idea of the potential of your product, and the possible categories it will sell in.
The second question a company will undoubtedly ask is for you to forecast numbers. Understandably, they want to know what amount of sales you are capable of and can predict. Although you will obviously need to do, at a minimum, a little guessing, these numbers will direct the formation of your contract. More specifically, the minimum guarantee. The art of the minimum guarantee will be discussed in the next blog. Be prepared to confidently and accurately share your sales numbers. These numbers however, will be constantly readjusted. In one of my current contracts, I provide sales forecast numbers four times a year.