Get the (Licensing Expo) Meeting You Only Dreamed Possible

15 06 2016

LE16- Website Header- Logo and dates-01-01If you haven’t already heard the great news, the Licensing Expo has created a free digital Matchmaking Service for the benefit of their attendees and exhibitors. Through this system, the user can effectively and efficiently find and schedule the right meetings with the right people. This new service streamlines the entire Licensing Expo process and greatly increasing the opportunities for success.

Here’s what you really need to know to make the most of the Matchmaking Service. For attendees and exhibitors of Licensing Expo, who have registered and received their email confirmation, you will need to click on the link to access the service and set up your brief Matchmaking profile. It is extremely easy and simple to do.

Here’s where it gets pretty exciting. Exhibitors may request meetings online with both exhibitors AND attendees. This is groundbreaking. Also, attendees may request meetings with any of the exhibitors (but not with other attendees).

That’s the general idea of how the Matchmaking Service works and is structured on the home page.  Now here are some tips, which, if followed, will make the system work better for you.

1. Profiles should only include what and who you are looking for.
When completing the Profile section titled ‘My Interests’ you will want to only check off the categories listed which apply to your business, or as Licensing Expo puts it: “those types of companies (which) you are interested in securing new partners.” For example, if you are a publisher looking for new characters, just check-mark ‘characters.’ If you also checked off ‘publisher,’ then the system will send you all the publishers and characters, including your own competition, and it’s up to you to filter them out one-by-one. You can avoid having to do this by only checking off the categories you are looking for and by not including your primary business category.

2. Be specific and don’t check all the boxes.
I see people in the system who have checked every business category under ‘My Interests,’ which indicates the desire to secure partners in ALL product areas. While this may be true, I believe this will get more rejections, especially from those in the highest level and decision-making positions. Those who are approving appointments and reviewing your profile will really appreciate a more detailed description of ‘what you do’ and specifically ‘what you are looking for.’ So I recommend you be selective and DON’T check all the boxes, and DO get as specific as possible in your profile description.

3. Do your research.
Get into Matchmaking database and spend time carefully looking at whom you wish to request a meeting. Several of my clients are already getting appointment requests, but there are some individuals who are sending out requests that, frankly, for various reasons, don’t make sense. I suggest that when making or responding to a request, thoroughly research their website, as well as read their profile to make sure it’s a good fit BEFORE you make or accept a request.

4. Write a note.
Take the time to explain why you would like a meeting and why it could be important to them.  This will probably be the most influential factor in getting an appointment with someone you don’t yet know. If you have properly filled out your profile with all the important details and specifics, I am sure that it will help immensely. However, I still recommend writing a personal note.

5. Take rejection like a pro.
Remember it takes 10 to find one. Don’t be hurt if they don’t approve the appointment. And certainly, don’t take anything personally. The proper response to rejection is NEXT.

6. Keep your schedule online.
Make sure you put your complete schedule into the Matchmaking Service, so it will be able to accurately schedule your appointment times without any conflict.  If you don’t do this, then when you are attending classes, have booth duty or are busy with other appointments, the system might double book you.

7. Schedule more appointments at the show.
As I mentioned, the closer we get to the show the more people will be online getting serious about their schedules and actively making appointments. It’s a numbers game, so save some of your requests to schedule appointments right before, or even while you are at the show. I suggest that during the show, you constantly use the database to re-request appointments and fill in your schedule. Look for people who have registered at the last-minute, who may be incredibly important to you, yet may have fewer appointments. There is sponsored free Wi-Fi at Licensing Expo and it has been pretty good the last few years, so you shouldn’t have any problem.

I hope everyone will get on the Matchmaking Service and give it a try. It’s really a great opportunity to reach out in a targeted way to get the appointments you need that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Remember, there Matchmaking Services are at booth #A85 and there is space available for holding meetings. Have a great show…and I hope you meet your match!

Note: This blog ran simultaneously today on the Licensing Expo Blog.

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Eight Strategies for Effective Licensing Sales Lead Follow Through

1 06 2016

Picture1For the licensing industry, the spring and summer trade show season is where many artists and creators hope to find their big breaks. It is an exciting time of year for property owners and businesses looking to make connections within the industry. Right now, many will attend and exhibit at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, the largest licensing trade show in the world. Here, the entire industry revolves around sales and strategic partnerships, which will be developed between the creators and brand managers with manufacturers, retailers, advertisers, the media and other producers and distributors from around the world. Billions of dollars are spent and made.

Everyone is trying to attract the attention of attendees and exhibitors, and vice versa. With such a tremendous visual barrage constantly battling for attention on the trade show floor and surrounding the entire event, it is can be very easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of the original purpose for being there—getting great leads.

Keep in mind that the time, money and effort that has been put into either attending or exhibiting at the show will be completely wasted unless you are properly organized and follow through with the leads generated. Be aware – internet research suggests that between 50 and 80 percent of all sales leads are never followed up on. This is the most common and expensive mistake a businessperson can make.

I recommend following just a few simple and effective planning methods to prepare for the next industry trade show, which will keep communication flowing, maximize follow-through and follow-up and prevent this costly error.

1. Treat everyone with interest and respect. A lead is someone who is ready and willing to engage in a conversation. Either they are someone that you could do business with directly, or they might be able to introduce you to someone who can. Some contacts will become leads, some leads will become prospects, and some prospects will then become clients. You never know who you are talking to or what’s going to happen, so make sure you treat every lead as if they were your client.

2. Keep your ego out of the way! This is as true in business as it is in everyday life, and there has never been a better time to follow the theory of “less is more.” Letting someone else talk and share their news and information is always the best way to gather data and allow relationships to grow. Being prepared to listen and ask lots of questions is the best way to get them talking and interested in you.

3. Everyone is different. Always try to look at your prospect from their perspective. What is it he or she needs? As you are listening, try to read between the lines. Pay attention to his or her, tone, level of interest and body language. And try not to get overconfident or self-conscious. Remember: You have hundreds of potential leads to talk with. If they are interested, great; if they are not, politely move on.

4. Collect the who, what, when, where, and why. Whether at the show or after you return to your business, you need to gather as much specific information as you can to keep the conversation moving forward from lead to prospect to deal. The five Ws, as they are referred to in journalism, are a time-tested, focused and valuable method for collecting the facts. I strongly suggest you use this technique. It is easy to remember and it provides you with a practical and profitable way to organize your thoughts and business, as you progress with each encounter, meeting and follow through during and after the show.Picture2

5. Organize and prioritize your leads. Don’t wait until you get home to designate and separate your hot, warm and cold leads; it is too easy to forget the details. Writing on business cards works, but attaching them to larger cards or in a notebook gives you more room for writing. Taking thorough notes during the conversation and after each encounter assures that you won’t miss a beat when it comes to that all-important follow-through.

6. Always follow-up within 48-hours. While many trade show attendees and exhibitors do not follow-up at all, the remainder often follow-up in a less than timely fashion. In general, research shows that responding within 48 hours of a prospect contacting you, dramatically increases your closing rate. If you have so many leads that you cannot contact them all within two days, then you should at least reach out to as many as possible within the week. Remember: This is the culmination of all your efforts. You must do this or nothing will happen.

7. Personalize your follow-up communication. Always personalize your communication, as much as possible, but it’s most important with your ‘hot’ leads. This is where your customized presentation pays off the most. Make sure you send your prospects exactly what they requested and what you promised.
Turning a “no” into a referral. There is no doubt that you are going to receive your fair share of no’s at any trade event. Accept it. Don’t worry about it. Here’s how to use it to your advantage. Ask those who do like your art, brand, character or property, who else they would recommend you speak with. This means that even if you can’t do business with someone who admires your business, they might very well refer you to someone who can, if you ask.

8. Think of ways to keep in touch. Whether through emails, phone calls, a newsletter, or other systems, develop a plan to continue to communicate with your prospects on a regular basis, hopefully moving them from leads to clients.

Deals rarely close after one meeting, phone call or trade show encounter. It takes continuous effort and persistence to shift each communication to the next level. Property owners, businesses and artists must remember to keep following up until a deal is secured. Once that’s done, you must make sure to continue asking questions of your clients, and listening to the answers, to promote a long and healthy business relationship. Many people don’t want to “bother” their leads too much, but it’s important to remember that is why everyone is here. Continue to follow-up and be pleasantly persistent.

Note: This article was written for and originally published by ‘The Licensing Book,” Summer 2015. With constant inquiries about how to organize your sales and trade show efforts, I know this article will be appreciated again.





Six Tips for Creating a Trade Show Ready Portfolio

11 05 2016

Portfolio development and trade show planning is one of the most asked about topics in my business. Understanding how to trade show test one’s portfolio is important for artists and designers to know if their portfolio has what it takes to cut through the clutter.

Kitty Ice Cream by Joan Marie

Kitty Ice Cream by Joan Marie

There are many types of portfolios—enough to mirror the creative minds we have in this amazing licensing industry. And while everyone’s work is unique, putting together a compelling portfolio presentation to grab attention while distracted prospects are running the gamut of brain aerobics required at trade shows, is certainly a challenge.

Here are some solid techniques to maximize the effectiveness of your portfolios while attending trade shows:
1) Portfolio Size
The size of your portfolio for a show will depend greatly on how long you have been in the art licensing business, and whether the artist is participating as an exhibitor or attendee. An artist who has been in the business for 10 years with a consistent art style—who might add 5 to 10 collections a year—will probably have 100 or more collections to choose from.
Manufacturers want to see a body of work, enough to keep them interested and know the artist is committed to the business. If artists are exhibiting at a major trade event, then think in terms of presenting 20 to 30 collections in a variety of themes and developing a system to access most of any viable work. If you are walking a show, keep it light and bring your newest items and a few solid collections which you want to exploit further.

2) Portfolio Organization
Artists must make sure to organize their portfolios for a trade event by theme, since that is how manufacturers buy collections. They seek out art to fit their product line needs for everyday (including seasonal-fall, winter, spring, and summer), holidays (Christmas, Halloween, Valentines, and Easter), occasions (Birthday, Graduation, and Baby Shower) and niche themes/lifestyles (cooking, flowers, spa, sports, country chic, lodge, beach). Organizing collections in other ways will just make it more difficult for the manufacturer and is likely to frustrate them and turn them off.

3) Portfolio Review
Licensees want to see what artists have that’s new. So while an art style may interest them, new art keeps them coming back to ‘see what you’ve got.’
Creating new art for key trade shows is vital, as is sharing new collections throughout the year. Think about how many collections you will create (approximately) for the year, and plan out the releases based on trade shows you will attend. Artists should launch new collections at trade shows and plan on having other new releases following major events to keep the conversations going with potential.

4) Portfolio Flow
Portfolios should ebb and flow. Artists should add new items and take out old items regularly—that’s the way to keep it fresh! Also, they should make sure to keep their newest art at the beginning of the themed sections in their portfolio.
Artists can absolutely continue to use images and collections that were shown last year, or even from years before. However, take out designs that no longer fit the artist’s style, or are no longer ‘in style’ or ‘on trend.’ Think realistically about how long the art will be relevant in the marketplace, and, therefore, to manufacturers, retailers and consumers. If artists are trend driven, it may be one to three years. If artists are very traditional in their themes and style, then eight to 10 years would not be an unusual length of time to keep some art in their portfolios.

5) Portfolios Technology
If an artist has a booth at an upcoming show, it’s best to have duplicate copies of your portfolio for multiple viewers. In addition, make sure there are hard copies and digital versions available. It is important to put the portfolio in a tablet, phone or computer which does not require the Internet to access the images. The last thing artists want is to be dependent on the Wi-Fi in a large convention hall, hotel or conference center with spotty reception. Keep images at an appropriately high resolution for how they will be shown: 300 dpi for print portfolios and look books, and 72 dpi for electronic images.
Use touch-screen computers or tablets to make it easy for anyone to glance through a portfolio at his or her own pace (without having to learn your technology). Keep it simple. I don’t recommend attending a meeting with so much high-tech equipment and business paraphernalia—artist’s phone, tablet, computer, briefcase, and hardcopy portfolio—that they are utterly incapacitated by trying to juggle them all. Think light; think efficient (less is more).

6) Website Portfolios
While physical trade show portfolios are important, just because artists are exhibiting in a booth or attending a show, doesn’t mean that someone an artist meets with won’t quickly check-out the artist’s website. In fact, isn’t that what every artist is hoping for?
For this and many other reasons, it is important that an artist’s website be up-to-date before he or she attend a trade show. The online portfolio should include enough of the art to show a breadth of themes and the depth of an artist’s capabilities. But I don’t recommend that artists show your entire portfolio. It’s not wise or necessary to have every collection out on your site. Of course, artists should take as many precautions as possible by using a watermark on the art and copyright on each piece and/or collection. Some artists do prefer a password-protected portfolio area, especially if they have extensive work to keep organized.

Reprise: My article was written for and originally published by ‘The Licensing Book,” Spring 2015. I am happy to share it again after so many requests for information about portfolio development.  And my sincere thanks to Joan Marie for allowing me to share some of her amazing art images.





FREE Ask J’net Q&A Tomorrow; Plus Sales & Trade Show Follow Through Techniques Course

15 06 2015

LE Banner crop versionI used the term whirlwind in yesterday’s blog, referring to the feeling of attending and coming home from the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas.  But now it doesn’t even seem to capture the essence of all the leads, ideas, contacts and knowledge to be learned and shared from a week at the show.  So I am going to change my reference and just call it what it is: a wonderful ‘tornado’ of opportunity!

If you are experiencing the same overwhelming feeling from looking at your notes and leads, combined with the pressure of having to follow-up intelligently on everything, then take a break and listen to the Ask J’net Q&A tomorrow.  This one-hour, live phone event is dedicated to questions about ‘After the Trade Show…’  There is still time to register and get your questions in the mix, so register now and put your question at the bottom of the form.

I think you will find the Ask J’net Q&A really helpful, whether you are sorting and making decisions about how to follow-up with each and every person you met at the Licensing Expo, or whether you walked the show floor or are just thinking about attending Licensing Expo next year and are wondering what to expect.  Both of my classes this week will help you with these processes.

Ask J’net Q&A TOMORROW

Again, my FREE Ask J’net Q&A will focus on ‘After the Trade Show Questions.’  Feel free to ask about:

  • things you saw at the Licensing Expo;
  • trade show events or etiquette that perhaps didn’t make sense to you as a first-timer;
  • things which still confuse you;
  • how to evaluate opportunities
  • how to close deals
  • and how to make the most of your time there through your strategic follow-up.

Ask any questions important to you right now and put them on your registration form. This Ask J’net Q&A is scheduled for  -TOMORROW- Tuesday, June 16th at 10:00 am PDT / 1:00 pm EDT (you will receive your Classroom Access Information at least one-hour before the class). Register Here.

Sales & Trade Show Follow-Through Techniques THIS THURSDAYIMG_0630

You won’t want to miss Sales & Trade Show Follow-Through Techniques. on Thursday, June 18th at 10:00 am PDT / 1:00 pm EDT. This live phone event will be 1.5 hours and the cost is $75. After your purchase, you can attend live or after the event you will receive … an audio (MP3) file, 60+ page PowerPoint presentation (PDF format) and video link to watch the entire class at your convenience. We know everyone has a different way of learning, so we offer more ways to learn than other training events in the licensing industry.

This class has 3 parts which cover the:

  1. Organization of your follow-up, how exactly to
  2. Follow Through carefully and accurately on your leads and
  3. Sales Techniques that will close the deal and grow your business.

You may place your questions on the registration form, and they will be answered during the live event.

The training will focus on the characteristics of licensing sales, which you won’t find in a traditional sales class. You will receive your Classroom Access information the evening before the class, June 17th, via email. Register Here.

Keep asking great questions and you’ll receive the answers, that’s for sure!





Licensing Expo Recap and Mastering the Next Steps

14 06 2015

AAL Booth C13 at Licensing ExpoFrom set-up to break-down, the Licensing Expo delivered on its promise of bringing together worldwide brands, creators, artists, retailers and manufacturers to build business partnerships. We shared information daily from exhibitors and attendees in our blog…both from the Art+Design Zone, but also up-n-coming character properties.

Direction at Licensing Expo is so important!

Direction at Licensing Expo is so important!

I heard from many people, there was plenty of traffic and the leads were excellent.  I don’t think Licensing Expo has posted their ‘official’ attendance count yet, but the first day was pretty strong and the second day was even stronger with, of course, the inevitable slower third day. But for the Resource Center it never slowed down. We were still taking appointments even as the Booth was being demolished around us.

What a wonderful whirlwind. As Licensing Expo’s Art+Design Resource Center, we gave away 30+ free consultations, to exhibitors and attendees alike, as a part of our services. We also gave one of our new video classes and our 80+ free Minicourses to everyone, charged cell phones and laptops, printed urgent papers, and handed out bottled water to the thirsty.

Carlos Neville moved from the Art + Design Zone, closer to Characters, with his Pop the Balloon.

Carlos Neville moved from the Art + Design Zone, closer to Characters, with his Pop the Balloon.

Everyone participating in the Expo seemed to be very excited about the variety of prospects. While many artists mentioned they couldn’t get meetings with their ‘A’ list potential manufacturers, I heard later that several persistent artists caught their attention and managed to get those exciting appointments after all.

Joan Marie Celebrates Art in her first booth.

Joan Marie Celebrates Art in her first booth at Licensing Expo. She joins those who will be back in 2016.

Two hot topics throughout the Licensing Expo event were global exposure and digital media. Manufacturers from around the world met with artists and new properties and every corner of Asia was especially well represented at the Expo. All properties, new and evergreen, are seriously considering how they will gain and maintain exposure in this new digital world. And today it’s not just about exposure and the numbers, it’s all about ‘engagement.’

Debra Valencia and I catch up in her beautiful booth, designed as a brand concept store.

Debra Valencia and I catch up in her beautiful booth, designed as a brand concept store.

Engagement is how your audience will choose to interact with you and your brand. Also, who will help bring your products and brands into the limelight. Whether an artist or a property, there is a big trend in utilizing celebrities to increase exposure. Strategic alliances are well and good, as long as you have engagement once the audience grows. While this may not seem relevant to those of you who are new to art licensing, specifically, it does relate. Many new artists are turning to manufacturing some items on their own to develop their ‘following.’ Then online marketing and sales efforts will build your audience and strong sales numbers will absolutely impress manufacturers. It gives you something to leverage.

ANNE WAS HERE

ANNE WAS HERE

There was also a great deal of chatter about artists, designers and new properties getting high-level leads with companies the exhibitor didn’t expect! Each freely admitted they were in product categories they had never even considered would be interested. Exposure to so many types of properties and product categories at Licensing Expo is always an eye-opener and fuels broader business goals and plans.

Of course I heard complaints too, such as, ‘There is no room for new artists or properties.’ ‘How can we get anywhere when it’s all about the big-guys?’ ‘You need TV before you can do licensing.’ Or ‘You need publishing before you can get TV.’ But I was witness to several artists and properties who made great strides by being well prepared and really understanding what media players and manufacturers would want from a ‘newbie’ in the industry. Let’s see if they can stay the course and keep moving forward.

So now the final results for everyone is in the hands of our attention to detail and follow-up.

Mark Lubratt  and his Mom Linda spoke to many prospective   partners about Zoonicorns and will be attending Licensing Expo in 2016.

Mark Lubratt and his Mom Linda spoke to many prospective partners about Zoonicorns and will be attending Licensing Expo in 2016.

Ask J’net Q&A THIS WEEK

Now everyone has to sort and make decisions about how to follow-up with each and every person they met.  We have two classes this week to help you with these processes.  One is our FREE Ask J’net Q&A, in which I’ll focus on ‘After the Trade Show Questions.’  Feel free to ask about things: you saw at the Licensing Expo; that maybe didn’t make sense for you as a first-timer; which you are still confused about; and how to make the most of your time there through your strategic follow-up.  Ask any questions important to you right now and put them on your registration form. This Ask J’net Q&A is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16th at 10:00 am PDT / 1:00 pm EDT (you will receive your Classroom Access Information at least one-hour before the class). Register Here.

Art+Design Zone Action

Art+Design Zone Action

Sales & Trade Show Follow-Through Techniques

You won’t want to miss Sales & Trade Show Follow-Through Techniques. on Thursday, June 18th at 10:00 am PDT / 1:00 pm EDT. This live phone event will be 1.5 hours and the cost is $75. After your purchase, you can attend live or after the event you will receive … an audio (MP3) file, 60+ page PowerPoint presentation (PDF format) and video link to watch the entire class at your convenience. We know everyone has a different way of learning, so we offer more ways to learn than other training events in the licensing industry.

This class has 3 parts which cover the 1) Organization of your follow-up, how exactly to 2) Follow Through carefully and accurately on your leads and 3) Sales Techniques that will close the deal and grow your business. You may place your questions on the registration form, and they will be answered during the live event.

The training will focus on characteristics of licensing sales which you won’t find in a traditional sales class. You will receive your Classroom Access information the evening before the class, June 17th, via email. Register Here.

Hope you can join me for one or both of the classes this week! Please share all this information with those who might want to attend the Expo next year or learn about our business. Thanks.





New and Old Connections Ignited on Day 2 of Licensing Expo

10 06 2015

Jim Davis cropped setLicensing celebrity sighting alert at the Art + Design Resource Center Booth (C13)! Jim Davis, iconic cartoonist, best known as the creator of the comic strip Garfield, stopped by the booth to catch up with me.  He is excited to be celebrating Garfield’s 37th Anniversary on June 19th, 2015, as well as exploring all kinds of new digital and international deals. Don’t tell anyone, but he brought a plush cat with him–AND IT WASN’T GARFIELD. Jim was so nice, but the cat was grumpy.

SupaPop
supapopyesSean Danconia is an old soul. He loves everything retro, and really not much of anything after 1979. A 15-year career in design, animation, film, and recently fine art, Sean has taken his love of all things classic to create a universe sealed back in time — SupaPop.  The SupaPop story universe unfolds as a Time-Capsule-Toy city, created and sealed in the 60s in San Francisco. The time capsule is “popped” open in 2016, where a classic version of the city remains unevolved. A city where heroic idealism and a classic positive attitude is rampant, the comic book inspired universe encompasses more than 20 different themes packed with licensing opportunities. You can visit the SupaPop world at Booth V200, or better yet, join him at the Joseph Watson gallery tonight, June 10, at 7:30 pm for the world premiere reception.

Kokonuzz

kokonuzzBased out of Hong Kong, Kokonuzz is just one of four brands created by Spanish graphic designer, Alexis Bautista. With magnets, headwear, clothing, baby and digital sticker licenses in place from connections made at the Hong Kong Licensing Show, Kokonuzz is attending its first U.S. Licensing Expo to take its brand global. Kokonuzz is comprised of seven characters from different parts of the world who want to be YouTube celebrities. Their YouTube channel and other content follows their struggles towards a goal for stardom. Developed as a true mobile brand with licensing as the focus from the start, Kokonuzz characters live their own reality series, even posting comic strip commentaries to real world problems. Visit Kokonuzz at Booth V198.




Rugrats Creator Moves into a New Age and Other Licensing Expo Highlights

10 06 2015

rugratssplaatRugrats are going Splaat! Arlene Klasky, the co-creator of the 13-year hit Nickelodion cartoon, Rugrats, stopped by the Art + Design Resource Center booth (C15) yesterday to talk about her new project. Joining us with brand manager Megan Pearson, Arlene gave us a little sneak peak into her new property in development, Splaat!  All I can say is it’s great fun…and totally different. Now I’m a two-time fan!

American Posterity

American PosterityAmerican Posterity encompasses three very unique and different intellectual properties being launched at the Licensing Expo. The patented Interchangeable Stimulation Device is a system of cognitively stimulating panels that adhere to any baby or child carrying device. As a child ages the panels can be changed out to new age-appropriate designs. Zini & Friends is a character set that grows along with their kid buddies, morphing as they grow. On the younger side, each character is associated with a different shape, type of music, and language. As they grow, a different occupation, sport and learning style is associated with each character. Lastly, Chimpadoo is a character set that teaches sign language through everyday, hands-on applications, using sign images for things like bibs, plates, and bottles. Developed by Macey Schoen, you can check them all out at Booth E14.

Suzanne Cruise Creative Services Inc. Art Licensing

SuzanneSuzanne Cruise Creative Services Inc. Art Licensing has been coming to Licensing Expo as long as I have! After 20 years pf offering creative art licensing services to artists, Cruise represents 30 individual artists. The agency’s newest property, Sally Ball Sharp, has been very well received as a new and super versatile artist. A few other artists of note represented by Suzanne Cruise is Victoria Hutto, Gail Flores, and Lynnea Washburn.








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