Making that key company connection boosts your invention’s chance of success.

Inventors have a much better chance of launching their product with a larger company if they can find an inside contact to give them advice and help make connections.

You don’t need to go hat in hand when working on an inside contact. These connections gain as much as you do when they present the project. In fact, it is a win-win situation for them.

An insider who brings the project to the company for a licensing, marketing or private label deal looks like a go-getter who is helping to make deals whether the project goes to completion or not.

These steps can get you an inside contact with a potential partner company:

1. Go in armed with data

You won’t strike your best deal by just showing your invention. You’ll need to show positive first market research and initial sales success with intriguing possibilities, then tell the insider that your concept seems so strong you feel it will do best if you partner with a marketer immediately.

This approach allows you to enlist partners in the beginning phases of an exciting opportunity, rather than risk the insider’s perception that you’re looking to team up after failing to successfully market your product on your own.

2. Start with a salesperson

You can meet salespeople by requesting literature from trade magazines. Ads and product announcements in trade magazines typically give a contact email where people can request literature. You can find trade magazines by listing the industry and the words “trade magazine” in an internet search.

You can also attend trade shows (listings of trade shows are online and in industry magazines) and meet salespeople by talking to them at their booth. Try to walk the shows early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the number of real customers is low. Once you meet salespeople, ask to take them to lunch because you need some input from them on a concept you think might do well in the market.

3. Develop a presentation

Use a product presentation to explain your product, with the initial sales success you have had and some research you’ve done on the larger market. Don’t try to sell the salesperson; just show him or her the presentation with the observation that you’re trying to decide what would be a good next step to expand sales.

4. Ask for input on your idea

Be receptive to what the salesperson has to say, then ask whether this is a product that might be of interest to his or her company. More than likely the person will have a few comments on how it could be done with his or her company, with suggestions on making the concept “just right” for the target company.

5. Seek out the marketing manager

If the salesperson is on board, make at least some of the changes he or she suggested and ask for a meeting with the regional manager or marketing manager. Usually, that person can meet with you when the manager comes to town, at a trade show, or you might be able to visit the company’s location.

6. Go for the ‘big meeting’

Once you present your product to the regional or marketing manager, he or she can set up a key meeting with the right people at the company. The marketing manager may give a sales pitch about how your product could have a significant impact on the company before you even get started.