A few months ago I filed for a trademark patent. Over the ensuing months, I started receiving emails from Legal Zoom (the company I used to help with the filing). Of course this is expected.
Here’s what you need to know about filing trademarks: they’re pretty expensive, fairly convoluted and confusing, and it’s a long process. Many months or even years could elapse from the time of filing to the time of receiving a final decision on my trademark from the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The process is a slow burn.
And here’s something else to know about trademarks: they’re almost always filed for business reasons.
I expected the process to be long and drawn out – that seemed like a given. What I didn’t expect was the volume of emails I’d get from attorneys, like this one I received today:
Because trademarks provide legal protection, there’s a period of public notice whereby other interested parties have a chance to challenge any filed trademark. Everyone has access to these notices, including attorneys. Attorneys, therefore, have the knowledge that the person who filed the trademark may need legal help.
This is a solid buying trigger that any attorney can observe.
The bottom of the email states plainly that the message is for marketing purposes and wasn’t sent directly by the attorney named in the email. What the attorney knows, though, is that some percentage of people and businesses filing trademarks will need legal help. Notice too that the message deepens the pain of trademark filing:
”Approximately 3 to 4 months after filing your application, you will start receiving communications from the USPTO…these communications are written by trademark attorneys, and are full of legalese, so it can be difficult to figure out what to do next.”
“Full of legalese” and “difficult to figure out” are real pains that anyone who has filed any legal documentation has felt. Knowing that I filed this trademark application has prompted outreach from this attorney and several others, trying to catch me before I’m actively seeking legal advice.
Notice too that the message isn’t customized at all. Surely a VA or marketing assistant is going through thousands of trademark notices, scraping names and emails, and sending out this very same message in bulk. It’s not a good way to be a recognized expert, but it may surface a few leads at the exact right time in the buying cycle.
The same thing happened after I bought my house. Within a week of moving in, we began receiving a steady stream of offers for home owner’s insurance, life insurance, contractor services, and more. All of the offers were directly relevant to a new homeowner, but not necessarily me. Still, the buying trigger was obvious and plenty of companies acted.
When I was in the solar industry we looked for the same things. Whenever a major renovation would occur, and therefore permits were filed by the architect and homeowner, it was a buying trigger. We operated under the assumption that it could be the right time to offer solar panels prior to the start of construction, and when the cost of the panels were marginal compared to the rest of the renovation.
And once you identify a buying trigger, someone else has, too. So the next logical move is to move upstream of that trigger.
In the case of solar panels, we’d still regularly look for pulled permits for home construction and renovation, but we also maintained a business development strategy with architects. They were the ones who created the plans that went into the permits, after all. So if we had a group of happy architects who trusted our work and believed in solar for their clients, we’d be written into the permits.
The challenge then becomes looking for buying triggers, and then looking for the precipitating events that lead to buying triggers.
So my question for you today: what are some buying triggers exhibited by your Perfect Clients?
PS – if you’re not sure about your clients’ buying triggers, send me a message anyway with a description of what you do and for whom. I’ll record a screencast and send it out in tomorrow’s email with a few educated guesses.