Tips when exhibiting at a franchise show
Franchise exhibitions can be a good way to meet new prospective franchisees but it’s vital you maximise your potential returns. Whether you like or loath trade shows the general consensus seems to be that franchise shows have dwindled over the last 5 years or so. This is understandable given that most people now search for everything online rather than leave the home or office. Just look at the likes of Amazon & online retail growth compared to recent retail high street closures.
That said many people do like to get “eye to eye” with franchisors & prospective franchisees. Franchise shows are also very useful for franchising professionals & other service providers to meet franchisors to promote their products & services.
For most franchisors if they secure a franchisee from an event it’s a good return on investment so it’s vital that you maximise your chances of success. Here are a few tips to help you achieve this.
Pre event marketing pros & cons
Most franchise recruitment leads are generated online now from franchisors websites & franchise portals like ours ( plug! ). Often franchisors are encouraged to use their database to invite prospective franchisees to a franchise show. This can give you kudos, it shows you are investing a lot of money into growing your brand but you need to also consider other factors.
Having seen hundreds of thousands of enquiries over the years it’s very common for prospective franchisees to consider multiple franchises. Many franchisors also think that this is just within their industry sector. The fact is we see people enquire about multiple franchises & across multiple industries & investment levels every day! When considering this after you have spent a huge amount of money generating leads do you want to invite them into a room full of your competitors?
Managing your franchise exhibition stand
Before you even arrive you need to ensure a few things;
- Staff resources – How many people are going to work on the stand? Franchise exhibitions don’t always have a steady flow of people. Sometimes it’s very busy, other times not so busy so you need to prepare for those busy times. Some franchisors adopt a 2 stage process, staff work the stand & field initial enquiries to filter good prospects & then pass these onto more senior colleagues to spend quality time with suitable candidates. General rule is more is better than less when it comes to resources, you have invested a lot in the stand and/or pre event marketing so don’t miss opportunities through lack of staff resources
- Marketing materials – You need to ensure you have enough flyers etc but also think about a “hook” for your stand. It could be sweets ( everyone does that! ) or why not something different like branded water? I recently attended a business show & branded water was a great hook & the stand was always busy ( well staffed as well )
- Plan you stand set-up, hotel etc – The last thing you want is a panic arriving late to set-up the stand, hitting traffic, hotels miles away. Plan VERY carefully, franchise shows are tiring so plan well, keep stress levels low & conserve energy. I love wearing my Sketchers when I am shows as well!
When it comes to working the stand remember it’s a bit like show business, always wear a smile! Make sure you rota staff so they don’t get too tired & keep them motivated. Maybe set some goals with prizes or a bottle of bubbly, make it fun & they will enjoy it more & it will rub off on visitors to your stand.
It’s all about the follow up
If I had a pound for everyone that was going to be a millionaire at the post event hype I would have retired years ago! Don’t get wrapped up in all the hype, focus on the follow ups, here are a few tips;
- Think about the data you need from prospects at the show & capture that effectively
- Don’t wait to get back to the office to follow up. Your contact strategy including emails, SMS, calls etc should be planned MONTHS before you exhibit & could potentially start before you even leave the event!
- Test & measurement – Make sure you mark every lead from the franchise show on your CRM so you know it was derived from the event. Sometimes it takes 6-12 months+ to recruit a franchisee so it could take you this long to know what your ROI was from the event
I hope this helps you & best of luck if you are exhibiting at a franchise show this year!