Franchise Trade Shows Are a Great Place to Launch and Grow Franchise Brands, Plus Generate Leads!
Franchise trade shows are a great source of information and worth exploring. Weither you want to buy a franchise, or are looking to launch and grow your own franchise brand, connect with people interested in purchasing your franchise concept or you’re looking for specialized franchise consultants that can help your brand grow to the next level with advanced franchise sales, recruiting, marketing and lead generation systems, you will will not be disappointed with the vast amount of information and connections to be made.
At these shows, which take place all over the country throughout the year, you can kick the tires, taste the food, and handle the products. Most important, perhaps, you can meet live representatives from dozens, or even hundreds of brands, suppliers and franchise growth consultants depending on the size of the show.
Whether national, regional, or local, these shows offer a golden opportunity to ask questions – not only with franchise sales representatives, but often with franchisees as well. Most shows also provide educational seminars and sessions where you can meet franchise experts and specialists. You can also learn a lot from other entrepreneurs seeking the right brand for themselves and compare notes, impressions, hopes, and fears.
What Happens at a Franchise Trade Show?
This starts first with the booth. At any trade show the booth is an extension of a company’s office and home. It represents to the people at that trade show what and who that company is. Every piece of the booth and messaging displayed needs to be carefully and appropriately structured. There are many companies that do nothing but booth design and set up, I would recommend exploring their services. Because of the brevity inherent in a decision to invest in a franchise, the booth must look and be set up properly, it should represent a company extremely well. The best companies in the world at doing this are the commercial real estate organizations at the ICSC in Las Vegas each year. Their booths literally look like permanent office buildings they have constructed on the trade show floor. Booths to this extent can run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and are not practical for most purposes, but it is critical to have a professional and well organized booth at a franchise trade show. It is also extremely important to understand how your booth and the materials will actually get TO and FROM the show. If pieces are missing when you go to set up your booth, it can ruin the structure and overall presentation.
Managing a Franchise Trade Show
The most critical aspect to a successful trade show is the Staffing. There is an old saying that describes the uselessness of an extremely expensive booth with all the bells and whistles and no one to staff the booth that cares enough to engage the prospects. Franchise buyers are wary, this is a big decision for them and they are very careful in their evaluation. That being said, most buyers do not know what they want to invest in. They come to franchise shows with the understanding that they could investigate the options and look around to meet potential franchisors. Very rarely does a buyer come to a show with an express intent to buy or meet with one particular franchise company. Keeping that in mind, it is absolutely essential that a franchise trade show booth be manned by aggressive and positive staff. The booth very quickly becomes an afterthought once prospect is engaged. Then the attention is shifted to the person. Everyone at the booth should look professional, be well dressed, have a clean shave and be positive and excited about what they have to offer. If the people at the booth are not excited about the franchise offering, why should the buyers be?
The key to a successful trade show for a franchise company is to leave with LEADS. Very rarely does a trade show attendee come to a show and buy a franchise there at the exhibition. In most cases they meet the franchisor and begin the information gathering process from that point, the franchise agreement and relationship begins in several weeks or months after continued follow up and interaction. As a result, the focus of a franchise trade show for the team and staff must be to generate leads. Once a prospect has been engaged and their information has been gathered, it is time to move on! Find the next potential buyer, the trade show floor is not a place for long conversations. It is short introductions where enough value is built to set up the next call. Good franchise trade show staffs will not get caught talking with vendors or unqualified prospects. They will be on their feet the entire show and will not eat or drink in the booth. You just never know when that next good buyer will walk around the corner, and if your booth staff is drinking smoothies or eating ice cream at the time, you just might miss out on a great opportunity.
After the smoke clears and the trade show activities come to an end, it is not time to rest. It is time for follow up. An amazing percentage of trade show meetings at franchise exhibitions are never followed up on. It is a travesty to spend money on a trade show, put in the hard hours, walk away with sore backs and knees and not give the follow up the attention and commitment it deserves. The leads that you meet at a franchise trade show should be followed up with the night after the meetings have happened. This may seem aggressive to some, but you are not the only company or person that they met for the first time that day. It will be a very short time before they forget you even exist. The follow up should be continued until there is a substantive conversation. Ideally, a franchise company will arrange a follow up meeting, either at the location or in the form of a seminar or workshop about their franchise. These meetings are a great way to continue the franchisee’s buying process and information gathering.
Overall, franchise trade shows are a wonderful way for buyers to learn more about franchises and meet firsthand with the owners and leaders of franchise companies. They are also extremely effective ways for franchisors to market their franchise offering and meet quality potential buyers for their franchise. If the show is managed correctly and the preceding points are taken into account, trade shows can be the beginning of many wonderful franchise relationships!
Franchise Marketing Systems has a special marketing and lead generation program for clients that want to showcase their franchise opportunity at a mix of the 22 tradeshows that FMS will be attending this year. For more information on this program please request information below.