A quick guide on how to avoid the post-show blues

Going to a franchise exhibition is an exciting experience. But don't do it on the fly really think things through to get the most out of it

A quick guide on how to avoid the post-show blues

As a franchisor, some of the most significant events in the calendar are franchise exhibitions. Showcasing your brand alongside your team is very exciting but it’s all too easy to get caught up in the buzz. Networking and get-togethers with fellow franchisors and prospects alike are fun. But remember that every marketing activity should be measured by ROI and franchise exhibitions are no different. In fact, it’s likely one of the biggest expenditures of the year. Don’t be left thinking, “was it really worth it?”

Avoiding post-show blues comes down to having a solid framework in place beforehand so your process afterwards is simple and effective. If you create a robust criteria for your future franchisees to meet, picking them out from the crowd is uncomplicated. Firstly, target those that fit your mould – whatever that may be – as they are the ones who, in theory, will achieve the biggest success. Less-experienced franchisors may assume these best-fit prospects will come knocking on the door after the event but no matter how confident they seemed on the day, people often leave a show feeling overwhelmed.

It’s nice to think people will come back to you after the exhibition but take it from someone who’s been around the block a few times – it’s never that simple. It’s your responsibility to connect and interact with people you met. Get them on the phone, answer any questions they have – there will be plenty, I’m sure – and invest your time in building a relationship to genuinely bond with them. People must feel that you’re invested in them before they commit to following you. You’re not the Pied Piper – you need to do the chasing.

For a prospective franchisee, an exhibition is the perfect place to get a better understanding of a franchisor. It’s your chance to meet stakeholders, get your hands on products or scrutinise services and get a visual take on the brand. But it’s a lot to absorb and can be hard to digest afterwards. If you’ve spent the day in a vast hall brimming with investment opportunities but still somehow feel like you’re no closer to making your mind up, don’t panic. It’s perfectly normal to experience a little of your own post-show blues.

My advice is to take everything you received and begin to categorise your options. Dissect the information and break down each aspect: is the franchise owner-operator or management style? Home-based or premises-based? Community-focused or a B2B-service offering? Does it realistically reach your financial aspirations? You may have entered the exhibition thinking you wanted to research a certain sector or even a specific brand but listing things out methodically can bring a whole new perspective. You may potentially fall upon an opportunity that wasn’t initially on your go-to list but tick a lot of boxes.

It’s likely that soon afterwards, you’ll be comparing one or two similar franchise opportunities. But I’ll bet you one of them just feels right. I’m saying go with your gut. Your instinct is usually on the money and that’s the moment when the real magic starts to happen.

As a good example, you might think an education background is paramount to being a Tutor Doctor franchisee, but 80% of our network have no prior education industry experience. We nurture individuals who believe in our company values and epitomise what it means to be a franchisee. That’s how you should make your decision – find a business concept that really captures your attention and fills you with excitement when thinking about being your own boss.

Whether you’re a franchisor or a franchisee, it’s safe to say exhibitions are a great way to meet the cream of the crop all in one place. The trick to success rests equally on what you do afterwards as it does what you do on the day. When planned and followed up well, instead of asking ‘was it all worth it?’, franchisors and franchisees alike can reap the benefits for years to come.

Frank Milner
Frank Milner