Discovery Day Tune-Up: 12 Tips to Improve Your Results

Whether you have one franchise or a thousand, Discovery Day catapults your recruiting process to its crescendo. It's "Confirmation Time," and engaged candidates serious about your franchise are now at your doorstep. Are you really prepared to invite them in? How scripted, rehearsed, and polished is your "meet and greet" event?

According to a study conducted by Dunhill Personnel years ago, 85 percent of what your prospects absorb at Discovery Day is visual, not informational. Seemingly minor details can make lasting impressions, and steer a candidate's decision to join or pass on your franchise. Check out these 12 tips that have enhanced the Discovery Day experience resulting in more franchise closings:

Tip 1: Assign a tour guide. When staff are available, a personable facilitator who ushers and assists prospects throughout Discovery Day is invaluable. Their presence makes a good professional impression on your guests, showing them the attention your franchisees are given. It also elevates the stature of your development executive, who isn't always there seemingly waiting to grab their checkbook. From airport pickup to rearranging departmental presentations if needed, the facilitator keeps the schedule moving and can prevent potential mishaps and provide on-site feedback to your development team about the candidates.

Tip 2: Provide an advance agenda. Furnish the schedule of events, names, and bios of department executives your attendees will meet, specific travel information, and any other helpful instructions or information; ask for contact names for family emergencies. This preview heightens the importance of the event and provides useful information in assisting attendees in preparing for their trip. Savvy franchises post this on their website using a password-protected page for "Discovery Day Guests." It's more efficient and stimulates curiosity from new site visitors.

Tip 3: Get your housekeeping in order. Your guests are influenced by everything they see, touch, and hear at your home office. This includes bathrooms, paint, carpets, shrubbery, plants, trash, office décor, etc.

Tip 4: Post a welcoming board. Display your visitors' names on an attractive display stand. Recognizing their presence shows your candidates they are important to your company... and helps your staff members remember who's attending!

Tip 5: Post department names. Identifying different department areas with door tags or labels shows organization and professionalism, and provides your visitors with a better sense of how your company works.

Tip 6: Display your "Franchisee Wall of Fame." Photos of owners featuring your top franchisees and franchisee advisory council are impressive to your guests, bringing home your powerful relationship and appreciation for franchise owners. Unfortunately, not enough franchisors leverage the impact of showcasing their franchise stars at their headquarters.

Tip 7: Furnish a personalized notebook. Provide the schedule of events, meaningful reports, presentation outlines, and other relevant material that candidates can take home with them.

Tip 8: Standardize your corporate dress. Whether in company polo shirts or suits, establish a consistent dress code for Discovery Day. Franchising by definition means uniformity; an "anything goes" attitude toward attire does not communicate a professional image.

Tip 9: Schedule departmental presentations. It's essential that your field support, real estate/site selection, advertising and marketing, and customer service departments participate in Discovery Day. Qualified buyers want to meet the people they will be working with. Likewise, key personnel should speak with prospective franchisees and offer their insights in qualifying them.

Tip 10: Invest in multi-media. Quality, well-prepared presentations make the difference in motivating buyers. PowerPoint, video, TV and radio commercials, an intranet, and software demonstrations enhance the impact of your messages.

Tip 11: Conduct a complete facilities tour. Don't keep your guests prisoners all day in the same room. A closet remodeling franchise made this mistake until a prospect finally asked to see their warehouse and was happily surprised: "I never realized you are producing such great product!" The candidate signed on the next week. Don't assume tours aren't important. Even with a no-inventory service business, prospects often don't realize the commitment of personnel and resources required to support a franchise network until they see it for themselves. Seeing is believing!

Tip 12: Analyze individual vs. group presentations. Track your current closing rates to establish which environment may be more suitable and successful for you. A home-care franchisor discovered their greatest success with personal, one-on-one Discovery Days. Yet an advertising franchise found group presentations far more productive for their recruitment success.

Discovery Day can be an exceptional experience for your franchise candidates. Invest the time and resources to ensure your brand presentation exceeds their expectations. The payoffs are certainly worth it for all!


This article is an excerpt from Amazon.com best-seller Grow to Greatness: How to Build a World-Class Franchise System Faster by Steve Olson. For ordering information, go to www.franchising.com/specials/growtogreatness.php.

Published: June 13th, 2012

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