This last installment of a three-part series provides quick tips for greater success at the show, and the final ingredient for making the most of your trade show spend: what to do after you get back to the office to increase your franchise sales.
I recommend you call all leads within 24 hours of the show, thanking the person for visiting your opportunity. Make that individual feel special, bringing up a key observation you noted on their request form when you met. This wins big relationship points, separating your call from those of the other exhibitors. When speaking with an attendee on the phone, I started with, "Jill, you probably didn't have time to review our opportunity yet, but I really want to thank you and Joe for visiting with us. As you shared with me, owning our service business could be a nice fit for you two, and a great opportunity for your son Bob." I would then go silent, and if Jill jumped into a discussion, I was off and running with my prospect. If she said, "You're right, I haven't had time to review any of the businesses yet," then I asked, "Would Wednesday be an appropriate time to do this?" and I would book a time for a conference call.
Working nearly 100 franchise shows, I learned early that speed is of the essence in capturing the fast decision-makers. Many franchisors take three, five, seven, or more days to get back to their show leads. I know, I used to be one of them! Making the first contact with prospects will distinguish you from the pack. The slowpokes miss out with those buyers anxious to move forward with their business investigation.
Post-show seminars--Some franchisors are pros at running seminars during the show, or on the Saturday, Sunday, or Monday night following the event. These sessions are designed to sell the hot candidates when emotions are high, and owning a business is consuming their minds. These forums vary from well-scripted PowerPoint presentations accommodating 30 people, local franchise store meetings, or personal appointments at the show hotel. Have a sign-up sheet posted at your booth. If you successfully promote your special event, expect 50 percent of sign-ups to show up. For after-hours seminars, call to confirm the time and place of your session. I've sold from these seminars, and I've struck out as well. It's certainly worth a test if you're in a key development market and have successful franchisees in the region available for validation.
This is an excerpt from my book, "Grow to Greatness: How to build a world-class franchise system faster." Order copies at www.franchise-update.com/magazine/growtogreatness/
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