Is it worth tying up staff and taking up time visiting trade shows? up time. Yes, yes and thrice yes, says Brad Fishman of FishmanPR
Compared to other lead generation strategies, franchise trade shows can seem like a cost-intensive, time-consuming approach. However, nothing beats getting to know someone face-to-face for franchise development.
A digital lead generation form is a helpful resource, but it rarely tells you the whole story of why a prospect is attracted to your opportunity, what skills they bring to the table and what they hope to accomplish. This is the information you need to determine whether someone is a good fit for your franchise system—and it gives you the background knowledge in order to present your brand in the most compelling way.
Franchise trade shows offer an unparalleled opportunity to form meaningful connections with leads and jumpstart the sales process for qualified candidates. A successful trade show can yield hundreds of leads, a handful of highly qualified prospects and multiple new franchisees. Putting your best foot forward at a trade show takes time and money, but the lead generation and networking benefits are worth the investment.
Have a Game Plan
Setting goals for your time at a trade show helps your team stay focused. Set a lead generation goal for each person working your booth, and make sure key messaging and talking points are well organized.
In advance, try to schedule a workshop on or before the first day of the show for attendees who already know they’re interested in your brand. This not only helps you immediately connect with some of your strongest prospects, it allows you to tweak your messaging based on the questions and interests of leads. That way, you’ll hit the floor with a strong strategy.
After the show, follow up with all your leads within four days. They’ll be receiving a lot of emails from your competitors, so a phone call is best. Jot down information about your best prospects as you speak to them so that, later, you can personalize your follow-up calls and help your brand stand out.
Bring the Right Team
When you walk into a trade show, you want to be surrounded by your most personable, energetic franchise development team members. You will only have a few moments to make a strong impression on curious leads, so the people representing your brand must be enthusiastic and memorable.
Ensure your team members are knowledgeable about all aspects of your brand’s franchise opportunities – including domestic, international, multi-unit, master franchise and area developer agreements. Qualified prospects will want to cut to the chase pretty quickly, but also keep track of any unanswered questions that you’ll highlight during the follow-up process. The focus during the show should be differentiating your brand, building relationships with leads and making sure people who stop by your booth walk away with their questions answered.
At the same time, make sure your team strikes the right balance between greeting individuals stopping off at your booth and facilitating more in-depth conversations. You don’t want leads to slip through your fingers while you engage with one person. Have everyone at your booth work together to draw in, qualify and connect with leads.
Even with the explosive growth of online franchise development, franchise trade shows are a key component of filling your sales funnel. There is no better way to drum up interest and form lasting relationships with potential franchisees.
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