Franchise discovery days are an opportunity for you to meet potential franchisees. They are also an opportunity for people to come and learn about your franchise. Typically an informal meeting, these franchising events allow each party to better get to know the opposite and determine whether they might be the right fit for them.
What is a Franchise Discovery Day?
A franchise discovery day is an event where potential franchisees can meet the franchisor and learn more about the franchise opportunity. It is usually the next step after the person makes contact withe franchisor, expressing initial interest. After the prospect has made an enquiry and received a prospectus, the franchisor may wish to invite them to a discovery day. The event might take place at your franchise head office, or it might take place at a hotel function room or out in the field (for example at a franchised branch). It may even take place online.
Tips for Planning a Franchise Discovery Day
Franchise discovery days are a fantastic opportunity to get to know and profile potential franchisees. Getting someone who has made an enquiry on the phone is one thing, but for them to make the effort of coming to you for an open day is a whole new level. For starters, if someone has taken the day off work, or paid travel expenses, to come to your discovery day, you know they’re keen.
Planning the Discovery Day
First things first, you need to plan the discovery day. How is the event going to be structured? Is it going to be an online webinar for an hour, or is it going to be in person. How many people are going to attend your discovery session? Is it going to be a group discovery day or is it going to be one to one?
A group discovery day can be preferable because it is less daunting, and the spotlight isn’t just on the only attending party. If you’ve got a group of 6 or 7 different people, all interested in the franchise, each person will get more out of it because:
- Each person may have thought up different questions, boosting the amount of information people can take away, as opposed to one person with limited questions.
- Each person will have more confidence and the event will seem less interrogating.
- You won’t be wasting time if someone doesn’t turn up. If you allocate timeslots throughout the day, you’ll be wasting time if people get cold feet or are late.
Think about the information you’re going to deliver. Don’t spend too much time on the details that you’ve already fed people via the franchise prospectus because they would have already read it. Get to know each of the attendees and ask them what they’re looking for in a franchise. What do they hope to achieve within the next 5 years?
It would be a good opportunity to ask some of your existing franchisees to come along as well. It will give the attendees the opportunity to ask them about their experiences and whether the franchise business still lives up to expectations.
Some of the information to include in the discovery day:
- Introductions – introduce your franchise team.
- Make it clear that they’re not buying a franchise there and then. Its a chance for them to ask questions and decide whether or not the business is right for them.
- Explain why they should invest in a franchise rather than start up their own business.
- Discuss the documents. That’s things like the franchise operations manual, information memorandum and franchise agreement.
- More information about the investment, profits and losses. They’re probably already aware of the franchise fee, but how much more do they need for shop fitting, etc.
- Discuss finance. A large investment can be scary, but you do need to emphasise any finance support available, for example through banks.
- Discuss training and support. Make it clear that the franchisor will be their own boss, but you’ll be there to provide training and ongoing support. You’ll only be a phone call away.
Promoting the Franchise Discovery Day
When you’re advertising a discovery day, you’ll want to put placements in as many places as you possibly can. Firstly, set up a page where you can collect interest from people looking to attend. Don’t put people off by charging for the discovery, they want to find out more about your franchise, and you want to recruit franchisees so don’t turn people away.
EventBrite is great website for collecting interest. It has a built in ticketing system where you can sell (free) tickets to people interested and garner a list of attendees. During the course of the event promotion, you can keep them engaged by sending emails reminding them about the discovery day – don’t forget to respect their privacy and GDPR requirements. Another reason why EventBrite is a great choice, is because it can show your event to other users of their platform such as through suggested events. It raises awareness through their own channels. Likewise, Facebook also promotes events, and it works well with EventBrite because the ticketing system integrates directly.
If you work with any franchise directory websites, utilise your profile to promote the event. Create banners and profile sections linking to the event. In a similar fashion, utilise their mail blasts and newsletters as well, the more awareness you raise, the more potential attendees. While you’re at it, why not promote your franchising event on Franchise Planet too.
Time Wasters Cold Feet
Don’t consider people who turn up to be time wasters, maybe they just changed their mind. Going back to what I said earlier, you’ll need to plan for people who don’t turn up. A group session with three or four attendees is better than 4x 90 minute sessions with no attendees. And don’t write off those that don’t turn up. Maybe they were sick or couldn’t make it due to traffic. Get back on to the phone to them and give them the highlights of the discovery session. Detail what they missed and whether they’d like to be informed about future events.
Not everyone that signs up for the discovery day will attend, so don’t be surprised if you get a 40-50% turnout. Plan for this and make the ticketing threshold 30-40% more than the venue capacity.
Remember the NDA
It is strongly recommended that you ask everyone who attends to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. When handing over the document for the prospective franchisee to sign, explain why it is required and that they’re not buying the franchise there and then.
The last thing you want is a competitor posing as a potential franchise buyer and turning up to your discovery day to steal your business model. Even if they’re not a competitor, you’ll want to make sure that those that attend don’t run off and clone your progress, thinking “why pay a franchisor when I can do it myself?“. Attendees are signing the franchise Non Disclosure Agreement so that the business model information remains confidential.
Running the Franchise Discovery Day
Once you’ve generated enough interest, you can look forward to meeting potential franchisees. It is a good idea to offer free drinks and refreshments, making attendees feel welcome and comfortable. Make sure you anticipate the potential questions they might ask. If you haven’t already covered these in your presentation, some good ideas of what might be asked:
- When will I get a return on my investment / break even?
- How soon after investing can I expect to be trading?
- Have any franchisees failed and if so what were the reasons for their failure?
- Does the franchise offer the potential for expansion into neighbouring territories, and what is the cost for this?
- I want to buy the franchise in my area, what are the next steps.
- Can I get funding assistance?
Ask the attendee – Can they afford the franchise fee or are they borrowing? Make sure they can afford capital as well to get the business running.
When planning a franchise discovery day, it’s definitely worth discussing with a franchise consultant so that you can get everything right and make the most of the event.