Recently I was joined by Chris Igou of Handyman Connection for a Franchise Euphoria interview. Chris is the Vice President of US Operations for Handyman Connection and was a wealth of knowledge over a variety of topics ranging from getting started with franchising to running your corporate team. At one point during the interview, I asked Chris about the efforts his team takes in securing quality franchisees, and he had a great answer. You can click here to check out the interview and hear Chris’s full answer, but I want to focus on one of the points he drove home, which was the importance of running a quality Discovery Day.
A Discovery Day is a personalized event organized by a franchisor that ultimately poses as the final step in vetting a prospective franchisee. The goal of this event for the potential franchisee is to provide an opportunity for them to become well-informed about a franchise before they decide to invest themselves in the business. Franchisors can host this type of event one-on-one or with a large group of people, but they should be sure that they only invite people who are truly serious about franchising and feel fairly-confident they would be a good fit for this franchise specifically. If you’re in a position where hosting a Discovery Day would be beneficial for your franchise system, we suggest including the following items in your potential Discovery Day agenda in order for you and your potential franchisees to get the most out of this educational experience:
Choose an attractive location for your meeting
Whether this be on site at one of your facilities, a hotel meeting room, an upscale office, or a quality restaurant, it is important that your prospective franchisees see that you value their time and can recognize the effort taken to make them feel comfortable and appreciated. This will also provide them with some insight as to how their relationship would be with you as their franchisor would be. If they feel that you have taken care of from the get go, they are likely to feel more confidant that you will take the same care to navigate them as they are launch a piece of your business.
Incorporate something that shows off your business
What better way to pique your candidate’s interest than by giving them a taste of the fruits of your labor? This is customizable depending on the industry, but some ideas include giving a tour of your facility, providing a VIP experience to sample your product, housing a guest speaker who is fundamental in the success of your company, etc. In the same way that you market your product to consumers, draw on the most attractive aspects of your product to make it most desirable to your prospects. If you can connect your franchisees to the product on an emotional level, they will feel more invested in the product and passionate about seeing this investment to fruition.
Don’t forget the facts
While everybody appreciates to be wined and dined, the bottom line is that they came to learn about your business. Whether in a presentation or on paper, be sure to provide an outline of the business concept, market status, plan for corporate support, and all other aspects of the franchise. Be sure you aren’t just rehashing the basic bullet points of your business that they already learned upon their first inquiry but truly diving into the finer points to create the ultimate understanding of your business model. Your franchisee candidates are going out of their way to receive additional information by attending this event. If you demonstrate a well-thought out plan for success to your prospects and they feel that you have a handle on all aspects of your business, you will have an easier time retaining the interest of your candidates. It is highly important that you be sure they have no reservations regarding the stability of your franchise before they leave.
Don’t leave anything open-ended
This should go without saying, but be sure both you and the candidate(s) get every question answered before the end of your time together. There will be no better opportunity to gauge them than in this setting. Furthermore, many people are preferential to instant-gratification, so there is no better time than this to close the deal. Statistics show that people are more inclined to purchase a product on the spot once their interest has been piqued, so if you felt that they would be a good match for your franchise, let them know before they leave and get them signed on the same day. On the other hand, if you determine that a prospect will not be a good fit for your business, it is better to let them down earlier than later. While a rejection is painful for everyone involved, it is important to remember that it is in everyone’s best interest to make smart business decisions and not create a false sense of hope.