5 tips to making the most of a franchise exhibition

Each year across Europe there are numerous franchise exhibitions, which provide visitors a valuable insight into available franchise businesses and current trends within the industry. Although exhibitions are a fantastic opportunity for prospective franchise owners, the size and number of quality franchises on offer often means they can be a minefield to navigate through. Here are five tips to ensure that you make the most out of your visit.

1. Do your research before attending

One of the simplest ways to ensure that you make the most out of your visit to a franchise exhibition is to have done as much research beforehand as possible. You can look at dedicated franchise websites and publications to find out the types of concepts that you are interested in and many exhibition organisers now have websites that will provide information on which brands will be attending the event.

Once you’ve done your initial research, you should narrow the brands that you want to approach at the exhibition by deciding which ones interest you while also suiting your skills, personality and experience, as well as the amount you are prepared to invest. Once you have drawn up this shortlist it will help you to remain focused at the exhibition instead of wasting time wondering around aimlessly.

2. Plan your approach

A great advantage of attending a franchise exhibition is that it provides a unique opportunity for prospective franchise owners to meet the representatives of a franchise in person at the initial stage of inquiry. While this is invaluable for gaining a good idea of how the brand represents itself to the public, you should also be aware that they will be evaluating you at the same time, so it is important that you project a good impression of yourself. One of the best ways of ensuring this is to approach the meeting as a two-way interview.

With this approach in mind you should have a clear idea of what information you want to gain from the meeting and have a list of questions that you want answered. In turn, the brand representative will also want to gain information from you and you should be prepared to answer questions about yourself, such as:

  • Do you have the capital investment that you claim?
  • Do you have what it take to operate the franchise business and conform to the corporate values?
  • Are you serious about making the decision to invest or are you unlikely to commit?

3. Attend seminars and talks

Many franchise exhibitions now include seminars and talks that discuss current trends in franchising. Usually free to attend, these seminars often provide a wealth of information on the industry and can be useful as part of your general research into the industry to see if it is the right route for you.

4. Walk away

Most franchisors attend a franchise exhibition to gain interest in their business concept and as a result most will view a significant number of quality leads as a good return on the time and money they have invested in the exhibition.

Despite this there will be some exhibitors keen to make sales on the day, which combined with the number of quality franchise concepts on display, can make it tempting for prospective franchise owners to sign up there and then. However, is it usually wise to walk away to give yourself time to think away from the ‘sale’ atmosphere of the franchise exhibition.

5. Review your research

Attending a franchise exhibition will give you a unique opportunity to meet representatives of the brands that you are interested in and give you a chance to question them face-to-face. By the end of the day you should be returning home with a bag full of brochures and promotional literature, as well as having some idea of which brands impressed and those that didn’t.

This is the time for the cooling off period, where you can combine the research you have gained before hand with that which you obtained at the exhibition. Once you have done this you should have enough information to decide which brands you have a serious interest in investing in and want to contact for further information.

Written by Derin Clark