John P. Hayes: Exploit Your Expo Visit | Global Franchise
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Wednesday 7th December, 2022

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John P. Hayes: Exploit Your Expo Visit

Insight

John P. Hayes: Exploit Your Expo Visit

“It may surprise most people, but the franchise exhibitors do not expect to sell a franchise at an expo. Their hope is to explore opportunities with prospective franchisees”

Preparing to visit a franchise exposition could make the difference between a “nice day” looking at franchise opportunities, or finding the perfect business for your future. Unfortunately, most people don’t prepare to visit expos. Let’s change that now! Even a small expo – i.e. 200 exhibitors – can easily consume the better part of a day.

You won’t be interested in every exhibitor, but you could easily find ten. Spend just 20-30 minutes with each of the ten and that’s half your day. A good expo also offers educational programming and you can easily spend another half day learning about franchising.

But what do most people do? They arrive at the expo unprepared and they wander through the aisles looking at the opportunities from afar. At the end of an hour or two they decide, “There’s nothing here that interests me.”

Really? How would they know? Other than picking up some brochures, and enjoying a slice of pizza, they walked by most of the exhibits. That often leaves the exhibitors asking, “Why do people come to an expo and not stop to talk?”

It may surprise most people, but the franchise exhibitors do not expect to sell a franchise at an expo. Their hope is to explore opportunities with prospective franchisees. There’s no cost for talking! Here’s what you can do to get the most out of an expo:

Visit the expo website in advance to find out which brands will be there. Make note of those you want to visit. Find out where they’re located on the show floor. If you can’t get to the website, pick up the expo brochure first thing upon arrival. Go to a quiet place, review it, and select the brands you want to visit. Only then should you start walking the show floor.

Ask the same questions at each booth: Why would I buy this franchise? How much does it cost? Do you have locations open in my city? Can I get your disclosure document? Also pay attention to the educational programs and make note of the starting times for sessions you want to attend.

Your goal is to gather information, and if you see a brand you like try to picture yourself operating that business. Don’t hesitate to sit down and talk at length with the brand representative. And that’s how a trip to the franchise expo turns into your best investment of a day’s time.

Don’t be surprised if you decide to return for day two!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. John P. Hayes, Titus Chair for Franchise Leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, has been teaching at franchise expos internationally for nearly 30 years.

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