Trade shows are well known as suitable venues for selling franchises. They aren’t looking to attract franchise buyers; they’re focusing instead on attracting target audience. That target market could be your franchise company’s industry. The National Restaurant Association Show, for example, would be an ideal event for showcasing a restaurant franchise. However, there are distinct differences between franchise expos and industry trade shows. The following tips are specifically geared for trade show exhibitions.
o First, make sure the trade show you have in mind is a good fit for your franchise concept. Most do a great job of tracking the kind of information that will help you evaluate if the audience is indeed your target market.
o Conventions often draw a national or even an international crowd. Instead of weekends, they are often held during the week. And instead of lingering after the show, attendees are eager to go home at the end. Any meetings, seminars, or receptions should be scheduled as early in the show as possible.
o Industry shows are often large. Some have thousands of exhibitors. To get noticed, start advertising in appropriate trade publications several months in advance. “Come visit us in Booth #___” will help ensure your prospects will seek you out rather than get lost in the sea of activity.
o These events tend to be a better match for franchise concepts that require a larger initial investment. The general rule of thumb is franchise expos work best when the investment requirement is less than $250,000.
o You can sell a franchise during a franchise expo. Not so at a trade show. Trade shows are about lead generation, not sales. Your goal should be meeting and qualifying new prospects and building rapport. There’s a lot of traffic at a trade show, which represents an opportunity to attract many new prospects.
o Bring a bigger team to a trade show than you would a franchise expo. Because of the larger attendance, you’ll need more manpower. The cost will go up, of course, but the cost-per-lead and cost-per-sale should go down.