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How Franchise Conferences Work Like Online Lead Generation


With the International Franchise Expo just around the corner, we wanted to a write a quick piece on why we don’t see that big of a difference between how lead generation works at conferences compared to online.

(For those of you who haven’t read our primer on “What is Franchise Lead Generation”, you should check it out.)

Four Steps Of Franchise Lead Generation

As you know, we are pretty big advocates here about the four step lead generation process.

  • Acquiring Visitors
  • Turning Visitors Into Leads
  • Turning Leads Into Candidates
  • Turning Candidates Into Franchisees

In our primer, we point to two different paths of lead generation:

A franchisor sets up a booth at a franchise expo in Houston. The franchisor trusts the organizer of the expo to generate foot traffic for the expo. When the expo starts, visitors come by the booth (1). After being greeted by a sales representative from that franchise, eventually the conversation turns to the nuts and bolts of opening up a location. Having asked a few qualifying questions, the sales rep asks the visitor for their contact info, so they can follow up (2). After the show ends, the sales rep returns to their desk and calls the visitor (3). After speaking with them a number of times, getting them financially qualified, and having them tour one of the current locations, the visitor agrees to open a franchise (4).
Someone has a very crappy meeting with their boss. The boss lets the person know that they’re probably not going to be eligible for a promotion this year. Returning to her desk, the employee Googles “Be my own boss” and is met by an advertisement touting franchising as the easiest way for someone to become an entrepreneur. After clicking the ad (1), the employee is taken through a quiz gathering relevant pieces of information leading toward which franchises are the most appropriate for her to open. After being presented with a number of options, the woman selects three different franchises and enters her contact information (2). Each franchise, having been sent the woman’s contact information, follows up with an automated email attempting to set up time to speak. Since entering her info, she's decided that only one of the franchises is right for her and she responds to that franchise setting up a time to speak (3). After moving through the familiar sales process, she ultimately decides to buy a franchise (4).

The fact of the matter is that FranchiseHelp and the International Franchise Expo have the same goal, capture the contact information of a person as a signal for their intent to open a franchise.

So as you are thinking about your conference strategy designed to optimize for steps 1 and 2, here are some of the questions we think you should be asking…

Acquiring Visitors

  • Where are we located within the convention hall? Does this maximize traffic relative to the cost?
  • How effective is our booth at attracting the types of people we want? Does it convey relevant information?
  • How does our franchise compare to our closest competitors? Why would someone be attracted to speak to us rather than them?

Turning Visitors Into Leads

  • What type of contact information are you looking for? Will an email address suffice or is a phone number required as well?
  • What is your pitch in order to move people down funnel? When you only have 2 minutes to “sell” them, what do you highlight?
  • How do you know if people are serious? What are the qualify questions you ask them to see if their right for you (other than money)?

Being able to answer these questions before you get to the conference should give you the confidence that generating leads will happen. If you don’t know the answers today, take stock of what other franchises seem to be doing. It will be painfully obvious who’s succeeding and who is not.

If your conference strategy is enough to power your franchise’s development for the year, then congratulations! For those of you looking to accelerate your location count, check out what we do here at FranchiseHelp.

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