Now, let’s assume you had secure leads far more than anticipated as a result of your hard work and diligence for three consecutive days and months of preparation. That’s a great thing to start with knowing that your hard works and preparation for the show have paid off. Lead generation is only the first hurdle in any sale life cycle including franchising. The most viable thing to do post trade shows & exhibitions is to follow-up the leads proactively.
Here are some Tips to consider regarding post-show follow up that can help you translate your expo leads into franchise sales.
1. Plan ahead of the event:
Prior to the expo, sit down with your team who are entitled to attend the expo and formulate a well thought-out plan for post-show activities. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect, and what is expected of them upon return.
Hopefully, you have announce, inform and advertise your presence at the Trade Shows in advance to generate interest and traffic over the internet and print media. Doing this efficiently will give you enough prospective visitors to discuss your franchising opportunities face-to-face during the event.
2. Follow up Leads diligently:
Make a formal and defined follow-up process for your Expo teams. For example, ensure that all leads are followed up with no later than three to five days after the expo ended. Score or rank your leads based on defined criteria: the level of interest, expected time frame of purchase, or in some cases, number of franchise units or territories they desire to obtain a clearer picture of your leads statuses. Assign the right franchise sales or franchise development team member to get on top of those leads immediately.
To avoid common issues like continuous piling up of work at your desks, it’s a good idea to make sure that those who are attending the show have reliable backup to take care of immediate matter that occur during their absence, thus reducing their workload upon return. This may not sound very practical for most organizations, so, another alternative would be to set aside break times during the show for the sales team to check and return e-mails and voicemails, talk to staff and get caught up on office activities so they don’t feel so out of touch and overwhelmed after the show. This will permit them to focus on the crucial task of tending to all of the qualified leads secured at the exhibition.
3. Don’t Lose Track
In addition to having a defined system set up for following up on leads after a show, there should also be a process to keep track of the progress of leads as times goes on. While most franchisors have a lead-tracking system in place, it’s important to make sure the leads can be easily traced back to the expo and a report can be generated to calculate the ROI of the event.
Keep in mind that after attending an expo, most prospects will take the easy way out getting into business with the franchisor that appears to be genuinely interested in them and disregard the ones that were sloppy in following up. The key is to keep them updated with the next steps in the process of franchise sales and make sure they received their requested information following the meeting.
4. Seize the Moment
According to the CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research), more than 54 percent of all trade show attendees travel more than 400 miles to an event. To optimize on this opportunity, franchisors can set up personal meetings with prospects at local offices (franchisee locations if possible) during or immediately following the event while there is interest. This means that there are greater chances for individual follow up and at the same time franchisors gets to meet their franchisee. However, if this is not the case, exhibitors can take advantage of online platforms, Skype for instance, to meet with qualified investors after a show. Forbes study reveals that 60 percent of business executives utilize virtual meeting frequently since it spares them time, minimize expenses and provides location flexibility.
Franchise sales process today is much more sophisticated than before. The internet leads generation accounts for more than 70 percent of all franchise leads sources with public relations, print advertising, direct mail and referrals generating much of the remainder. However, trade shows and expos remain as relevant today as they did during their heyday for many franchise business.
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