Every industry has had to adjust to COVID-19, and the franchise sector is no exception. Discovery days are a perfect example: Whereas franchisors could once count on important face-to-face time with prospects, today that’s not a given. As a result, franchise sales and development experts have had to quickly figure out ways to safely but more deeply educate qualified candidates about their investment opportunity. Enter virtual discovery days. For many franchisors, the process of selling a franchise has moved almost entirely to the screen, and we believe it’s a trend that’s not going away anytime soon. Here, we’ll take a look at why we believe virtual discovery days are here to stay, and how IDS can help you leverage them.
There is nothing wrong with the old way of doing things, but if you think about it, almost every element of our society has evolved with the introduction of technology. Digital innovation has helped us adapt, especially during times of crisis. Virtual discovery days might not have been a forecasted trend in franchising; however, this new way of onboarding prospects could stick, and for good reasons. In April, Ray Titus, founder of United Franchise Group, hosted a webinar on the subject, and spoke specifically about how his team has embraced the virtual trend. Titus has been in the franchise industry since the birth and rapid expansion of Signarama in 1987.
“For 35 years, I’ve been on stages promoting that everyone gets face-to-face, and now nobody can get face-to-face…We have had no choice, but we have embraced this. So far, it has been incredible for us to go from those face-to-face discovery day tours to the virtual,” Titus said.
Another trend that franchisors are starting to notice is that video calls facilitate an improved conversation with prospects. Why is that?
Well, when candidates visit a franchisor’s headquarters in person, they are primarily there to learn. That means more of the talking is done by the franchise sales and development team rather than the candidate. Virtual discovery days have taken off in part because a conference call environment lends itself to more back-and-forth conversation. When Tim Arpin, VP of Franchise Recruitment for Scooter’s Coffee, was asked about this theory, he supported it, saying:
“One of the really interesting things that happened yesterday (referring to a recent virtual discovery day) was that there was space and opportunity for people to ask so many great questions. Often, when you’re in a live setting, maybe one or two people will dominate the conversation. It was so much more democratic than that. The volume of wonderful questions we got from the prospective franchisees was astounding, and we were all really impressed and pleased with it.”
Finally, a benefit that franchisors have mentioned across all industries is how this transition to virtual has streamlined the entire process of selling a franchise. Rather than book a flight, reserve a hotel room, and plan a week of travel, all prospects have to do now is hop on their laptop. Titus spoke about how reaching this new age of convenience has helped his team connect with prospects all over the country.
“We have a greater opportunity with electronic validation than we did face-to-face because it was really all done regionally. My salesman in Denver, before the (virtual) discovery day tour, was taking people locally to talk to franchisees in Denver. Now on the screen, we can go anywhere,” said Titus.
If you need more attention directed toward your franchise sales, IDS can make the process of selling a franchise more streamlined and straightforward. Our team always has its finger on the pulse of industry trends, like virtual discover days, so you can be sure we’re employing the most effective digital marketing techniques available. Vetting prospects and nurturing them is an essential part of franchise sales and development, and when you bring on IDS to help you in these efforts, you can be sure the growth of your business is our number one priority.
If you’re interested in bringing on IDS for our franchise sales and development services, or for any other of our offerings, please give us a call today.