I am, of course, referring to Franchise Exhibitions, with the biggest in the UK at Birmingham NEC coming up this week, Friday and Saturday 2nd and 3rd October.
I have to say that I am completely in the middle on this one and for a whole range of reasons.
Let’s start with the pros…
I have been to exhibitions (notably the Paris Franchise Expo) that have been brilliant. Franchisors had, without fail, superb stands designed to attract potential franchisees and the place was jammed to the rafters with people looking to start their own business.
There were no concessions on the ticket price and everyone at the place had paid €15 to get in – about £10 at the time.
Franchisors, as you walked around the exhibition were responsive, delighted to talk and, above all, followed up leads very quickly – with ‘phone calls often being received by our fellow exhibition goers to book them in for appointments on the way home from the show.
I’ve also been to some pretty dire exhibitions, mostly here in the UK.
They are often full of people (particularly on the Saturday) who are on a day out with no real interest in franchising, the stands are not as well prepared and there just isn’t the atmosphere and energy of other shows.
What’s the difference?
I think it’s because the company who puts these exhibitions together has got the model the wrong way round. They charge a lot for the exhibition space, which means that many franchisors don’t have the funds to create really interesting and innovative displays, and they don’t charge enough for entry, which means that not enough visitors are really serious about business.
But, if I was a franchisor, would I exhibit?
No. I can buy an awful lot of webspace for the same money.
If I was exhibiting I would make sure I tipped the scales in my favour by making sure I had the right staff on the stand, that I got out there and talked to as many people as possible, that I had a proper process for capturing potential franchisee details and that I had the capability to follow up leads within twenty four hours.
Will I be at the exhibition this week?