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Houston Opens its Doors to Franchise Expo South

Houston was ranked the top job-creator among U.S. cities, which is just one of the reasons that inspired the Expo’s move.

With the New Year just around the corner, the franchise industry has been awaiting the highly anticipated return of the largest franchise expo in the South. For the first time in eight years, Franchise Expo South will take its three-day exhibition from the sunny shores of Miami Beach to the bustling city of Houston. The strategic move to Houston promises to offer even greater exposure for franchisors interested in developing across the South. According to a recent study performed by the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston was ranked the top job-creator among U.S. cities, which is just one of the reasons that inspired the Expo’s move.

From Feb. 6-9, 2014, thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners from the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean will meet face to face with hundreds of today’s leading franchise concepts to discover their path to business ownership. Both established and emerging brands will have the opportunity to highlight the key differentiators that make their concepts an attractive investment opportunity for prospective franchisees.

Showcasing Your Brand

As the economy continues to show signs of improvement, the franchise industry also has experienced steady growth. According to the International Franchise Association’s Franchise Business Index, the industry recently hit its highest level since the start of the recession. This new business reality has resulted in an increased interest by prospective entrepreneurs who are now looking to identify their ideal investment opportunity at Franchise Expo South. As a result of this increased competition, the power of face-to-face networking has never been more essential in helping to distinguish one brand from another, while establishing the foundation of the franchisor/franchisee relationship.

“We wanted to be a part of Franchise Expo South because Zaxby’s is expanding nationally and the Southern U.S. is very important to our company’s growth,” said Tray Doster, franchise development facilitator for Zaxby’s. “Zaxby’s is looking forward to Franchise Expo South because it’s a great opportunity for us to meet even more new people and showcase our brand.”

Over the years, Franchise Expo South has produced many success stories, which have continued to drive the Expo’s traffic and participation. This is one of the main reasons why Rosati’s Pizza comes back to the Expo year after year. Rosati’s, a traditional pizza franchise with restaurants throughout the Midwest, has effectively developed connections with high-quality leads while exhibiting at previous Expos.

“Through Franchise Expo South, we have been able to meet with people who are genuinely interested in becoming business owners,” said Marla Topliff, president of Rosati’s Pizza. “We’ve experienced great traffic to our booth, which has helped us to increase our brand awareness and build our franchise network. It’s also incredibly important to put a face to the name of prospects who have already expressed interest in our brand.”

Sharpening Your Recruitment Strategy

Exhibitors who have the greatest return on investment are those who do their homework prior to the start of the trade show. In addition to seeking out leads from an existing database, it is also helpful to proactively research and identify other events taking place at the Expo to uncover additional networking opportunities. ServiceMaster Clean, one of the world’s largest residential and commercial service networks, strongly believes in this approach and considers trade show meetings to be an essential part of its overall recruitment strategy.

“We’ve been an exhibitor at Franchise Expo South for many years and there has never been a more exciting time to be part of this event,” said Dave Messenger, CFE, vice president for ServiceMaster Clean. “In today’s competitive marketplace, it is important for franchisors to take advantage of all available resources not only to improve lead generation, but also to help your business stand out from the crowd.”

Once the show has come to an end, it’s critical to follow up and provide interested candidates with additional information that further supports your efforts at the Expo. Prompt outreach is a key step to successfully maximizing the time spent on the showroom floor. Keep in mind that building a relationship does not come overnight and it can take months before a franchise agreement is signed.

9Round Kick Boxing, one of the nation’s most up-and-coming kickboxing gym franchises and another successful Expo exhibitor, recognizes the importance of maintaining relationships with prospective franchisees.

“Franchising is about developing strong relationships,” said Gary Findley, director of sales for 9Round Kick Boxing. “A potential lead you met at last year’s Expo may decide to sign a franchise agreement the following year. It is just as important to keep an ongoing relationship with these individuals as it is with your existing franchise network.”

From restaurant concepts to in-home franchises and everything in between, Franchise Expo South has been designed to help establish connections and deliver results. Now, as we set our sights on Houston, we look forward to opening a new door for franchisors aiming to expand across the country and overseas. We hope that you’ll join us at the Reliant Center in Houston to experience the show for yourself.

Joel Goldstein is group marketing director of MFV Expositions. Find him at http://fransocial.franchise.org/Home/ via the directory.

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