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Why Franchise Expo South Should be Part of Your Company’s Recruitment Strategy

Face-to-face networking remains one of the most effective franchise recruitment tactics.

Cultivating a highly successful, dedicated network of franchisees is critical to the success and growth of any franchise business. As more companies compete for qualified leads, having a well-developed franchise recruitment strategy in place is more important now than ever.
From defining growth markets to creating a compelling sales message, franchisors are constantly looking for new ways to engage prospects and drive franchise sales results. The most effective brands use a diversified franchise development program to identify and recruit quality leads. Although search engine optimization and targeted online advertising may help increase a brand’s website traffic, face-to-face networking remains one of the most effective franchise recruitment tactics that continues to turn quality leads into solid business relationships.

Bringing Franchise Expo South to Houston

As the economy continues to show promising signs of recovery, the franchise industry welcomes the return of the eighth annual Franchise Expo South. For the first time since its inception, the largest franchise expo in the South will now open its doors to Houston’s vibrant business climate. From Feb. 6-8, thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners will head to the Reliant Center to meet face to face with hundreds of today’s leading franchise concepts encompassing a variety of industries and investment levels. This year’s Expo promises to offer even more opportunities to entrepreneurs, while continuing to serve as the international gateway for franchise development in Latin America.

For the first time since its inception, the largest franchise expo in the South will now open its doors to Houston’s vibrant business climate.

Why the move? Over the past several years, Houston has garnered a reputation for being one of the best cities in America for business, leading the way in job creation and economic growth. In addition, Houston’s business-friendly policies have managed to attract both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike. Houston is also the second fastest-growing city in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Seeking Brand Exposure

Many franchisors, like Rhonda McGrew, manager of franchise development for Papa Murphy’s International, are looking forward to even more brand exposure during the upcoming event in Houston. The company has successfully signed deals with new franchisees as a result of its previous trade show participation and plans to further drive development throughout the Southwest.

“We have been participating at the expos for many years because the franchise industry has been well represented in each respective market,” said McGrew. “Franchise Expo South is a great way for us to showcase our brand to serious investors and with the move to Houston, we can now focus our attention on building the brand’s presence in the region.”

East Coast Wings & Grill is another concept that recognizes the value of in-person meetings for driving franchise sales. As a fast-growing casual, chicken- wing franchise with locations across the Southwest, its executive team looks forward to meeting with qualified prospects to drive expansion. Although the company has attended previous expos, this will be its first time as an exhibitor at Franchise Expo South.

“Houston will bring a diverse group of entrepreneurs to the expo that will allow us to further establish and expand our brand’s footprint in Texas and its surrounding markets,” said Dan Collins, CFE, senior vice president of brand development for East Coast Wings & Grill. “You can always start to build a relationship with a prospect over the phone and Internet; however, face-to-face networking has always been the best approach for me to close deals with the best franchisees.”

Building brand awareness is another reason why regional and national franchisors incorporate trade shows such as Franchise Expo South into their annual recruitment strategies. Bruce Evans, vice president of franchise sales for Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, plans to maximize the award-winning sandwich brand’s visibility in Texas and the Southwest.

“Finding and recruiting qualified leads is the first step in growing a franchise,” said Evans. “In today’s economy, franchisors need to consider every resource available when planning a recruitment strategy. Franchise webinars, advertising and sponsorships are all important components, but the power of face-to-face networking should never be discounted from the mix. We’ve seen the expo deliver results for our brand, which is one of the reasons why we choose to exhibit each year.”

Joel Goldstein is group marketing director for MFV Expositions.

Joel Goldstein is group marketing director for MFV Expositions.

Burger 21, a new franchise founded by the owners of The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., has exhibited at Franchise Expo South since the company began franchising in 2011. In addition to finding new qualified prospects at the expos, the emerging concept has leveraged its existing database of leads as an opportunity to build relationships and sign deals within the region.

“This will be our third year exhibiting at Franchise Expo South and we look forward to meeting even more prospects in one of our many growth markets,” said Dan Stone, CFE, vice president of franchise development for Front Burner Brands, management company for Burger 21. “Whether meeting a new prospect or an existing lead for the first time, face-to-face interaction at trade shows has not only put a face to the brand, it has helped us build relationships and ultimately close deals.”

While franchisors may each have a different franchise recruitment strategy outlined for the year, most would agree that the power of face-to-face conversations with a potential buyer is key for driving franchise sales. We hope that you’ll make Franchise Expo South a part of your franchise recruitment strategy and join us for the show’s debut in Houston.

Joel Goldstein is group marketing director for MFV Expositions. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org/Home/ via the directory. For more information, visit www.franchiseexposouth.com or call 201-881-1666.

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