Re-Caps the IFA Annual Convention 2015

By March 11, 2015

This year’s IFA annual convention 2015 brought franchise professionals together from 49 different countries from every industry to network, learn best practices and learn about advocacy. It was filled with guest speakers, awards and educational sessions, round table discussions, and summits that focused on topics such as franchise sales, operations and the future of franchising.

A veteran IFA convention attendee, Matt Bogart, Business Developer for, shares his summary of the three-day event:

 Top Six Take-Aways

 A New Wave of Researching

With platforms and modes of communication getting more diverse, potential business owners are more independent than they used to be. To use the car buying experience as an example, a decade ago, people would travel to a handful of car dealerships, talk to the sales staff and go on multiple test drives before coming to a decision about what car they would buy. Today, consumers know the invoice price, the car options and availability before they even visit a dealership. There is less human interaction and more research done beforehand.

The same holds true for franchise buyers. While there are still prospects who want human interaction quickly, these days more seek to avoid “commission-breath” sales people. They want to get their hands on as much information as possible, and therefore should have access to that information.

Information Overload

Currently, there is a philosophy to provide as much information as possible to millennials who can retrieve information 24/7 and to move away from the old school train of thought – simply to create interest to generate an inquiry. “How do I get people interested so I can talk to them?”

The new school gives easy access to transparent information and provides almost egregious amounts of it. But who says just because someone can access information they should get it all at once?

Bogart comments, “The problem with providing information in excess is that it’s one-sided. No one is there to talk to that person about what it all means, and why it is there.“ Bogart explains, “If a potential buyer gets ahold of a company’s FDD (franchise disclosure document), it is filled with rules and regulations and enough legal speak in there it might scare away a candidate. But, if you have a conversation about how those elements protect the brand and maintain consistency, there is less likelihood of that happening.”

Exciting New Careers in Franchising

Franchise professionals are expanding, evolving and getting more specific in their areas of expertise. More careers have been developed in the franchising world such as franchisee recruitment specialists; franchise lead generation experts and franchisee/franchisor relationship counselors. In addition, the extensive use of social media has created the need for social media experts.

Communicating on all Platforms and Utilizing Technology

The 1-800 number is making a comeback.

Now that more than 60% of everyone who visits franchise recruiting websites is on a mobile device, the number of people choosing to opt in from a phone number is rising. So be sure that those phone directories are up for the task and direct callers to the right contact.

Incorporating Texting into Mode of Communication

Danielle Wright of College Hunks Hauling Junk shared that she uses Google Voice to text leads as part of her recruiting process; she calls, leaves a voicemail, sends an email, texts and then calls again. She does this within the first 30 minutes after receiving the lead and, as a result, has doubled her contact rate.

Franchisors Targeting More Multi-Unit Franchisees

Franchisors are thinking about targeting more professionals with experience in business such as lawyers, previous business owners and corporate managers to recruit them as multi-unit owners rather than single unit owners, and it makes sense. It’s a lot easier to manage three people than it is ten.

Don’t Ignore the Human Element

“At the end of the day, human interaction, trust and the rapport you build between a buyer and a seller is critical,” summarizes Bogart. He expands, “Fancy websites and innovative technology don’t award franchises, people do.”
There is a need to innovate faster and move with more speed to keep up with technology and the way people research and buy franchises, but let’s not forget the human element as we keep up with the Jones so to speak.

About the IFA

Since 1960, the International Franchise Association (IFA) has helped to protect, promote and enhance franchising. It does this through government relations and public policy, media relations and continuous educational programs. Members of the organization include franchisees, franchisors and suppliers to the franchise industry.


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