Looking at any franchise requires following a process, partly as it is the most efficient way for you to learn about the franchise offering but it also gives the franchisor the opportunity to get to know how you onboard information and if you can follow an established system. The last step in that process before you know if you have been approved is often what is known in the industry as “Discovery Day”.
Modern technology has changed the investigation process franchise companies used in the past where franchise expos and face to face meetings have largely been replaced by pre-recorded videos, webinars and conference calls.
While Discovery Days (DDays) have long been an important part of the process they are ultra-critical for both parties now. For the candidate it is the opportunity to get those final questions answered, meet the team and see any technology or behind the scenes experiences that would make a decision to accept an offer if one is to be made.
For the franchisor it is the face to face opportunity to try to measure the potential success of a candidate. Remember, their ultimate goal is to get their franchise licenses into the hands of people that can be long term successes with the brand, not just buy the franchise.
In preparation for discovery day you should do a full personal inventory of the questions you have gotten answered to that point in the process, how complete those answers are in your mind and any clarifications you need to be made. Then put together a list of any unanswered questions that you want to get clarity on. That list should be sent to your development contact before DDay in case there is any unique info, opportunities or team members they can have lined up for your visit.
If you are working with someone like me then you can work with them to prepare for an informative and successful visit.
We are seeing a growing trend of group discovery days, especially on popular and high selling brands. While I understand why these are needed I always prefer sending candidates to one on one DDay where they are available. The largest of these group DDays can approach 100 candidate groups, but most will run 10 to 30 candidate groups and they may only do one DDay per month.
You will want to try to work your schedule to try to make the first available DDay you can get to, the territory you want is for sale to the first qualified and approved buyer. It has happened more than once that one of our candidates put off their DDay visit until one the following month then a candidate that went earlier purchased their territory. It would be very rare for a franchisor to hold territory for a candidate that had not been to DDay yet.
What is DDay?
DDay is not vacation. You should not plan on seeing the sights, friends or family during the scheduled DDay events. This includes any meals or other social outings the franchisor schedules, those are important opportunities for the franchisor to get to know you as well.
DDay is not a party. At any planned social events remember that you are on stage and this is your approval process. Yes, the perfect candidate can lose the opportunity to buy a franchise by being the “life of the party”.
DDay is not the place to turn off your “edit button”. Look at DDay somewhat like you would a job interview. Of course, the outcome is much better than just landing a job, but think of the conversation you have in that job interview. You need to convey the real you but not get so comfortable that you make comments that might paint the wrong picture of you or how you would run your business and manage your team.
DDay is not all about you. While they want to get you the rest of the information you will need, the franchisor has to get their questions about you answered before they can offer you the opportunity to become a franchisee. Make sure that you are spending time with the key executives, letting them get to know you and learn what you bring to the business.
DDay starts when you meet the first team member, that could be the person picking you up at the airport and ends when you say goodbye to the last person at the end of the visit. If you have a rough flight in just remember when you meet the first team member that they are already in evaluation mode so put on a smile and put the flight behind you.
You can get your list completed and help the franchisor get theirs filled in to. The goal is to first position yourself to be approved then you get to decide if you want to accept.
What is your success story? Let’s go find it!
George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both start-up and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution. Contact the Franchising USA Expert George’s Hotline 703-424-2980.