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10 Steps To Winning a Discovery Day

Creating a personalized, friendly, educational experience is critical to pulling off a high-quality discovery day. From a franchise executive, here are ten steps to win the day.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
Updated 10:10AM 07/21/22

Discovery days are an essential part of the franchising process. They allow prospective franchisees to gather additional information and meet with the team while creating space for the franchisor’s leaders to get to know candidates better.

Andrew Titus, executive vice president of development at United Franchise Group, shares his top 10 steps to executing a winning discovery day.

  1. Preparation Before the Discovery Day

Titus explained that candidates will often arrive on discovery day with little to no insight into what will be going on.

“Are you preparing your candidate for discovery day? It is very important to meet with your candidate beforehand and tell them who they will be meeting with and set expectations,” he added. “Have them prepare questions for the team and ask them what they are looking forward to learning most about.”

Providing a candidate with this opportunity communicates interest in their needs. It creates the space for everyone to come prepared, ready to truly discover the brand and address any outstanding curiosities.

  1. Evaluate Your Team

Ensuring that the correct people are at discovery day is critical. Even some of the best employees or franchisees may not do well in the discovery day environment.

“Are the right people on your team speaking to the prospect?” Titus asked. “You want to spend some time evaluating your team to make sure the right people are on the discovery day.”

  1. Shadow Your Team

“See what your team says on a discovery day. They may be saying things that you don’t want them to say or things that can be phrased in better ways,” Titus added.

Shadowing the team on a discovery day can provide an alternate perspective, showing the leadership team how the day may be perceived from a prospective franchisee’s point of view. After doing this, processes can be evaluated, and any necessary adjustments can be made.

  1. Qualify the Prospect

“Every prospect shouldn’t go on discovery day,” Titus explained. “A discovery day is reserved for the best of the best and should be used more as a validation tool to prospects, not a selling tool.”

Rather than looking to bring any and everyone to a discovery day, spend adequate time evaluating prospects beforehand. This ensures that the time and energy that goes into a discovery day is spent well and will benefit candidates who are truly able to succeed with the franchise.

  1. The “Wow” Factor

Your discovery day should “Wow” candidates.

“Do you give the candidate promotional items? Are there any experiences on the discovery day — hands-on working in a store or going into the kitchen of a restaurant?” Titus asked. “These things will leave an impression on your candidates.”

Sure, a discovery day should communicate the hard facts of the franchisor and franchise system, but prospective franchisees should also walk away excited about the opportunity. Focusing on the experience as a whole rather than just the selling aspect will leave prospects more excited than a simple info dump.

  1. Cater the Discovery Day to the Prospect

This aspect harkens back to the first tip — preparation. 

“If the prospect has asked more questions about marketing leading up to the discovery day, it might help to go more in-depth of the services you provide so the prospect can get their questions answered,” Titus said. “You want the candidate to leave the discovery day feeling like they accomplished what they wanted to.”

Rather than making discovery day a one-size-fits-all experience, incorporate prospect-specific information into the mandatory discovery day topics.

  1. Take the Prospect(s) To Lunch

“This is very important. Getting out of a ‘business atmosphere’ and into a more casual setting is key,” Titus explained. “The conversation at lunch shouldn’t involve much talk about this business. I like to use this time to get to know the prospects better.”

Discovery day is filled with information, business conversations and other serious topics. Transitioning to a more casual environment can better establish the comfort and relationship between the prospect and franchise leadership team, getting to know each other as people rather than just business opportunities.

“This helps to determine if they will be a good franchisee for us as well,” he added.

  1. Include Executives 

“Having an executive or president join the discovery day is very important. Candidates want to see that the leadership will be involved and personal,” Titus said.

An involved, supportive executive team is a strong selling point for many franchisors. This is the first step to demonstrating these values.

“My father, Ray Titus, joins every one of our discovery days,” Titus added. “Some days, we have eight to nine discovery days in one day. He will still take the time to introduce himself and answer questions. This goes a long way.”

  1. Do Not Follow ”ABC” or ”Always Be Closing”

Many prospective franchisees arrive at discovery days expecting a hard sell.

“Set the expectations right away that this is not a selling day,” Titus said. “This is simply a day for them to get answers to their questions and feel comfortable with the company and culture. The second you do this, they will feel much more confident and excited going into the rest of the day.”

  1. Follow Up

Don’t do it too soon, but be sure to reach back out.

“I always recommend sending a letter to the candidate thanking them for spending time with our team. Then, wait a day before calling them. Give them time to soak in the day and to debrief,” Titus said. “If you call them right away, you will come across as pushy. Give the candidate time to get their thoughts together. Lastly, give them your feedback and the team’s feedback as well. A lot of times, the candidates will want to know what you think of them!”