Making Discovery Days Virtual: 3 Critical Tips for Success

In the franchise world, discovery days are critical to evaluating potential franchisee candidates. These events give you the opportunity to qualify each prospect, help him or her learn more about the business, and make a good impression — ultimately driving a final sales decision: Will you both agree to seal the deal?

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced franchises to change the format of their discovery days. What was once an in-person event that allowed both parties to make a personal connection is now, more often than not, a virtual event.

Without the events of an on-site discovery day, such as a tour of the home office and casual meals, it can be challenging to create a high level of connection. To ensure you’re still engaging prospects and closing deals, you need to make a few critical adjustments when switching from an in-person to virtual format. Here are the three main considerations to keep in mind.

1. Strategy

While the overall strategy for a virtual discovery day will likely be the same as an in-person event — namely, moving the candidate along in the sales process — there are some additional strategic aspects you will need to reevaluate. For example, during an in-person discovery day, potential franchisees would likely have both scheduled and organic opportunities to meet with executives on a one-on-one basis. For a virtual event, you will need to be more deliberate about setting up those meetings in 20- to 30-minute blocks.

2. Content

When hosting a virtual event, you may assume that the content can be the same as what you would have presented in person. However, there are important differences about how people consume online and video content that may require some changes to your programming. For example, attendees have a lower tolerance for listening to someone speak when that speaker isn’t physically in the same room as them.

To get your message across effectively, you need to rethink both your content and how you deliver it. That could mean shortening your messages, splitting long sessions into more concise breakouts, or supplementing with more comprehensive information after the virtual event.

3. Logistics

The logistics of hosting a virtual discovery day will of course look very different from conducting an in-person event. Most obviously, you will need to select and use a video conferencing platform, like Zoom. But that’s only the beginning; ahead of the virtual event, you’ll need to make sure you understand how to use all the platform’s features, including video, document sharing, and screen sharing. You should also understand how to conduct virtual Q&As and accommodate large groups. Ultimately, you should have a thorough understanding of your technology prior to the virtual discovery day to minimize the potential for any glitches or issues.

Revamping your discovery days into virtual discovery days can seem less effective than in-person events. But with the right adjustments, you can keep your prospects engaged throughout the process and continue to close deals — even in times of uncertainty.

For more tips on adjusting your strategy, content, and logistics to make your virtual discovery days as effective as possible, get our Virtual Discovery Days: A Field Guide.

In it, you’ll learn:

  • What types of leads to focus on
  • How to provide a sense of intimacy and encourage engagement, even without being face to face
  • Tips for using technology most effectively
  • How to make your event unique, fun, and on-brand