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Discovery Day, also known as “Meet the Team Day,” is one of the final steps in the franchise investigative process. In pre-Covid times, it was a guaranteed face-to-face encounter, usually at the corporate headquarters, between the franchisor and (prospective) franchisee. For some brands, it still is, but more than a few franchisors have gone to virtual summits to be on the safe side. Sometimes also referred to as Confirmation Day or Hospitality Day, it’s a chance for both sides of the franchising equation to size one another up. The franchisee is there to ask, “Do I really want to own and operate this brand’s business?” And the franchisor host is there to ask, “Do I really want this individual to become a representative of my brand?”
To give you a primer on what to expect should you ever attend one of your own, here are six tips to prep for your Discovery Day.
1. Dress for success
First impressions are invaluable, and you’ll want to make a good one if you’re preparing to head off to a Discovery Day of your own. Think of it as an all-day, in-person job interview. This is not the time to throw on a zip-up hoodie and a pair of sneakers. It never hurts to ask how you should dress, but your minimum standard should be business casual. Footwear should be comfortable for walking, as you’ll likely be taking a tour or two. Discovery Days are typically a family affair, so significant others are almost always included.
2. Travel light
Your travel arrangements will be an important part of this journey. The franchisor host should work with you on preferences, so pick flight times that will give you a convenient period for getting to and from the airport. Don’t overpack, as Discovery Days are usually just that — a day or so at the franchisor’s corporate headquarters.
3. Watch your mouth (and your opinions, too)
What’s most important at a Discovery Day is getting a feel for one another. Both sides want to know if this arrangement is going to be a fit or not. The initial time onsite is typically spent having a relaxed and fun conversation in which both sides will get to share their story. Remember, the day will have a job interview feel to it, so please watch what you say and keep any controversial opinions to yourself. Even if you’re convinced you’ve seen a UFO before, it’s probably best to save that story for another setting. The same goes for inappropriate jokes and anything more than a mild discussion about politics or religion.
4. Break out your notebook
A great deal about Discovery Day will be about information. You can expect to see a visual presentation or two and you’ll likely learn a few new things along the way. Be prepared, bring your notebook with you and take ample notes. If anything is presented that you don’t understand, jot down a question to ask at the next available opportunity. Above all, stay alert and pay attention to everything that is presented to you. Franchisors spend time, effort and money to court you on Discovery Day. Act accordingly.
5. Avoid getting hot-boxed
Some prospective franchisees describe their Discovery Days as a high-pressure sales situation. By their very nature, they are. If the franchisor senses a fit with you, they’re going to want to close the deal and offer you the chance to become their newest franchisee. You don’t owe them an answer on the spot, regardless of how well your Discovery Day has gone. It’s good form to “sleep on it,” even if you’re sure you’ll accept. This is still a big decision to make. Keep the day’s presentations in mind and consider any new information you’ve processed. Get back to your own environment and talk things out with your family and your professional counsel. If everything still looks good, then you can sign your name on the dotted line of the franchise agreement.
6. Be gracious and express your thanks
Once Discovery Day has concluded, be sure to follow up with each member of the corporate team that hosted you. Just as with any job interview, you’ll want to thank them for their time. The brand’s team likely spent a good deal of time and effort to impress you, as that’s their primary role at Discovery Day. Most end up with the prospective franchisee getting awarded a unit. But if you have your doubts, be gracious if you feel you must decline their offer to award you a franchise.
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