Franchise meetings can be just as nerve-wracking as standard job interviews; you need to be a convincing entrepreneur, investor, businessperson, leader and brand ambassador to succeed in becoming a franchisee. Here’s how to make a good impression when meeting a franchisor for the first time.
Preparing for a franchisor meeting involves more than just reading up on the business and perfecting your answers to possible interview questions. You need to know how to make a good first impression.
Some studies have shown it takes just a tenth of a second to form an opinion of someone and how trustworthy, promiscuous and powerful they are. Others say it takes up to a minute, but most agree people develop a fairly clear picture of a person within a matter of seconds.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do when meeting a franchisor to boost your chances of making a good first impression.
How to impress a franchisor during your meeting
1. Dress smartly
Your appearance will be the first thing the franchisor notices about you, so make sure it’s smart. No matter how laidback the franchise’s dress code appears to be, make the effort to prepare, wash and iron a professional outfit. When you arrive, check you’re still looking sharp. Take a look at your clothes, hair and teeth to save yourself embarrassing realisations later on.
Even if you’re meeting a franchisor via an online video call, you should still dress smartly. After all, it will help you get into the working mindset.
2. Arrive on time
If you’re late, you’ll create a poor first impression before you even arrive. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready at home and then travel. You should aim to arrive around five to 10 minutes early to demonstrate your time management skills.
If you encounter an unavoidable problem and realise you’re going to be late, don’t panic. Just let the franchisor know as soon as possible and calmly make your way to the meeting. If they’re reasonable, they’ll understand and appreciate your clear and professional communications.
3. Respect the receptionist
As you arrive at the building, try to keep a clear head. If there’s a receptionist, greet them warmly and give them your full attention as you sign in. Some franchisors ask their staff to report back on candidates’ attitudes, so you want them to notice your friendly and confident approach.
This tip goes for all employees within the franchise. Treat them as your future colleagues and start nurturing professional relationships with them when you first meet.
4. Make the first move
When meeting a franchisor for the first time, you can demonstrate your confident and proactive nature by initiating the introduction process. By approaching with an outstretched hand ready for a handshake and reminding them of your name, you show you’re in control of the situation.
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Smiling may not come naturally when meeting a franchisor for a business discussion, but it can help you present yourself as a cooperative, confident entrepreneur. With a positive attitude, you can also show yourself to be approachable and down-to-earth.
All these qualities are important in any business owner, particularly if you’re planning to build a team of employees.
When you meet someone new, be the first to extend your hand, smile, introduce yourself and maintain eye contact. This shows you care, you are interested and you are happy to invite this person into your world. Repeat their name and ask for clarification if you are unsure of pronunciation.
—Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson, Career & Professional Development Coordinator
6. Act professionally
This point shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it’s worth reiterating. Avoid using inappropriate language and slang, swearing or raising potentially offensive topics. While you should try to come across as confident and friendly, it’s important not to appear too familiar or informal.
In general, it’s best to keep the conversation relevant to the investment opportunity and avoid straying too far away from business-related topics.
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7. Put your phone away
It might be second nature to drop your phone on the table next to you, but this can give the wrong impression to a potential business partner. They may think you want to be able to check your messages and notifications at a moment’s notice.
Show the franchisor you’re giving them your full attention by keeping your phone in your pocket or bag - and putting it on ‘silent’, of course.
8. Think about your posture
Our posture and body language can have a huge impact on the way people perceive us. Without knowing it, we may be revealing feelings of nervousness, uneasiness or even boredom.
So, sit up straight, look the franchisor in the eyes and try to lean forward as opposed to back throughout the meeting. If you tend to fidget, keep your hands interlocked and take a sip of water when you want to move.
9. Ask questions
Always try to raise a couple of questions at the end of a franchisor meeting to demonstrate your interest in the opportunity. But always choose your topics wisely in order to avoid revealing a lack of knowledge about the basic aspects of the franchise opportunity. Asking about areas you could have easily researched online probably won’t impress the franchisor.
If you don’t have any specific questions, you could delve deeper into some of the subjects you’ve already discussed. Ask about the specifics of the training programme, financing options or existing franchisees’ revenue figures, for instance.
10. Be authentic
Although you probably want to show yourself in the best possible light, authenticity is key. It’s tempting to exaggerate your strengths and experiences, but franchisors can usually see through embellished stories. Stick to the truth and try to avoid putting on a persona.
You don’t have to present yourself as the perfect business owner, with an immaculate appearance, unshakeable confidence and decades of experience. Instead, find the line between presenting yourself well and going over the top.
How to prepare for a franchisor meeting
We’ve highlighted the steps involved in making a good first impression when meeting a franchisor, but you can find out more about how to prepare for the big day. Our dedicated guide covers everything from attending networking events to delivering perfect responses to franchisor questions.
For other business guides, see our article catalogue or use the search box.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©