Attending IFA 2017

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In early February, Paul and I attended the annual IFA (International Franchise Association) convention. As far as conventions go, this one was both well organized and well attended. IFA reported that a combined 4,000 Franchisees, Franchisors, and Suppliers were in attendance.


The mornings were filled with informative sessions on franchise trends, political climates, profitability, and best practices.  The afternoons consisted of the exhibit halls and impromptu meetings with industry colleagues. The networking opportunities were abundant. Many representatives on the Franchisor side were decision makers at the C-Suite level.

IFA 2017 General Session - Photo By Tiffany Toliver IFA 2017 General Session – Photo By Tiffany Toliver

Informational Sessions

I always enjoy attending the informational sessions. And this year I chose to attend the ‘Franchise Development / Sales’ session. This session consisted of a panel of Franchisors from several prominent companies. They each had 5 – 10 minutes to discuss lead generation, qualifying criteria, and how they managed their internal Development Teams. From a Franchisee’s point of view, the biggest takeaway from this session was understanding how Franchisors qualify you as partners. It’s not a simple financial hurdle. Franchisors are also assessing your personality type, your job history, why you are interested in franchising and why you are interested in their brand specifically. They want you to be vested in the brands’ future.

The session went into detail about how to find these folks, and as Paul alluded to in his video ‘How to Search for a Franchised Concept’, it’s not all from digital portals. Franchisors are savvy about characteristics associated with Millennial, Gen-X, and Baby-Boomer prospects.

Another takeaway is that with such immediate accessibility to information out there on the web, Franchisors expect Franchise prospects to show up with a decent amount of brand knowledge and knowledge about Franchising in general.

Be sure to do the appropriate amount of Due Diligence before you attend Discovery Day; the executives you’ll be meeting at Discovery Day are investing their time in interviewing you and they don’t want to have to start at square one with questions like ‘what exactly is franchising’ or ‘can I make a small change to the brand standard paint colors’.

For more information on the IFA 2017 Convention, visit