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NIFA Q1 Recap: From Zoomies to Master Networkers

As in-person events make a resurgence, you may be feeling a little rusty stepping back into your off-line life. Connecting in-person seems a little foreign nowadays, with our professional lives living on Zoom.

Fortunately, the NIFA hosted its quarterly event, From Zoombies to Master Networkers, focused on dusting off your networking skills to make the most of 2022 conferences and conventions.

The event included an esteemed panel of esteemed franchise leaders, who discussed the best ways to step outside our comfort zones and make the most of the opportunity to network and grow as we return to in-person gatherings this year.

The timing of this discussion is extremely fitting, with many in the industry heading to the IFA 2022 convention in the coming weeks. According to Alan Catlett, Vice President for Growth and Operations at the International Franchise Association, with just under a month until IFA, registration is looking to be in line as previous years with over 500 franchisor brands registered.

For many suppliers, franchising conventions are like a kid in the candy store, with many franchisor brands all in one place. However, it can be easy to get too salesy. That’s why Barbara Yelmene, VP of Development at Franchise Update, suggests a soft sell, with a primary focus on building relationships.

“Franchising is built on relationships, and no one wants someone hardcore selling them,” Yelmene said. “You’ll get much further prioritizing personal connections over sales.”

The key to making the most of your conference experience lies in the prep work. Before the conference takes place, look through the seminar and attendee list. As mentioned by Sheila Fischer, preplanning your itinerary will allow you to connect with the right people and productively market your brand.

Outside the conference floor, many brands and vendors will host events or dinners for the chance to interact with industry contacts on a more personal level.

“At these conferences, a prospect is not only looking at the brand but buying into you as well,” said Kevin Pietsch, National Sales Director at Franchise Times. “They’re buying into your personality, your culture and what you bring to the table. Connecting in person and outside the business setting presents the unique opportunity to brand yourself.”

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our panelists, Alan Catlett, Sheila Fischer, Kevin Pietsch and Barbara Yelmene for making this event possible. Your insights, strong connections and industry expertise fueled a valuable discussion.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend or would like to view the discussion, click here to download the video recording.

To further foster these connections and share best practices, we encourage anyone who would like to stay connected to check out our NIFA LinkedIn group.

Looking ahead, we are planning wonderful events for 2022. We encourage anyone with topic ideas and sponsorship questions for future events to reach out to Lauren Izaks directly by clicking here.

Visit www.northernilfranchise.org for more information about the organization.

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