If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the world we know has changed and you better be ready to do business differently. The same holds true in the franchise world.
More than ever, workers are ditching their former digs and severing ties to the corporate world in search of the freedom to determine their own future and be their own boss. There are more than 3,500 franchises out there to choose from, and to stand out, you need to have your ducks in a row. These buyers are savvy, educated, and different from buyers of years past.
What does that mean from the franchisor’s perspective? A lot. It means a change of perspective, more education and increased patience. But with some tweaks to your business strategy, you can capitalize on the robust franchisee market.
Below are seven steps to get yourself and your company ready to pursue the incoming leads:
- Know Your Franchise Sales Process
- Know Your Data Points
- Know the Target Audience
- Determine What Makes a Great Franchisee
- Nurture Potential Buyers and Create a Plan
- Participate in Expos and Trade Shows
- Have a Quality and Diverse PR Strategy
Know Your Franchise Sales Process
If you want to sell more franchises, you must know your process. How have sales been handled in the past? Do you know what attracted your current franchise owners when they began? What benefits do you offer? Look at the support systems you offer – marketing, public relations, human resources, training programs and supply chain – and determine what sets you apart. Capitalize on your benefits to potential franchisees to make an investment in your company more attractive.
Know Your Data Points
Data is key in today’s market. But to use it effectively, you need to know what you’re reading and how to interpret it effectively.
Before delving into the data, ask yourself several questions: What did it cost before to sell a franchise? Do you know your ROI lead data?
Some of these might seem like absurdly basic questions, but a lot of companies do not know the answers. For others, if they do have the data, they don’t know how to read it or what to compare it to for meaningful analysis. Discuss this information with your advertising and marketing agency. When completed, understood, and applied correctly, it can provide valuable insight to the company.
Know the Target Audience
Do you already have a detailed view of your potential audience? Have you developed the persona you need to effectively target new business owners?
Some executives might say they know to target investors making more than $250,000 and have media interests aligned with publications like Bloomberg. But there may be more detail than that.
What are the behaviors, media preferences and specific demographics of the investor you want to attract? Dig into the data and bring out a detailed version of your target audience.
Determine What Makes a Great Franchisee
You’re already in the business of selling franchises, but do you know what makes your best performing locations successful? This is where franchisors need to talk to the owners. Know the community they serve. What resonates in one place may not in another. But there could be something that could be replicated in other ways that’s universal to your brand and that can provide something to capitalize upon.
Nurture Potential Franchise Buyers and Create a Plan
In today’s market, buying a franchise is not a rushed process. Settle in and prepare to be patient. Today’s buyers are savvy and are taking the time to research before making an investment.
Take the time to engage with them. Give them pieces of information relative to what they are engaged with on your website.
If they are interested in your numbers and you give them, say, anecdotal pretty stats versus something that is more meaningful – like performance – you aren’t engaging with them on what they really want.
This is where more patience is needed. Don’t try to get them on the phone right away. Most don’t want to talk to you at this point and they prefer to do their own research. Make sure you’re providing the relevant information through different channels like lead nurturing, webinars, downloads, lead magnets, videos and franchisee testimonials.
Participate in Expos and Trade Shows
Face-to-face meetings with potential buyers are good. But you don’t want to scare anyone off. Finding relevant places, like expos and trade shows, can be helpful to have a presence, but you must balance being too pushy.
Your potential investors aren’t coming to these events to be sold. Instead, use this time to let them approach you, provide them with education materials and begin building a relationship that has the potential for future business.
Have a Quality and Diverse PR Strategy
Perception is everything, and in today’s visual world, a robust PR strategy is a must for any organization that aims to break through the noise of the digital world. This means articles, news releases, content, pitching story ideas, thought leadership and key media placements are vital.
A strong PR strategy, which is significantly different than marketing or advertising, gives your brand increased credibility, educational value, online traffic, and a more positive public image. It can also lead to a higher quality of lead generation.
Keep in mind, this process also takes time. But when done right and understood correctly, it is an invaluable tool in growing your company and its reputation.