Prospecting Franchisees: Brand Transparency Is Key

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As the director of business development, I spend a lot of time researching and contacting companies. One of the industries that our agency has a solid track record with is franchising. As such, I spend a lot of my time calling on various franchise organizations. This allows me to get a glimpse of what franchisors, in general, are struggling with.

One of the areas that franchisors are consistently looking to improve is attracting qualified franchisee leads. But what I don’t always see is the franchisor marketing their value proposition in a way that clearly resonates with their target audience; most of the time, they make it too difficult to obtain meaningful information. It’s no wonder that their efforts aren’t paying off—it’s a lot of fluff and not enough meat.

In today’s world, people expect to obtain information quickly and in a way that connects with them. They don’t want to jump through hoops and they certainly don’t want to speak to someone within your organization until they are ready.

My advice to franchisors that find themselves in this position is to:

  • Know the value proposition of their brand. Oftentimes, a good starting place is conducting research with your existing franchise owners. What was important to them in selecting a franchise? What industries did they look into? What other companies did they research before making a decision? What factors were most important in making this decision?
  • Speak about their brand in a clear and meaningful way. They need to stop talking in generic terms that do not set them apart from their competitors.
  • Determine how effective their website is in attracting qualified leads. Remember, people want accessible information. They want transparency. The company website is one of the most important research tools that a potential prospect will use to check out a franchise organization, gather information and move them along in the purchasing cycle. The franchisor’s website needs to paint a picture of why the franchise is successful. It needs to contain information of value. It needs to clearly convey what the franchisor does to support the franchisees. The website needs to be a tool that enables the prospect to research the company from afar. If the website is doing its job, it will provoke them to contact the franchisor and will weed out many tire kickers.

So, if you’re a franchisor, the next time you ask yourself why you aren’t receiving enough franchise prospects or the quality of them seems to be subpar, my advice to you is to slow down, take a look at your brand and how you’re presenting it. Optimizing your communication touch points for your prospects is a tough and evolving job, but it’s worth it in the end.

Photo Credit: Flickr’s Bruno Covas

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