What’s the biggest issue for franchisors the world over? Yep, it’s getting franchisees on board. But how is it that some franchises just keep powering forward, year after year, while others just tread water? We look at what can be learned from the Michael Phelps of the franchising world.
1. Create a dedicated recruitment website – but not just any dedicated recruitment website
I’ve said in maybe half a dozen articles that having your own dedicated recruitment website is de rigueur in franchising these days – but there are still loads of franchisors who are yet to cotton on, and those who have cottoned on aren’t necessarily making the most of recruitment website best practices.
We’ve put a list of these best practices together in an ebook you can download at the end of this article, but in the meantime, here’s one of the smartest ideas we’ve seen in a franchise recruitment website recently. It’s a Profit Calculator from the GoSushi franchise website which lets you calculate how much you could make from your own GoSushi franchised business.
The beauty of the Profit Calculator is that it doesn’t tell you what you will make – that’s risky, as many franchisors who’ve provided franchisees with financial forecasts have found out – but it does give you an understanding of what a “typical” franchise looks like and allows you to play around with different financial scenarios.
To find more on this and other best practices, download your free 10 Innovative Franchise Marketing Tactics You're Probably Not Using Yet eBook by clicking the box at the end of this article.
2. Tell your story
“You can’t bore people into buying from you,” advertising legend David Ogilvy once said. In his early days, Ogilvy sold expensive cookers door-to-door. He would give demonstrations, tell jokes – anything to engage people.
Advertising and most email campaigns don’t work as well as they once did because today’s potential franchise buyers demand more information than ever before. And they want more than just information – they want your story. They want to know who is in charge of your franchise, what it’s like to be a franchisee, and how it will affect their lives.
At this point, I’m going to ask you a favour. Using storytelling in selling is such as compelling subject that I’ve decided to write a whole separate article about it. But because I don’t want to interrupt your enjoyment of this story, I have added a link to the storytelling article at the end of this article. If you just can’t wait, click here.
3. Tell your story to the right audience
Master movie maker Steven Spielberg summed up the power of storytelling back in 1994:
“Once upon a time it was a small gathering of people around a fire listening to the storyteller with his tales of magic and fantasy. And now it’s the whole world.”
How do you get the whole world – or at least, everyone who may have a particular interest in your story in New Zealand – following your story? Well, believe it or not, that’s easier in this highly connected modern world than ever before. Thanks to the internet.
You may already have Facebook and LinkedIn pages but are you using them to maximum effect? According to the 2014 Franchise Development Report which surveyed 101 franchisors and about 35,000 franchisees in the United States:
- The Internet was the leading source of franchise sales in 2013, at 42 percent.
- Franchise sales generated through social media increased year-over-year by 267 percent.
- Forty percent of franchise sales through social media originated from LinkedIn.
Enough said? When you think about it, social media is all about telling stories – and you can do it using words, pictures and videos. We’ve put together an ebook 10 Innovative Franchise Marketing Tactics You're Probably Not Using Yet. You can download it for free at the end of this article.
4. Get the right people on board
“Since 2012, we’ve expanded the Jan-Pro brand internationally,” explains Dennis Thompson, the Chief Operating Officer for Jan-Pro Franchising International. “We’ve taken on several new international markets including: Peru, India, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. We’ve had some tremendous growth internationally as well as domestically, we’ve had 8-10 new domestic regional markets added on.”
These new markets may seem unconventional but it’s worth noting that many other franchises are now targeting emerging markets of Asia, the Middle East and South America. New Zealand-based franchises Esquires Coffee, New Zealand Natural and Burger Fuel have expanded into the Middle East and you’ll also find New Zealand Natural in Laos, India and Pakistan.
It is said that the key to franchising is having the right people on board, and that’s particularly true of master franchising, domestically as well as internationally.
“The success or otherwise of a new market is very much dependent on the calibre of partners you appoint,” said Chris Mason of Burger Fuel in an article in Franchise New Zealand magazine. “You have to find partners who don’t just have the money but the back end ability, the marketing, property, IT and other expertise to make it all happen.”
For another New Zealand franchise, CrestClean, the trigger for international expansion was a friendship between the franchise’s co-owner Grant McLauchlan and a young Indian couple, Ajit and Shikha Jain, who came to New Zealand and bought CrestClean’s Waikato franchise. When it came time for the Jains to return home, they talked to McLauchlan about buying a master franchise for India and have been growing the business there ever since.
Even if you already have master franchisees, area representatives and/or franchise sales people in place, how effective are they at recruiting top quality franchise candidates and avoiding costly franchisee recruitment mistakes? How effective are they at telling your brand story and moving candidates through the sales process to closing?
I’ve found in my twenty years of experience in franchising that franchises need to be sold. Not just by a compelling and highly informative recruitment website, but by people – you and your people. Franchising is about relationships. Selling is about relationships. In order to sell more franchises, you need to sell yourself, your belief in your franchise model, your vision and your story. At the end of the day, the most effective selling isn’t selling at all – it’s relationship building.
You may have been wondering why I used a photo of Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps at the head of this article. It's because the other characteristic I've found in champion sales people is the same drive to win, time and time again. One enormously successful sales person I worked with used to constantly set himself higher targets – including the target of increasing his franchise conversion rate from 1-in-20 leads to 1-in-10 – and he did it!
5. Get locals to help you to sell
It’s always easier to build relationships on a local level than remotely across distance.
Jan-Pro, a commercial cleaning franchise with more than 10,000 units globally, has topped Entrepreneur magazine’s Fastest Growing Franchise List for the last five years. Now, you could argue that with an initial investment requirement of just $3,985 to $51,605, it’s always going to be easier to sell a Jan-Pro franchise than, say, a McDonald’s franchise, which requires a minimum initial investment of a cool million. But if that’s the case, why is the next fastest-growing cleaning franchise, Vanguard, way further down the list at #15? And why are there more expensive franchises such as Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and Hardee’s in the Top 5?
Jan-Pro added an impressive 246 new franchises to its network over the past twelve months. How have they done it? It helps that the business concept is simple and uses easily-repeatable processes to deliver consistent service. It also helps that Jan-Pro differentiate themselves in the marketplace – something that’s not easy to do in a business like cleaning – through innovative products and services such as EnviroShield, their proprietary electrostatic disinfecting system.
But the real clincher has been Jan-Pro’s aggressive approach to expansion underpinned by a two-tiered approach to franchising, with master franchises for experienced businesspeople and unit franchises for budding entrepreneurs. Of course, most cleaning franchises grow through master franchising, but Jan-Pro have added a new dimension with the franchise recruitment processes, tools and support they offer their master franchisees, combining national marketing grunt with local drive and market knowledge.
“My role is to adapt to my local market the services which have been developed and rolled out by Jan-Pro International,” says Canadian Master Franchisee Jean Roberge, who has built the Canadian arm of Jan-Pro into the largest franchised commercial cleaning operation in the country.
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Article by Robin La Pere, No Ordinary Business and Franchise Consultants
Contact me at email@example.com.
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