Secret weapon:

5 ways to use storytelling to sell more franchises

For years, anti-drink-driving campaigners tried to scare us with shock-horror images of car wrecks and “drink, drive, die” slogans. Recently in New Zealand they tried a different approach, creating perhaps the first TV commercial of its kind in the world to use humour as well as pathos to get its message across. Now a pop culture phenomenon, the campaign illustrates the effectiveness of storytelling at a gut level.

“I’ve been internalising a really complicated situation in my head.”

This line from the commercial explains how stories work. Telling stories sounds like something you do with children, but all humans, no matter what age, are wired for stories. It’s how we make sense of the world.

Quick, close your eyes

Now try to recall a magazine ad or online banner that you’ve seen in the last week.

Chances are that even though you’ve been exposed to thousands of them, you won’t remember a single one.

Now, think of the last article you read or online video you watched.

Is that easier? It should be —  good content uses vivid storytelling that appeals to both emotion and logic, making it more powerful than pretty much any banner ad.


Today’s franchise lead generation market is fiercely competitive. If your franchise doesn’t stand out, it simply won’t get noticed. As you can see from the famous advertisement below, advertising gurus like John Caples understood long ago that storytelling was one of the best ways to get noticed.

Just as importantly, if you can’t emotionally engage a prospective franchisee, you won’t be able to get them to opt into the sales process and seriously consider what you have to offer. Buying into a franchise is a life-changing decision, and to earn the consideration of candidates, you need to be able to appeal to their hearts as well as their minds.

Here are five ways to make your franchise lead generation more powerful and compelling than ever before:

1.  Go for the gut

How do you make an emotional connection when you’re selling carpet cleaning franchises? Too often, franchisors suffer from what I call the product-benefit trap, focusing on providing loads of facts under the faulty assumption that people are purely rational and just want to know about features and benefits.

The breakthrough for franchises like Chem-Dry which increased their lead generation by 600% through storytelling is that a franchise is about more than business benefits – it’s about personality, vision, values, living the dream, self-actualisation, and being part of a group. Only when that is understood will your lead generation strategy be able to achieve its full potential.

2.  Remember what your story is about

(Acknowledgement and apologies to UserOnboarding for borrowing and modifying their concept.)

Marketing’s mantra used to be that to be successful you had to have a USP – Unique Selling Proposition. Then marketers realised that it wasn’t enough just to be different – your brand, product or business had to be relevant. In other words, your customers had to give a shit. And the best way to be relevant to prospective franchisees is to tell a story about what your franchise will do for them.

3.  Let it all hang out


People buy from people they like and trust – and buying a franchise is no different. How do you be likeable and appear trustworthy? You let people get to know you by telling your own story. Your background, your challenges, your family life, your vision for the future – your prospects will want to know all that before they’ll let you in. And don’t be afraid to admit your failures – they make you seem more human and demonstrate your resilience.

4.  Let your franchisees and customers tell their stories


Because the internet is so accessible, people tend to raise their scepticism barriers when they’re checking out potential franchises. “How do I know that person that I don’t know is telling the truth?” they ask themselves. “Oh, he must be telling the truth because these people I also don’t know are telling me he is.” Social proof is a wonderful thing.

5.  Use a variety of media

“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.”

So said Steven Spielberg, the master of using film to tell his stories. Digital technologies are changing the face of storytelling, and today franchisors have a wealth of different media – everything from social media to YouTube – with which to tell their stories.


How do you make all this storytelling happen in your franchise?

There’s a sixth secret I need to tell you – that is, don’t try to do this yourself. As storytellers down the ages have known, there’s an art to telling stories – even your own – that not everyone possesses. And storytelling is becoming even more of an art as the complexity of media increases.

Storytellers generally tell stories about other people – and there's a reason for that. Storytellers can look objectively at other people and understand the ways in which their story will be most interesting to other people. It's hard to do that with your own story.

The point of this story is that we can help you tell your story in ways that will be more interesting and compelling for potential franchisees, customers, investors or bank managers. Contact us for a free Initial Consultation.

Robin La Pere: Business, franchising and marketing consultant

Article by Robin La Pere, No Ordinary Business and Franchise Consultants

Contact me at

Share this article:                                                            Follow us: 


This article was written by Robin

La Pere of No Ordinary Business and Franchise Consultants.

Robin has a corporate and franchising background, but he is also an entrepreneur and marketer. He offers a range of services, including business strategy, innovation, systems, franchising and marketing consultancy.

Robin maintains that to get your message across to more people more effectively in a way that fires their interest and imagination, it's no longer enough to talk about features, benefits and USPs. You need to tell your story engagingly and well.

Robin is based in Auckland, New Zealand, but works with clients all over the world. To arrange for a free Initial Consultation, no matter where you're based, contact him at or use the Contact Form.


9 ways to accelerate your franchise in 2016

My 5 biggest predictions for franchising in 2016

How the power of the cloud is transforming franchising


 Your email:

Free eBook Download:

15 Innovative Franchise Marketing Tactics You're Probably Not Using Yet

> Click here to download



"Robin writes an e-letter that everybody in franchising should read ... whether they agree with him or not!"

Dr Ken Billot, Franchise PhD

 >  Subscribe here - it's free!