It’s a well- known fact, that when franchisors strategize their system growth, the major focus is placed on the amount and quality of their franchisee leads. However, if there isn’t a program in place to maximize the productivity of candidate leads the growth of the franchise network will be severely hampered. All the money and human resources invested in lead gen will be for naught if a franchisor doesn’t have the right program in place. Industry surveys and data continue to indicate that it requires from 1 to 1.5% of all total leads to produce one new franchisee sale. In other words, it takes 100 leads to complete one new franchise transaction. Obviously, it’s critical to maximize ROI on the leads franchisors pay for, which includes costs for PR, SEO programs, PPC and Ad Portals. It’s a waste of money to pay for leads and not have a complete franchise development program in place.
Building the foundation of an effective franchise development program:
- Treat each lead as money. This means having an effective intake process for each lead, a prompt response protocol to each lead in the form of a phone call, text or email. Carefully qualify each lead by gathering several pieces of key information.
- Measure lead gen programs. This includes tracking the number and quality of leads from each source, including the franchisor website. Look at the closing rates from each source, rather than just the number of leads. Evaluate and compare the costs and benefits of outside lead gen to SEO on your franchise website.
- Have competent people work with qualified candidates. Whether using an in-house sales team, brokers or a combination of both be sure you have capable and accomplished people working with candidates and leads.
- Utilize data and facts in your franchise message. You can boast about your franchise program if it is based upon facts. Rather than using the same tired old message as some franchises, be creative in your messaging, marketing and on your website. Presenting a factual message will set your franchise apart from the rest.
- Know your competition. Acquire statistics and have comparative intelligence so staff can address any issues or questions brought up by franchise candidates.
- Have market intelligence. By being able to identify the potential of various franchisee territories, franchisor staff will generate confidence on the part of candidates and avoid granting franchise territories will poor prospects.
Franchise leads represent a significant cost to franchisors. To maximize the full potential of this investment it’s important that franchisors have a franchise development program and adhere to it.