Franchisee selection must become more sophisticated to achieve better outcomes for both franchisor and franchisees, according to experienced franchise recruitment, training and planning professional Sue Campbell, owner of Franchise Right.
Talking about Franchise Right’s submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry in Melbourne, Sue Campbell says ‘laser focused’ recruitment strategies and compliant processes are critical to ensuring the ongoing growth and success of Australian franchise systems. “Haphazard recruitment of franchisees can bring unsuitable franchise partners into networks, undermining the business model and, in the extreme, causing failure of the system.”
“Before investing a single dollar in franchise recruitment, you want to have a crystal-clear picture of your ideal franchisee profiles”, says Sue Campbell. “Following specific steps will amplify every franchisor’s chance of finding their ideal franchisee partners, optimise the long-term business relationship and minimise the risk of partnering with unsuitable prospects.”
Sue says there are seven key steps in her Laser Focus approach:
This exercise creates the fundamental requirements of entry to the franchise system and the blueprint for ongoing success by considering questions such as:
• What are the minimum skills and experience a franchisee needs to have?
• What are their values and are they aligned with the business values? Will they be a good culture fit?
• Do they have right aptitude and attitude to run this business?
• What is their appetite for success?
Spend time identifying ideal franchise market segments to assist in casting a wide net to capture ideal prospects and maximise marketing dollars and opportunities. Investing time in understanding your ideal franchisee profiles will help you understand who you are aiming to reach and assist in crafting messages that resonate with that particular audience.
Case Study: An emerging franchisor identified the common traditional target market groups for franchisees within their industry. By challenging their traditional selection criteria we uncovered an unexpected additional franchisee market segment for them which improved the franchisee model outcomes exponentially.
Creating an ideal franchisee profile is only the beginning of the process. Target profiles need to be constantly revised and over layed with relevant and up to date information.
This exercise is equally important for existing franchisors, look at who your best franchisees are and what qualities, values and skills sets unite them? Equally, look at lower performing franchisees and ask the same questions.
How well do you know your each of your ideal franchise market segments?
• Why are people looking into your franchise offer?
• What are their reasons for wanting change?
To answer these questions, you need to understand your franchisee prospects. What are their needs and challenges and how does owning a franchise help them achieve their goals?
Using our Franchise Empathy Mapping Process, we discover needs and identify the gains potential franchisees hope to receive from investing in a franchise business. This helps to put together a specific message that strongly resonates with each of the prospective target groups. A broad message is a wasted message that fails to acknowledge and understand your specific audience and a sure-fire way to recruiting the wrong fit into your franchise network.
It is essential to be able to answer Why you are in business and Why your franchise system is a better investment than your competitors. Franchisors must craft their very own unique value proposition by thinking beyond the obvious reasons franchisees would invest in their model. Often the first few buying reasons that come to mind are similar to other franchise systems.
Rating each buying reason in terms of the value or benefit to the prospective franchisee provides the top 3-5 most compelling and unique reasons that truly embody a franchise system’s distinctiveness. Buying reasons must also be rated against competitors offers to ensure that they’re indeed unique.
This exercise results in a specific, compelling message that resonates more deeply with prospects and amplifies your chances of recruiting the right franchisee.
Whilst some prospects will go to your website, franchising portals and business broking sites to commence their franchising buying journey what are all the other avenues for reaching your ideal franchise prospects?
Things to consider when putting together your communication channel strategy:
• Where do these people hang out?
- Where do you find these groups congregate offline?
- Similarly, where do they get together online?
• What websites do they visit other than the franchising portals?
• What social media platforms are they engaging on?
• What industry spokespeople do they listen to or hold in high esteem?
• What associations or networks to they belong to?
• Do they attend trade shows and expos?
• What are they reading?
• Who are their advisers?
Once the right channels of communication have been aligned with the target profiles, the next step is to flesh out offers and ideas that would appeal to them.
Once you have mapped out a clear franchisee recruitment pathway you need to overlay or match that information with where that prospect is on their buyer’s journey.
Awareness Stage: At the awareness stage of their journey, content needs to be focused on how your franchise system is helping to alleviate the current problems/ challenges that they are facing in their current situation. At this stage in the buying journey the content needs to entice them to start researching other options. It is also becoming increasingly important in the current climate that prospects get a very good sense of who their franchisor is, your story and background and why they should invest in your franchise system.
Consideration Stage: At the consideration stage, the content or message needs to provide them with more information about the offer and what the outcomes will mean to them. They are interested but need more information to make their decision. Utilising the needs, pains and gains material gathered in the profiling stage, start creating blogs, videos or content around potential obstacles or objections they may have to buying a franchise.
For example: I have never run a business before or what does a typical day look like for franchisees? etc.”
Conversion Stage: At conversion stage, their interest must be heightened, and content must contain material that enables them to make a sound decision.
For example: a day out in field with a franchisee, testimonials from other franchisees, content on due diligence etc.
It is important to note that engagement with your prospects should never stop at just the initial awareness stage, rather it’s a continuous process of engaging prospects, building trust, credibility and confidence in your business offer so when they are ready to embark on their franchise journey, they see you as the obvious partner in business.
Once all the information has been gathered, a concise and comprehensive franchise acquisition plan should be created that clearly outlines objectives, strategies and tactics. The plan must clearly and systematically outline all the marketing activities, responsibilities, timings and budget. This then becomes the tool for keeping activity on track and for constantly measuring and revising return on investment.
Ultimately, franchisors with effective laser focused recruitment processes that embody best practice will grow and flourish.