Does Your Franchise Sales Process Have These Elements?

By January 15, 2019September 4th, 2019Franchising
franchise sales process essential elements

Let’s be real – franchise sales is tough! You need to be prepared to overcome the myriad of challenges that your franchise sales team will face before you can expect to see success. We wanted to discuss a few elements we’ve found will help you overcome these challenges and get your your franchise sales efforts on the right track.

1. Diversified Lead Gen Sources

It’s evident you have established some brand awareness since you are attracting people interested in your franchise opportunity, but that’s only the beginning. In today’s market, you have to make sure you are reaching prospects where they are looking for an opportunity with the information they want to see.

Since lead generation is the first step in the franchise sales process, it’s the first step you should be addressing. In the past, brands could rely heavily on brokers and franchise portals to drive qualified candidates in to the franchise development team, but ONLY relying on these sources is risky business in this market.

Consumer behavior is changing, and prospects want to educate themselves as much as possible before they start talking to sales people. When you consider how they set out to learn the details about which franchise opportunity might be best for their situation, you have to make sure your brand is doing everything possible to be there when your IDEAL prospects are doing their research.

franchise lead source distribution

Your franchise lead generation should have some combination of the following lead sources (in addition to portals and/or brokers):

Google Ads

What do people do when they want to find an answer to a question today? They Google it. They are doing the same thing when they consider, “Which franchise should I buy?” or “What’s the best restaurant franchise?” With Google Ads for franchise opportunities, the key to success is SPECIFICITY.

Searchers are showing their “Intent” with the phrases they are searching. Someone looking for “top franchises 2019” is probably at the beginning of their research phase vs. someone searching “most profitable logistics franchise” – they are looking for something specific. Which would you want to pay Google to get to your website if you offered a logistics franchise opportunity? Managing your budget to get the most specific searchers to your site is key.

Facebook Ads

We know, you probably think, “Our franchisees are not on Facebook.” We disagree. 84% on internet users between the ages of 30-49 are on Facebook. That’s almost everyone. It’s HIGHLY likely that ideal franchise candidates for your brand are on Facebook.

We recommend using videos and visual content that can catch your ideal candidates attention and appeal to their motivations. Targeting on Facebook can be tricky, but using multi-layer audiences can get your ads in front of your demographic targets that have motivations similar to your ideal franchisees. Don’t forget you can send people back to your franchise website or use Facebook Lead Forms to capture their interest right in Facebook.

YouTube and LinkedIn

YouTube and LinkedIn are great additional sources to get your brand in front of prospects. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine behind Google and people are watching a lot of video on franchising and starting a business. Get your videos in front of them when they are doing this research.

LinkedIn is the worlds largest collection of business people. Their ads can be a bit more expensive than the others, but you can’t find a more targeted group of people. If you are looking for business executives for your franchise opportunity, you might want to run some tests here.

Outreach

Some brands may have a more specific ideal franchisee profile or may need very specific, high net worth individuals to purchase in a new market. In this case, although highly targeted ads can reach these people, it may be smarter to take a more direct approach to build more referral sources in your target markets.

You would not want to start reaching out to random people via email, but you might find people like economic development directors or SMB organization leaders that can refer you to your ideal candidates in their market.

2. Detailed Franchise Lead Tracking

Once you have rolled out one or more new lead sources and leads start flowing in, it’s essential that you have a system in place to review lead quality in real time. You don’t want to spend a huge portion of your budget on a new campaign only to find out you weren’t targeting the right candidates 3 months down the road.

We use a Digital Franchise Lead Tracker with all of our clients where all leads from digital ads, organic seo, social media, etc are instantly added into a Google Sheet. Daily or weekly, our client’s franchise sales teams enter in feedback on each lead individually. We take this feedback back to the campaigns to make sure we are targeting the correct prospects.

franchise lead tracker document

A good example of how this works is when you are receiving a lot of franchise lead form submissions on your website, but most of them are looking for a job at your company. We can quickly determine if these people are coming from one of our ad campaigns and turn off the keywords or ads that are attracting these people to our site. We might even rewrite ad copy to specifically let them know that this ad is not for someone looking for a job.

The more refined you can get your lead generation process, the more efficient your franchise sales team will be with guiding the qualified leads through your franchise sales process.

3. Immediate Follow up

At this point, you have the franchise lead generation process cleaned up and leads are flowing in to your team. How long do you wait to respond to each new lead? In our experience, the speed in which you follow up plays a HUGE role in the success of your franchise sales efforts. In fact, you will have a significantly higher lead to conversation rate if you make contact within the first hour.

Our most successful clients aim for 15 minutes or less!

Obviously, you can’t always get them on the phone immediately, and you don’t want your sales team dialing out at midnight(maybe you do), but in general, the sooner you establish communication, the more likely you will qualify the prospect and have them enter into your franchise sales funnel.

Using technology like email auto-responders is standard(and expected) at this point. When someone fills out a form on your website, they expect to get your email confirming you received their inquiry.

Taking this to the next level, you should consider implementing an SMS(text messaging) layer to your process. Text messages have insanely high open rates, and people will definitely know you contacted them, even if they only check their email once a day.

You can do this manually or use an automated provider that makes this contact for you. We just recommend you keep it brief and use the text to try to schedule a phone conversation. Don’t try to sell over text – just make sure they get your message!

4. Stay In Touch

Remember how we discussed franchise prospects of today doing their own research and some are in different phases of their investigation? Well, because of this, you need a nurturing campaign to stay in touch with those prospects who may be a good fit for your franchise opportunity but aren’t ready to move forward.

franchise sales email marketing map

Email marketing tools give you the ability to stay in front of your prospects with relevant content over time until they are ready to move forward. You can get them to attend webinars or conference calls with your successful franchisees, invite them to a discover day or update them on all the exciting new locations you have been adding.

5. An Organized CRM

How many leads did you get last month? Which lead source generated the most leads? Which lead source produced the most discovery day attendees?

These are questions you should be able to answer easily if you are tracking your franchise sales process with an organized CRM. It takes some work on the part of your franchise sales team, but it’s essential to know if you are using your franchise development budget in the best places.

There are lots of options out there, and they all have their differences. However, at the least, you should be able to integrate your CRM with your website forms to have the leads go in automatically, classify your leads based on the Step in your franchise sales process they are currently in, allow sales team to make detailed notes and track all conversations and offer simple, accessible reporting on everything.

6. Defined Franchise Sales Process Steps

We saved the most important element of a successful franchise sales process for last. Before you add new lead sources, track lead quality, implement new communication tools or a crm, you need to define the exact process a lead will experience from the time they start interacting with your brand.

At the least, this should include an opportunity call, presenting them with relevant information about your opportunity, scheduling a discovery day or some other interaction with people in your system and the process of bringing them into your system. Whatever the process is for your franchise opportunity, it needs to be documented, and everyone needs to go through the same steps.

Everything in the franchising world is built on a system. Organization, preparation and strategy are the keys to success. The more you understand the process of franchising for your brand, the easier planning will become to guide prospects from lead to next new franchise location.

As we prepare for the next year, do you have the elements in place to crush your franchise goals and take your brand to the next level?

Franchise Sales FAQ

What are the best franchise lead generation sources?

Franchise brands that use multiple lead generation sources are finding the most success. Incorporating Google Ads, Facebook Ads, YouTube and LinkedIn allows brands to reach prospects at all phases of their research process. Traditional sources like brokers and portal sites can produce leads, but are typically expensive or inconsistent.

How quickly should we follow up with franchise leads?

The speed in which you follow up plays a HUGE role in the success of your franchise sales efforts. In fact, you will have a significantly higher lead to conversation rate if you make contact within the first hour.

Should our franchise sales team use a CRM?

you should be able to integrate your CRM with your website forms to have the leads go in automatically, classify your leads based on the Step in your franchise sales process they are currently in, allow sales team to make detailed notes and track all conversations and offer simple, accessible reporting on everything.

How can we use email marketing in our franchise sales process?

Email marketing tools give you the ability to stay in front of your prospects with relevant content over time until they are ready to move forward. You can get them to attend webinars or conference calls with your successful franchisees, invite them to a discover day or update them on all the exciting new locations you have been adding.

Jonathan Sellers

Author Jonathan Sellers

More posts by Jonathan Sellers

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