As a franchisor in expansion mode, you are likely well aware that potential franchisees have many choices when it comes to choosing a brand to invest in and be part of as a franchise owner. It’s your job to sell the story of your franchise to them and convince them that yours is one they want to join.
Easier said than done, right?
The trick is understanding your prospective franchisees and thinking about what they care most about – the franchisees’ motivation. Or what their ‘why’ for joining your system could be. Here’s how to do that.
Build Buyer Personas
Who are your prospects, including those that may already be franchise owners? Do they share certain characteristics that you could use to create buyer personas to better understand them?
Make a list of the characteristics of your ideal franchisee.
- What sort of background do they have?
- How old are they?
- What are their interests?
Create a fictional character to identify this persona. You may have several. For example, if you run a dog washing franchise, you might create a couple of buyer personas for your ideal franchisee:
Puppy-loving Patty has always been drawn to animals, particularly dogs. She doesn’t have a formal business education or animal-related experience, but she worked as a dog walker for years and truly cares for animals. She’s in her 50s and looking for her second career, one she’s truly passionate about.
Then there’s Army Alan. He served 20 years in the Army (training dogs for military tasks) and is now ready to embark (no pun intended) on his entrepreneurial journey. He’s big on being a part of his local community.
What Motivates These Personas?
As you start to understand your ideal franchisees a bit better, you need to dive deeper to understand your prospective franchisee’s motivation. Is it money? Knowing they’ve made a difference in people’s (or dogs’) lives? Is it doing what they love?
Not sure what the answer is? Ask existing franchisees. Why did they choose your brand? What do they love about it? What benefits do they see for potential franchisees?
Give ‘Em What’s in it for Them
Once you have your answers, use these motivators as part of your marketing and sales process. The content on your website should address these factors, as should all marketing collateral and sales presentations. Just be sure not to only address the potential revenue they can bring in as a franchisee, but also those intangibles like:
- Helping the community by creating more jobs
- Creating a legacy for your family
- Doing what you love
- Making a difference
- Freeing up your time
- Becoming an entrepreneur
- Starting a veteran-owned business
When speaking with potential franchisees, ask lots of questions so that you can understand each one individually. If none of the motivators you’ve identified seem to light up this individual, pay attention to discover what does. The more personal you can get with a prospect, the better the bond you’ll create. And franchisees want to connect with the brand they choose. Don’t treat it like a sales meeting; treat it like you’re building a new relationship.
Focus on Benefits, not Features
Rather than cramming all the features of your franchise down your prospects’ throats (“we’re the top-rated franchise in the tri-county area!”) focus on the benefits. This is an old marketing adage. You care about the features of your franchise, but the potential franchisees care about the benefits.
What’s in it for them? What can you offer them that they won’t get with any other brand? How will you make them feel like they’re part of your franchise family? How does this address the franchisee’s motivation?
Let Franchisees Tell Their Story
You can talk until you’re blue in the face, but you might find better success letting your current franchisees do the selling for you. After all, they’re in it, making their livelihood from your brand name.
Tell franchisee stories on your website. Share their backgrounds and what led them to your franchise. If they have success stories, share those. Create an emotional connection between your brand and your franchisees that will appeal to your prospects.
Identifying Your Brand’s ‘Why’
You’ve spent some time getting to know your prospects and aligning your messaging with their desires and objectives. Go one step further by really getting down to why your brand exists, particularly as a franchise. Turn the questions back around to yourself and your team.
At one point in your history, you were a small business. You grew from there and decided to franchise the company.
What was it about franchising that appealed to you? Was the concept so popular that you wanted to meet demand nationwide? Did you want to have an impact on the local community? Did you want to empower people to become entrepreneurs?
This is your ‘why,’ and it matters to franchisees. Finding your ‘why’ personalizes your business, and that’s where a lot of franchises fail. They seem too big, too corporate. But you have the opportunity to humanize your business by talking about the personal side.
No prospect wants to think that you got into franchising to make millions. You might make millions, but that shouldn’t be your ‘why’ if you’re trying to build your empire.
Sure, adding another franchise owner to your brand represents the opportunity to increase revenues, but it also provides you with the opportunity to further spread the word about what your brand does and, better yet, what it represents. Your relationship with franchisees (present and future) is a precious one that you need to nurture to ensure