How to build and maintain a thriving franchisee pipeline.
That headline, my friends, is called clickbait. If you clicked through hoping to find the magic answer to your franchise-lead woes, then you may still have a thing or two to learn about navigating the internet. There’s no one secret to getting quality leads, of course. But, now that you’re here, I can offer a few tips that will help put you on the path toward building a rock-solid franchisee pipeline
In today’s franchise sales landscape, winning has become both easier and harder than it has ever been before.
It’s easier because
- Digital tools provide great data about what works and what doesn’t. We can understand the journey of the buyer better than ever before, and we no longer have to guess where our likely buyers are.
- Franchise brokers are creating a funnel of warm leads to your brand. They are capturing people all over the country who raised their hands with interest in franchising but are still searching for the right brand, and they are guiding them to the franchises that best suit their aspirations.
- We’ve gotten smarter about what doesn’t work. Many forms of media that we counted on in the past, don’t work. They never did. Now that we know that, we’ve stopped wasting money on broken tools.
It’s harder because
- We are still conditioned to believe that leads are the sole pathway to deals. We still hold 100 leads as the magic number to get a deal. We still think we need 1,000 leads to get 10 deals. In reality, with the right process, we need only 10 leads to get 10 deals.
- The buyers are slower than ever. They are doing exhaustive research. They are asking more questions. And they are challenging you more than ever. Naturally, they are afraid to make a mistake when investing their life’s savings, and they are OK with waiting.
- The lead sources have simplified. Portals can produce leads, and sometimes even deals, but it’s a crap shoot. Same with shows. Same with print. There is still a lot of guess work that goes into figuring out this crazy game of franchising.
So, how do we take advantage?
- The broker network is a great option, but be ready to work it. It is not as simple as signing a check and watching the magic happening.
- Make sure you have a high-functioning sales website. This is as important as ever. Buyer validation habits may well change in the future, but for now, it remains essential.
- Encourage your existing franchisees to validate new buyers. Roughly a third of franchisees for any brand don’t do this. Nurture those who do, and incentivize others to join them.
- Don’t create un-segmented lead categories. Segments should be built around timing and financial bandwidth. Some people are not ready to talk yet and simply want more information. Those aren’t cold leads, they simply are not ready to buy.
- Ask your franchisees for help figuring out where to find more of them. Host a brainstorm. They bought into your brand, learn why and how. Learn how and where they found out about you, and make sure you are promoting content in those spaces.
Lead generation is not hard, it just takes the right energy, time and money. Remember to chase the deal value not the value of the fee.