For many prospects, the excitement of starting a franchise business truly kicks in when they have the chance to meet a franchisor to gather the information they need to ensure the opportunity is a perfect match. And while the sector has come a long way in the 21st century, some things never change.
Here Frank Milner, the President of Tutor Doctor, discusses the importance of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for franchisors and prospects alike, inspiring an environment of transparency to ensure success later on in their franchise journey.
The most common questions franchisors often receive are, “How much money can I make?”, “How does the business model work?” and “What kind of support do you offer?”. These are vitally important pieces of information to provide prospects with. Of course, the financial opportunity is a huge motivating factor and it is important for prospects to understand how that will be achieved in the context of the franchise structure. But what is equally significant for prospects to be assured of is that they will have consistent, open access to a franchisor and a team that can help them along the way.
Typically, prospects are more interested in the industry that a franchise business operates in. For the majority of Tutor Doctor candidates, the education industry is close to them – they might be a teacher who wants to step up in their career and lead the charge on nurturing the growth of the sector, or they have educators in their family. Franchisors must be prepared to touch the emotional driver that prospects may be seeking in a franchise opportunity, as these motives could be the difference between a successful franchisee and someone who chooses not to pursue the opportunity.
One of the most significant teachings during my time as a franchisor is that negative questions are actually a good thing and should not be the determining factors between a successful and unsuccessful candidate. Negative questions help franchisors understand where the candidate’s barriers are, what they are actively thinking about in real time that may be causing hesitation, and how we as a brand can more effectively support them. Often, these kinds of questions are rooted in a lack of understanding or fear. Getting them out and on the table, put simply, helps us to help candidates. This part of a meeting is not designed to trip the candidate up. Rather, it is about affording candidates with the space to ask tough questions so that they are able to make a decision with their eyes wide open, as opposed to making a decision based on a small part of the picture.
Remember: it’s equally important for prospects to feel like a franchise opportunity will be the right fit, so franchisors should give them the space to ask the questions they would regret not asking.
There are also many FAQs that franchisors should have for candidates – like the opportunity itself. A prospective franchisee must be able to see a franchisor who is engaged, driven and passionate. Franchisors need to know a prospect is going to work as hard on the business as they are in it. Prospective franchisees that can display a willingness to get out of their comfort zone and be a proactive member of the network is a fundamental expectation for successful franchise brands and their franchisors in 2023. With economic uncertainty looming over us, a franchisor that can identify strong candidates by their ability to deal with and comprehensively answer thought provoking questions is a strong strategy for ensuring success and growth can be achieved.
While repetitive for a franchisor, FAQs are frequently asked due to their importance. Candidates that build on those FAQs rather than simply taking information at face value are huge indicators of the sophistication of the candidate, and so must not be scoffed at or answered lazily during an initial meeting or interview. Today, franchisors want candidates who ask good, tough questions – it is the perfect way to establish expectations and identify those who will contribute to the success of a brand.