Selecting unsuitable franchise partners and wasting invaluable time and resources on recruits that don’t align with your brand can hinder your organisation’s progress for many years. It’s therefore essential to invest substantial effort and attention in attracting ambitious entrepreneurs to achieve long-term success for your franchise.
Franchise brands face the continual challenge of generating a consistent and sustained level of enquiries from interested and qualified prospects. Without a steady flow of leads, it can be difficult to grow and maintain a strong franchise network, as well as achieve your business goals. Franchise brands must subsequently implement proactive strategies that go beyond traditional marketing approaches. Here Cheryl Harper, Managing Director of Greensleeves, shares her four key steps that franchisors should focus on to attract the right franchisees to join their thriving franchise network.
Foster a solid company culture
A franchisor’s support team can often be the deciding factor for prospects looking to invest in a franchise brand. By having efficient systems and robust structures in place, it will inspire individuals to join a franchise network, particularly if they are able to see how committed head office is to their future success. It will also help the franchisee feel that the franchisor truly understands the day-to-day operations and what it takes to run a successful business.
A franchise discovery day is a great opportunity to showcase a franchise’s culture and highlight all the resources and support available to franchisees, including the latest technological and innovative developments. Allowing prospects to also meet the management team can give them confidence and help them to build relationships with those leading the brand’s overall strategy and growth. Depending on the sector, some brands may invite prospects to see the back-of-house operations to show them how invested the company is in that particular product or service offering.
Leverage brand advocacy
Leveraging franchisee advocacy is a powerful strategy to generate interest and enquiries for a franchise brand. By tapping into your existing franchise network, it can be a great source of lead generation as they are not just operators – they can also be influential brand advocates. When franchisees actively promote their brand, their success stories and personal experiences can resonate with prospects, instilling trust and confidence in the franchise opportunity.
Referrals is also one of the best methods for franchisee recruitment. In some cases, the growth of the network will come from current franchisees or endorsements from franchisees, employees or even customers who have shared the opportunity and want to be part of the brand and its journey. The proof is in the pudding as this year alone we have had four franchisees who invested in a Greensleeves franchise and transitioned over to franchise owners having been employees for our company-owned locations. This surge is a result of our proactive approach in nurturing transparent communication channels between our franchisees and our head office, resulting in them naturally becoming advocates for our brand.
Create a strong online presence
It is vital that franchise brands have a strong online presence to enhance their brand visibility and credibility, as well as position them as industry leaders and experts in their field. Having an online advertising strategy on social media channels will help to communicate the brand’s unique value proposition and draw the attention of potential franchisees. This can be a very effective way to generate quality franchisee recruitment leads, but remember to limit your budget initially so you can test and measure results, identify where all leads are coming from and then gauge the lead quality.
A franchisor’s website should also act as a good way to predetermine prospects. A clear outline of your brand’s requirements and expectations, and what you are seeking in a franchise partner, will help to attract the right prospects from the outset. Engaging content, testimonials and success stories are tangible representations of the success franchisees might achieve and act as powerful social proof. They showcase the positive experiences of those who made the investment and reinforce the credibility and trustworthiness of the franchise opportunity, making it even more appealing to prospects.
Choosing the right industry events
Industry events are a great way for franchisors to get their brand name out there and meet ambitious prospects face to face. You can reach a wide audience and find suitable investors as the people you will meet will be genuinely interested in franchising, and hopefully in your particular sector. It’s often easier to talk in person and discuss your franchise opportunity with prospective investors, help to gauge their interest and establish a rapport early on. If you have a stand at the franchise exhibition, make sure you deploy a consistent, professional and transparent approach to draw solid prospects. And take advantage of sponsorship and speaking opportunities, which are readily available to exhibitors, to increase brand visibility.
In summary, attracting new franchisees is essential for building a successful franchise network, but they need to be the right calibre of prospects who are aligned with your vision and committed to the growth of your brand. To build a thriving network of franchisees, it’s essential that franchisors develop a compelling franchise opportunity, establish a culture of transparency, and create a comprehensive franchise recruitment strategy.