Uncertainty is the only certainty

Uncertainty - the enemy of franchise recruitment. Coconut's Paul Clegg looks at how this is impacting both your audience and your leads, and what you can do about it.

Uncertainty is the only certainty

Uncertainty – the enemy of franchise recruitment. Coconut’s Paul Clegg looks at how this is impacting both your audience and your leads, and what you can do about it. 

Following the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, one thing is clear… uncertainty is here to stay for a while longer. The impact this has on your recruitment, as you may be finding, is people are not as likely to be coming through. Something we see matched in the decline of online searches around ‘franchising” at the moment. Uncertainty leads to a delayed response, because people feel more secure where they currently are, so they aren’t prepared to move into a new venture, seeing the risk as being higher than the reward. As the saying goes: Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. 

We’ve had a number of clients – and franchising friends – query why leads are down, when we’d all been anticipating an up-shift. Maybe this is something you’re wondering yourself. The answer is, quite simply, people aren’t ready to make a change when there are already so many big changes hitting them. So, it’s not a case of what you’re doing isn’t working. It’s more a case of people sitting on information, until they feel more certain about making a change, and the reward outweighing the risk.

Why are we seeing such uncertainty?

If you’re aware of who your target audience is, you should be aware of what’s happening in their world. We often talk about discovering your target’s pain points, when it comes to identifying how best to market to someone. 

The obvious pain points affecting people right now are:

The uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic, some people continue to feel cautious

The uncertainty caused by rising cost of living

The uncertainty of the war in Ukraine and its impact on us 

Add these into any personal situations your audience is feeling, and you may have a clearer understanding of why people are more hesitant to act on a major career change, as well. Even if they’re feeling frustrated, unchallenged, or not enjoying their current work placement, the fear of the unknown holds them back from taking a step into a new venture. No matter how promising your franchise opportunity looks.

So, what can we do about recruitment marketing?

It might seem like you’re talking to the wind, sometimes, but even if you’re not seeing the engagement you once were, doesn’t mean you’re invisible. Recruitment marketing is impacted by areas like the economy, so don’t be surprised by the current situation. 

Here are five things I would recommend, at this time, if you want to see leads start to come through – and remember, it will be in their time, not yours:

Don’t stop! It would be counter-intuitive to pull back on your recruitment marketing, even if you don’t think you’re seeing value on your investment. This is because you want people to remember you, when they are ready to make a change – not one of your competitors.

Keep talking to your target. Many brands conveyed a, “we’re in this together” message during the pandemic. Your target may be feeling isolated, so keep talking to them. When you make them feel part of your brand, before they even join, they’re more like to connect with you when they’re ready.

Be authentic. The world is an uncertain place – even if your franchise isn’t as affected by what’s happening. Use your network to talk to your audience, so they feel as though you’re authentically interested in them. Talk about the concerns, as much as about the positives. Talk about the impact on the business, your wellbeing and the future, and share how you / your network are coping.

Cut down on salesy messaging, be open to discussing real topics. Consumers connect better with brands which don’t always feel like they’re trying to sell them something. If your social media is all “look at what we offer” it’s not meeting the needs of your target audience, and they will disconnect from you. People go online to find something to make them smile, to find information relevant to their life, or to connect with people they like. So, if you’re expecting to remain in their world, you need to give them something of value. As the phrase goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.

Invest time in your stronger leads. Those leads which are coming through are more likely to be serious about what they’re looking for, so make sure you’re not ghosting them, but engage with them. Be consistent. Listen to them about their fears not just about how amazing your opportunity is. Build the relationship, even before they commit, to show you’re in it with them for the long-haul.

Therefore, your aim is to help your targets see the perceived risk in such a way, the reward of the future feels more desirable. 

It’s so easy to be led by the numbers, but we’re living in a period we’ve not experienced before, in franchising. Data we knew we could rely on pre-pandemic, is no longer relevant. Watching the signs, being aware of what’s happening in the UK, and talking to others in franchising, are what will help you to navigate through the uncertainty. 

If you’re feeling uncertain yourself, Coconut’s door is always open. Arrange a call with one of the team, and let’s see how we can help you. 

Paul Clegg
Paul Clegg