Build Relationships with Potential Franchisees Through Nurturing

 

In today’s business environment, leads for potential franchisees are more important than ever.

While the pandemic created unique opportunities for franchisors to expand services and grow, it has also played a role in creating skepticism for some potential buyers. For some candidates, the concern of businesses faltering has prevented them from taking the next step in purchasing a franchise.

 

Nurturing franchisees to succeed

It is important for franchisors to nurture potential buyers and assist them in every step of the process, from initial contact to finalizing paperwork. The truth of the matter is nurturing has always been a key
factor in acquiring new franchise owners.

Whether it is worrying about a pandemic, the economy, or who is in the White House, potential franchisees will always have concerns when it comes to starting a business. Nurturing leads is part of any successful franchise development process!

Nurturing the candidate is about more than convincing them you are the right franchise. It’s about building a relationship with a potential buyer and providing them with the necessary information about the business. It’s the franchisor’s job to advise and consult with the candidate, so they can make an informed decision. It’s through this process that a solid relationship is formed between the two parties.

Staying in front of the candidate is paramount for any franchise looking to grow its franchise base. To build a successful nurturing campaign, there is a variety of options and strategies that a franchisor should consider.

Reach out to Candidates

Staying in contact with franchise candidates has never been easier in today’s technology-driven world. Franchisors have a plethora of tools at their disposal to keep the candidate engaged. With everyone
keeping a smartphone nearby, potential buyers can receive a text message or email virtually anywhere. The same applies to social media. Sending a direct message on Facebook can reach a candidate just
as easily as an email. Webinars also offer a unique opportunity to engage with a potential franchisee face-to-face (Zoom, GoToWebinar etc.) and provide an abundance of information about the franchise.

While the use of technology cannot be overstated, nothing can replace a one-onone phone call or in-person visit. Direct phone calls present a chance to build a stronger, more personal relationship with
candidates. Discovery Days and other in person events provide the franchisee with a first-hand look at the company, its culture and the leadership team. While technology makes it easier to nurture franchisees, one-on-one interactions help build a relationship that can form a strong bond between the two.

An Effective Nurturing Campaign

Consistency is vital when running an effective nurturing campaign. Franchisors want to make sure they stay in front of the candidate regularly, whether it’s texting, email campaigns, direct mail, etc. When utilizing these tools, it is important to emphasize the message in each piece of collateral. The messaging within the content will vary depending on the industry and the franchise itself. For example, AlphaGraphics focused on being an essential business through the pandemic as well as celebrating our 50th anniversary during a recent nurturing campaign. For us, we believed the messaging displayed our
resilience over the years and showcased our ability to weather any storm as a franchise system.

Collateral used for nurturing purposes should also provide the interested buyer with information about the franchise. Remember, these are individuals who are considering your franchise as an option, but they are likely looking at other options as well. Providing them with relevant information about your franchise’s business model is key, but you can also send them real-life success stories about other franchisees to help them get a better feel for your franchise. Sending this information regularly will keep the potential franchisee engaged and continue building that relationship.

Franchising Expertise

When nurturing leads, franchisors should remember that they are the expert in the industry. Candidates reach out to franchisors to obtain information about the franchise and the industry. Senior leadership teams are educating the candidate so they can make an informed decision about the franchise. While getting information about a company online is easy, candidates expect the leaders of the franchise to educate them on their opportunity as well as the industry. This means being completely transparent about your franchise and the industry overall. This transparent approach may result in the
franchisee choosing a different company to purchase based on the “fit” between them and the franchise brand. More times than not, if the candidate trusts that the franchisor is being transparent, that bond
will grow strong and increase the chances of them deciding your franchise is the best fit.

Bill McPherson is the vice president of franchise development for AlphaGraphics, a leading franchisor
of printing and marketing solutions. With more than 285 locations in six countries, AlphaGraphics is one of the largest U.S.-based networks of locally owned and operated Business Centers offering a complete range of print, visual communications, and marketing products.

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