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How Franchise Brands Can Perfect the Development Process

From strong franchisee validation to the ability to tell a brand’s story across multiple channels, franchise development executives break down what factors consistently lead to successful growth strategies.

It’s a question often asked by those in franchise development: Where are my leads? Across the industry, franchisors in all segments are competing with one another for qualified candidates who are great fits for their individual concepts. But in order to get those qualified leads — and ultimately, get them to sign on the dotted line — franchisors need to ensure that their development process is seamless.

Over the course of 1851’s #TheGreatFranchiseReturn virtual summit, executives across multiple brands weighed in on what makes development successful for them. According to Joe Mathews, CEO of Franchise Performance Group, successfully driving growth comes down to two simple things.

“What makes franchising work … is franchisee satisfaction and unit-level economics. If your franchisees are happy with their investments and you’ve got a good, workable relationship with the franchisees … the market’s going to reward that. Second is if you have good unit-level economics, if it’s a good money maker and if it fits the franchisee’s definition of a good return,” said Matthews. He continued, “If it’s a good return and you treat your franchisees well, people will want to know who you are, so then it’s optimizing your story online.”

In addition to having strong franchisee validation and unit-level economics, Paul Pickett, Chief Development Officer for Wild Birds Unlimited*, adds that success in franchise development comes down to partnering with the right people. After all, positive validation will never be achieved if brands are partnering with the wrong prospects.

Pickett said, “Does every brand want to grow? Absolutely. But if you don’t grow smart with the right people … What is the value to the brand if you do five deals, or 50 deals, or whatever number that is, with great franchisees who really kill it, who really deliver the mission, who make money, who are happy, who are brand advocates, and then look at in order to [double the number of deals, five out of 10] of them are not great matches? They’re probably great people, but [they’re] not great matches. It completely counters all of the effort [put in] on those great 5 [franchisees] because you’re going to be putting resources [toward] solving mistakes rather than putting resources to augment successes.”

Franchise development teams also need to be made up of quality salespeople who are able to properly guide candidates through the journey. Steve Beagelman, president and CEO of SMB Franchise Advisors*, said, “You’re spending all this money to generate the lead, to get the person interested in your brand, and [you need] somebody who’s going to take that lead through the process the right way and qualify them, and make sure they understand all the steps that they need to go through to make sure that they’re a right fit for your brand.”

Ultimately, those who make up franchise sales teams need to be able to cater their approaches to candidates’ preferences. Sean Fitzgerald, TruBlue Total House Care president, notes that this means reaching prospects in new and innovative ways, especially during the due diligence process.

“You need to change your strategy from having a great story to tell in person, but how do you tell that story to someone who doesn’t want to talk to you on the phone?” Fitzgerald said. “Utilizing your CRM, your drip campaigns — it’s just not enough anymore. You’ve got to have more content, whether it’s videos or social, and you want to talk about lowering your cost of acquisition for new franchises.”

That ability to be flexible is something that all franchise brands need to have, even beyond the development team. 

“Brands that can pivot during the booms are brands that can pivot during the busts,” said Pickett. “You just have to have a culture of people, and pivoting, and passion.”

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.