How to Hook Multi-Unit Franchisees
How to Hook Multi-Unit Franchisees

Bigger franchise fish require the right bait.

You see that shiny thing over there? Yeah, that’s a multi-unit franchisee. And every brand is craving one right now. Unfortunately, very few will be able to capture one. Why? Because they’re not biting at brands’ bait.

The multi-unit franchisee is fascinating. He or she is someone who has money, a strong understanding of scale, and, if utilized correctly in your branding strategy, can have a lasting effect on the recruitment of others.

But snagging one is tough because to them, your business is the unknown. Even if you appear shiny, too, they’re too smart to be drawn in that way. They know that with their current portfolio, if they spend X to get a store open, they will make Y. They have data from their previous 10 store openings to dictate approximately how much they will make. Even if you present a more attractive offering on paper, you are still the unknown.

Think about yourself. You are afraid of change (if you are being honest), because change is unknown. You won’t take another job, open another brand, or even move houses, because you don’t like change. Neither does the multi-unit operator who is invested in other brands. They don’t want change – not unless your shiny presentation truly sticks out.

So, how do you stick out, you ask? Through the right marketing materials and a creative approach.

Many of the brands I have worked with have asked about sending out a direct mail piece to a list purchased through some franchise data solution. In traditional marketing, this makes sense. There is a list of multi-unit operators who you can get your brand in front of. However, they already know who you are. They have seen you at conferences. They have researched you. They have you on a list, too. The point is, they know you, and they are not interested in your postcard labeling you the greatest thing in the category. That’s a worm on a hook – they want a lobster dinner.

So how do you get the lobster on the hook? With creativity and noise.

Ever see those surveys that come through the mail with a $5 bill attached? That won’t do much for the multi-unit crowd, but what if you stapled a $100 bill to a hand-written note that says you are giving them that money in hopes they will call you for 30 minutes to hear you out. This way, you will have data (even though every person is different) on how you can market to more of them.

If the average franchise sale costs between $8,000 and $12,000, what if you sent potential multi-unit franchisees a Kindle with your presentation on it? The cost would be $100 and you could send these out to 80 highly targeted individuals. I know if I got a free Kindle in the mail, I would at least think about your opportunity.

But let’s get back to my initial message. Multi-unit operators are afraid of change, just like you and I. It will take a sweetheart deal to get one of these signature celebrities to spend the money and join your brand. Plus, there are 1,000 other brands targeting the same multi-unit operator as you. You still have a lot of clutter to get through.

So, when chasing these guys, do you have a shot? Yes, a very small one. If I were you, I’d put my line in the pond with more fish biting, over qualify, and identify the next multi-unit operator – or coach new franchisees down the right path.

When everyone tries to win the mega lottery, only one walks away the winner. I would rather do scratch-offs and walk away with a free ticket. That at least gives me the chance to turn that free ticket into the next multi-unit operator.