While there’s no guaranteed method to drive a candidate to become a franchisee, here are some step-by-step tips to continue moving the process in the right direction.
Development teams face a number of challenges when it comes to leads, from grabbing the attention of qualified individuals to holding their interest throughout the franchise candidate journey. And while there’s no “secret sauce” to encourage a candidate to sign on with a brand, there are a few techniques that can help move the candidate forward.
1851 connected with the executive director of franchise development at Safeguard, Kevin Derella, to get some tips on how he’s found success. For Derella, it all starts with establishing a relationship built on trust.
“You need to be sincere and authentic with every prospect,” he said. “You have to understand your lead’s timetable, see how that meshes with your own and whether or not you can marry the two together. If you are aiming to open a location or close a transaction within a certain timeframe, the candidate needs to know that. It all goes back to trust and honesty.”
But it’s not just about establishing this relationship on the phone or over email, face-to-face interaction is also an important component to the process.
“Never underestimate the power of breaking bread. Grab lunch or dinner and get to know your candidates, not just professionally but also their goals, aspirations and their family. If you get to know the person first, then the business side of things will fall into place,” according to Derella.
After establishing that personalized connection and the franchisee expresses interest in continuing the relationship, Derella has one very important piece of advice.
“Call the candidate back! There is a such a high percentage of development departments that don’t even call their prospects back. Call them, email them, make contact,” he stressed. “If you’re using a CRM that allows you to know when a prospect is on your site, use it to your advantage. Utilize those types of outlets to let the candidate know that you’re as interested in them as they are in you.”
And what if a candidate doesn’t show immediate interest? How do you reignite their passion for the brand? Derella suggests finding content that’s relatable to the candidate, like a story about a franchisee with a similar background or a location that’s opening in their area.
“Find different ways to stay in front of your candidates. For example, direct mail can be effective if you’re doing something unique, like sending them promotional products in large packaging that they have to open.”
If that doesn’t work, at some point, you have to put outreach back in the candidate’s hands.
“A lead is never dead until they tell you to stop calling, and while you want to be persistent, you don’t want to get to a point where you become annoying. At some point, you have to let the candidate know that if they’re interested, they should contact you. From here, put them on your occasional ‘once a month email’ list, just to keep your name in front of them.