Converting Leads into Franchisees: Franchise Sales Best Practices
Franchise sales drive the expansion of all franchise networks.
But once you’ve attracted qualified franchise leads, how do you actually convince them to sign the contract and become a franchisee?
The fact is the transition from lead to franchisee doesn’t always follow a straight path.
In this post, we’ll explore various best practices that will make it easier for franchise candidates to say “yes” to your business concept.
Here are some tactics to streamline the process of qualifying and closing more franchise leads .
Once you acquire a new franchise lead, you’ll need to begin the lead-nurture process.
This means providing leads with relevant information about your franchise, helping them reach a well-informed decision about whether your concept suits their goals and needs.
Another core reason for lead nurturing is to develop a genuine connection with potential candidates. After all, trust is a decisive factor in any sales process. The more you can build a genuine rapport with your leads, the more willing they’ll be to do business with you.
As soon as a new lead enters your pipeline, it’s a good idea to arrange an initial discovery call as quickly as possible. The purpose of this call shouldn’t be to make a hard sell. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to give leads more context about your brand, explain your value proposition, and answer general questions. Leads should end the call with a clear understanding of the next steps and a strong impression that you sincerely care about their interests.
Speed is important here for at least two reasons. First, serious candidates are likely to already be in conversation with other competitors (this is especially true if you acquired the lead at a trade show). Second, the sooner you make contact with new prospects, the sooner you can filter between realistic candidates and those who aren’t qualified.
A key aspect of lead nurturing is to paint a compelling picture of your brand. A story that humanizes your business and creates excitement about the prospect of joining your franchise.
Provide leads with information about how your business was founded, what problem it solves in the market, what differentiates it from other players, and what its values and aspirations are.
You can share your story in email drip campaigns, on your website, in your company podcast, and on social media channels—basically, anywhere your leads consume content about your brand.
Another powerful method for earning the trust and enthusiasm of leads is to share success stories from your existing franchise owners.
Success stories provide concrete evidence that your business concept works. They instill confidence in potential franchisees by demonstrating how other franchise owners have followed the same path and achieved their goals.
These stories also show that your business is transparent about its operations. A good success story doesn’t gloss over the real-world challenges that your franchisees have faced. Instead, they shed light on how your systems and support helped them overcome any obstacles.
You can convey success stories through case studies, testimonials, and video or audio interviews.
Eventually, qualified leads will be ready to get on a sales call.
To streamline this process, we recommend you first provide interested leads with a cheat sheet (or video) addressing common questions, concerns, and objections that prospects tend to raise.
Doing this saves time on calls and ensures the conversation stays focused on what your prospect hopes to achieve and how you can support them.
Here are some topics you may want to address in your pre-sales call guide:
- The opportunity within your industry
- The competitive landscape
- Your typical unit performance and financial projections
- The estimated initial investment required
- Your royalty structure
- Ongoing training and support
- Marketing and advertising
- Real estate considerations
- Legal considerations (like the need for a franchise attorney)
- Details about your franchise disclosure document (FDD) and terms
- Exit strategies and resale options
Remember, honesty and transparency are vital for building trust and help both parties assess whether the partnership is suitable.
Finally, take note of any useful feedback or questions that come up during these conversations and incorporate them into your cheat sheet for calls with future prospects.
Franchise discovery days are another way to nurture potential franchisees and set the stage for a sale.
These in-person events give you the opportunity to showcase your business concept to serious candidates. They often involve introducing candidates to your team, giving them a tour of your facilities, and providing detailed presentations covering the ins and outs of your franchise.
It’s worth hosting one-on-one discovery events wherever possible (as opposed to group sessions). This makes it easier to get to know your candidate and lets you provide more detailed and relevant answers to their questions.
Before a qualified candidate makes the final decision to join your franchise, they’ll likely have some questions about onboarding.
Of course, there are several good business reasons why your onboarding process should be as frictionless as possible. But one of them is that an overly complicated process may deter otherwise ready-to-go candidates. In other words, streamlined onboarding can be a significant selling point for new franchisees.
When designing your onboarding process, keep in mind the following:
- Offer resources and materials in accessible formats to encourage well-structured, self-paced learning.
- Ensure all material is presented in clear, easy-to-understand words. Avoid jargon or technical terms wherever you can.
- Provide hands-on, practical training so candidates can apply their learning directly.
- Use user-friendly tools and technology to make life easier for franchisees.
- Provide ongoing support throughout the onboarding journey (like mentorship or a helpline) so franchisees never feel stuck.
Generating leads for your franchise is one thing. Convincing them to commit to a franchise agreement is another thing entirely.
Developing organized systems for lead nurturing and conversion will save you time and allow you to effectively recruit more qualified candidates.
And remember, if you’re looking for expert support in building a lead-generating franchise marketing strategy, feel free to contact HigherVisibility today.