Finding your perfect franchisees is not as easy as it sounds

Many franchisors jump in and allocate their franchise recruitment marketing budget without taking the time to really understand their ideal franchisee profile, causing long-term problems, says Sally Butters, Director of Coconut Media.

Whether you have a brand new franchise opportunity or you have a 100-strong network, taking time out of your everyday workload to research and compile an accurate profile of what your perfect franchisees are like and how they behave during the franchise purchase journey is absolutely invaluable. This will save you a lot of problems in the future, as it not only gives you an insight as to where you should allocate your budget to generate franchise prospects for the best return on investment (ROI) but also ensures that you attract the right franchisees with the right messages and, therefore, successfully grow your network.

Click here to read the full blog post on Select Your Franchise or visit our services section to find out how Coconut Creatives can help you identify your perfect franchisees!

10 top tips for writing a case study

When you’re looking to recruit franchisees, it’s important to make your business something prospects can relate to. A key way of doing this is by publishing case studies so that prospects can see what the people who have chosen your franchise have to say about their experiences. Sally Butters from Coconut Creative discusses how this can benefit your franchise and shares some of her top tips for writing a case study.

Click here to read the full blog post on Select Your Franchise

Start the preparation for a successful 2013 NOW

Many franchisors find the task of planning the next steps in their franchise recruitment a daunting task but with just a few simple steps you can lay the groundwork for another successful year, says Sally Butters, Director of Media at Coconut Creatives.

October through to April is the most important time of year to focus on franchise recruitment. As we approach Christmas and New Year many people will start to re-evaluate their life choices, and a big part of this is their career. We are all familiar with cyclical national headlines such as ‘new year, new career’, but how you maximise your opportunities to capitalise on franchise recruitment during this time starts right now.

Click here to read the full blog post on Select Your Franchise

Finding your perfect franchisees – Sally Anne Butters writes for The Franchise Magazine, April 2012

Many franchisors jump in allocating their franchise recruitment marketing budget without taking the time to really understand their ideal franchisee profile. Whether you have a brand new franchise opportunity or you have a 100-strong network, taking time out of your everyday workload to research and compile an accurate profile of what your perfect franchisees are like and how they behave during the franchise purchase journey is absolutely invaluable.

Build at least 3 perfect franchisee profiles for your franchise brand

There is never one simple perfect franchisee profile for any franchise brand so whilst a franchisor might think they know what they are looking for in a franchisee, these are likely to be general ideas rather than built on strong research and proof.

If you already have franchisees, select your top 10 performing franchisees and undertake some research to find out more about them; their skills, expectations, background, personal interests, media consumption and their journeys to purchasing your franchise.

If you don’t have any franchisees yet or if you think you don’t have enough to obtain an educated set of results, you can also extend your research to some of your hottest prospects who have been through a substantial amount of your recruitment process.

You will then be able to create at least 3 profiles of what your perfect franchisees look like.

What to do when you know who you are looking for

These profiles are not set in stone and some elements from profile 3 could be found with attributes from profile 2 (and so on) but getting them down on paper will give your franchise recruitment marketing strategy a focus. They can help to navigate around where to advertise and with what messages to make your franchise most attractive to people you already know could have great success in partnership with you.

If you uncover some similar traits then act on them within your recruitment process. Here are just a couple of examples:

Tailor your Discovery Days – if you have lots of franchisees who play golf then host a Discover Day at a golf club in a region where you wish to recruit;

Integrate case studies – prepare a bank of case studies of current franchisees so you have at least one that each of your perfect franchisee prospects can relate to.

Play to your strengths

There will also be some attributes that you know your franchisees must have to just get their franchise off the ground, some key elements that can’t be learnt and may not be found during a 1-1 meeting. Rosemary Bookkeeping is one business where franchisees must be good at networking to start building their client base; they must have the confidence to stand up and introduce themselves at a networking meeting or Chamber of Commerce breakfast club. Rosemary take the opportunity at their Discovery Days to run a mock networking exercise where they can see if the attendees have the basic skills and confidence that will stand them in good stead for business development. Think of what similar qualifying tests you could devise to help you identify if a prospect is perfect for you!

Many people may think that they are your perfect prospects and, for some mature brands such as O2 and McDonald’s, it may be a case of ruling out prospects, rather than qualifying them in, at the beginning of the recruitment process. They may request that prospects provide an evidence-based report on their suitability to be a franchisee and they can rule out those who cannot complete this task.

It’s up to you

The time you take in getting the basics right will pay dividends. Taking a couple of days to assess your perfect franchisee profiles every six months will end up saving you and your franchise recruitment team several hours each week in dealing with unsuitable candidates and give you reliable information on where to target your recruitment budget and with what primary messages.

Get Linked In to sales tools – Sarah Carlile writes for Franchisor News

Sarah Carlile is a regular contributor to Franchisor News on the subject of franchise recruitment. She is the Founding Partner of Coconut Creatives, the BFA’s only accredited marketing company that offers 1 to 1 franchise recruitment projects and group franchise marketing workshops for franchisors.
In this feature, Sarah discusses the use of social media and its impact on franchise recruitment, how it should be combined with offline activities and how franchisors can use it to train their franchisees to be more successful.
There is a great synergy that now exists between on and offline networking. If you learn how to harness this for your franchise, you’ll recruit more franchisees and you will be better equipped to train your franchisees to become more successful.

How should online social media be used?
The most obvious use of social media for businesses is to create and build a number of ‘raving fan’ networks across various platforms such as FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube and Linked In. These end up being networks of people who know you, have met you or know someone who recommends you and so they will listen to what you have to say, as long as you keep it brief, interesting and non-salesy.

Many people become so focused on utilising the different social networks online that they attack it in a rather hap hazard way: posting updates and tweeting messages that haven’t been thoroughly thought through. We say integrate it into your marketing. This way, you will know what you are going to say and when and you’ll also have a better handle on whether it is working for you.

By making social media an official part of your marketing plan, you can measure its effectiveness, just like having a listing on a franchise recruitment website and measuring how many leads it delivers. The first step to doing this is to assign a ‘Social Media Keeper’. This can be any person within your company that has 30 minutes a day or more to devote to updating your social network mediums. You pick the message and they send it out via the various channels you want to use. You can even hand over business cards you acquire through offline networking and exhibitions and get them growing your networks online for you by adding the details. By doing this you bring offline, online in a better structure. But where do you start to make it effective?

The perfect intro
When people find you or look you up for the first time, is it clear what you do? Is it clear how you do it and who your customers are? Your profile and key information should be planned and thought through carefully. We always work with franchisors in the morning session of our marketing workshop on their ‘perfect intro’ which is initially to support franchise recruitment through introducing new prospects to the franchise in under 1 minute. It seems ideal though that this perfect intro, once created, is used in many other places. This keeps your messaging consistent (one of the fundamentals of good marketing). When writing your perfect intro, you want to aim for about 200 words, broken down into 4 key areas (feel free to email me for a template example):

1.    Clearly state who you are, followed by:
2.    What you do and for who, followed by:
3.    Why you are credible, different and trustworthy, followed by
4.    An example of how it has worked for a customer – this gives credibility and believability.

It is definitely a good idea to spend quality time creating this and getting feedback on how it comes across and then edit it accordingly.

Once perfected, this introduction can be used again and again. It is my favourite phrase – “create once and use many times”! Integrate it into magazine features and show guide listings, use it on your website, on leaflets and literature, as long as you follow the 4 stage format and tweak the length, it will work every time.

Smart franchisors also choose to utilise their perfect intro as a training tool for the people they take along to help them on their exhibition stand at shows and events. By doing this, you suddenly increase the consistency of the way prospects are dealt with. You increase your success rate as people grasp quicker what it is you do and why you are different.

Regional use of Social Media by Franchisees
Just like you, your franchisees will be keen to use social media. Some will have a better idea than others how this can be done. The important thing to emphasis, is how to use it to aid sales. It is vital that you provide a good steer on which media to use and how to create their pages on platforms like FaceBook. We have seen cases where a franchisee has successfully (and unintentionally) taken over the franchisor’s network size and voice on a social media platform which then creates confusion for customers trying to locate their local branch and also for potential franchisees trying to locate the franchisor.

Linked In, FaceBook, Twitter or any other online tool should be used in conjunction with three other key areas when operated on a regional/ area specific basis. These are:

1.    The franchisees community network
2.    The franchisees professional network
3.    The franchisees immediate network (family and friends)

When networking is explained in this way, franchisees start to clearly see the role that their chosen online medium can play for them to support sales. It also identity’s the other, sometimes offline areas that also need attention and integrating in with online. For example, if a lead source for a franchisee is to attend business breakfast networking events to build relationships for future sales, these people should also be networked with on Linked In.

It is also highly likely that a franchisee will have a number of potential customers within their own community network (such as fellow golfers, children’s parents and so on). By using online channels to softly inform them of their service, they keep business online and pleasure offline which, when integrated in this way, often results in additional sales as awareness increases.

As tools on and offline expand, we need to utilise many more of them to maintain business growth. Franchisors need to consider the impact of these tools on their franchise network and customers and how they can control and monitor their growth to support sales all round.

To find out other ways to improve your franchise recruitment, attend a Franchise Marketing Workshop with Sarah Cook, Sally Butters and the rest of the Coconut team. Email or call 01725 511673.