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.