Franchisors face a lot of uncertainty today. Competition has grown even more fierce since 2008. Technology has changed how we market to our candidates and prospects (the confluence of social, local and mobile) and that’s only going to continue to accelerate. Meanwhile, you’re feeling the pressure to hit your numbers.
With all that’s happening, you might wonder: Where do we start? At Process Peak we have always believed that your focus in franchise development must be on the most important person in the equation – the franchisee candidate.
This person is on a journey, from somewhere outside your orbit, to (we hope) discovery day, signing their franchise agreement, and a grand opening where they are welcomed as the newest member of your franchise family. This journey can be a long process, and it has predictable phases and obstacles.
These are some areas where you should focus your time, attention and resources:
- Is your concept attractive to your candidate when they are out in the wild, so to speak?
- What are the elements of that attraction? Your concept itself? Social proof? Reviews from happy customers?
- What sorts of details are candidates looking for to confirm that your concept is right for them?
- What sorts of things might they see that could become obstacles?
The single most important element in awarding a franchise today is your ability to create certainty in the qualified candidate’s mind that you can make them successful. The only way you can do that is to through an open dialogue with your candidates.
Every franchisor knows what their candidates really need, psychologically, to reach the required comfort level. The key in this dance between your brand and your qualified candidates is to put them at ease – enough that they will openly share their thoughts, and you can begin to determine if they are a good fit for you and vice versa.
You may also learn that tweaking your discovery process and awarding experience could help you engage candidates who fit better with your brand. That’s OK, because we are all adapting as we go, some more intelligently than others.
Brands that are winning today are able to quickly cycle larger numbers of qualified candidates through their pipeline, determine who’s for real and who’s not, and adjust their approach – from marketing all the way through to operations – as appropriate.
That’s an ongoing process, and as we noted at the top, doing it really well all starts with a focus on the franchisee candidate. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments!