Some people say the image of the sales funnel is no longer useful. They might be visualizing it in a collapsed and over-generalized way, basically like this:
- Generate leads
- Qualifying leads
- Sell franchises
And the process is that simple, once you boil it down. But there’s much more to consider if you’re going to generate lots of quality leads, and have greater success awarding more franchises to qualified candidates. The masters of franchise development now see the funnel as much wider. Let’s start at the top:
Brand perception – People are talking, texting and leaving reviews about your brand at Facebook, Yelp, Google+ and other online sites. What are they saying and how does that affect the public perception of your brand? This has an impact not only on consumers at the unit level, but individuals who are your potential franchisee candidates.
Candidates are also hearing about your brand through referrals, portals, trade shows and your outreach through various channels. What are they hearing?
Google search – Candidates (the smart, proactive, well-capitalized, experienced ones) are looking you up on the Internet, digging into online forums or anywhere else where people have opinions about your brand. Most of what they find about your brand is not under your control. How well are you managing your reputation?
Franchise website – Now we’re getting somewhere, provided your site is a compelling presentation of your brand promise, and is optimized to convert qualified visitors into interested candidates. What percentage of your site visitors are you currently converting?
Brand validation — As the stakes get higher, the candidate looks more closely at every aspect of your operation, and again consults the usual social media channels. Who and what do you want them to hear? What do you want them to know, feel and do? Are you managing this process optimally?
Inquiry form – Once a candidate inquires about your opportunity, what is their experience like? Is it seamless and impressive? Or fragmented and confusing? This is your pipeline. To optimize it you must look at the data and see where candidates fall out. Improve that part of the experience and you will see improvement in your bottom line.
Application – Now you have a bona fide candidate and due diligence is under way in earnest. Every step of your process must be completely buttoned up, that is, professional, seamless and brand-congruent. If you can surprise and delight your candidates by making this as easy as possible, you stand to gain more franchises.
Brand validation – Again, your candidates will be going to their online channels to make sure they are making a smart choice. This is proactive validation.
Discovery Day – You know the drill: Knock their socks off with a compelling presentation about why your opportunity is a great fit
New franchisee – Yippie!
Onboarding – The goal line is no place to fumble. Set your franchisee up for success with an onboarding process that is a seamless extension of everything they’ve experienced around your brand thus far.
Grand opening – More and more of these, please.
This is the reality of franchise development now. And every franchise sales funnel has leaks. Want to find yours? Stop by our booth at the IFA Annual Convention in New Orleans Feb. 20 – 25 and we’ll give you your complimentary Franchise Sales Funnel Analysis, in person.
Not going to make it to IFA? We’ll miss you, but no problem – complete the form below and we’ll set up a time to conduct your Franchise Sales Funnel Analysis over the phone.
Either way, fix your funnel now!