Zig Ziglar once said, "People don't buy drills, they buy holes."
Carrying his logic into franchising, franchisees don't really invest in franchise opportunities; they invest in the future they are designing for themselves and their families. They buy the next chapter of their lives. Whether you are selling multi-million-dollar hotel investments or home-based businesses with low entry costs, franchise candidates are investing in a perceived solution to a personal problem.
Most franchise candidates invest in franchises for reasons that have nothing to do with business. They only appear business-oriented to the mediocre or underperforming franchise recruiter who is not skilled enough or doesn't care enough to ask the necessary probing questions to uncover what is really driving the candidate.
If recruiters were to build enough trust with candidates so the latter begin to open up, and ask enough probing questions to uncover their motivations for buying a franchise, they would hear of a deep, profound, personal need driving each candidate's investment decision. These predictable personal outcomes are the franchisor's value proposition to the candidate.
SEMPO, a global non-profit organization serving the search engine marketing industry, defines a value proposition as the "sum total of benefits a customer is promised to receive" in return for their associated payment for a product or service. At FPG, we go even further and define it as "the likely outcome candidates will experience if they decide to purchase a specific franchise." Going back to Ziglar, the value proposition is the "hole" and your franchise is the "drill."
While many franchisors are skilled at communicating clear value propositions for their products and services to their customers, fewer seem to grasp how to craft their value propositions as franchise opportunities.
For instance, FPG client Shelly Sun, CEO of BrightStar Healthcare, said the following at a recent FPG webinar: "We know 85 percent of our franchisees had a poor experience with home healthcare, and they tell us they are buying our franchise to make a difference." BrightStar's franchise development team clearly understands they are in the "make money by making a difference in the lives of others" business. Only BrightStar franchisees are in the healthcare business. The typical BrightStar franchise candidates are not those who would ever consider buying a bar or liquor store regardless of the potential financial returns. Nor would they sell cigarettes. Right down to the core of their being, they want to be able to look back on their careers and say, "I provided for my family and made a difference in the community. My life mattered."
Your value proposition should inspire your franchise candidates to action, calling them forward. The BrightStar development team beats their value proposition like a drum throughout their franchise opportunity website, email drip campaign, press releases, and their recruitment process. In the 24 months since FPG helped them craft and communicate their value proposition and design their franchisee recruitment process, BrightStar has more than doubled their franchisee recruitment results while simultaneously raising their candidates' required qualifications. (BrightStar also worked with other third-party firms to improve their lead generation, recruitment, and conversion.)
If you fail to effectively communicate your value proposition in a way that cuts through the information overload of today's online world, you will struggle with lead generation, website conversion, and keeping candidates engaged in your process.
If your value proposition is consistent with the life your target franchise candidates desire for themselves and their families, you will find your candidates responding enthusiastically. They will request information, return calls and emails, move rapidly through the process, attend discovery days, and sign agreements with regularity.
Rehashing tired clichÃ©s such as "buy happiness," "take control of your life," or "be your own boss" no longer works. Candidates will either tune you out altogether or hear something like the muted trumpet ("Wah-wah-wah!") Charlie Brown hears when adults talk.
To get prospects to tune into your story, you have to be specific. You have to make it personal and inspirational. People have to crave your opportunity within the fiber of their being.
Do you know what your franchise delivers in the way of financial rewards, quality of life, and life purpose? Is it defined on your website? Is it woven into your PR and social media content? Do you write about it weekly on your blog? Have you integrated it into your drip campaigns, and do your salespeople know how to communicate your value proposition in a way that inspires action in your candidates?
And, how do you know? Have you mystery shopped your process to determine whether or not the story the candidate hears is consistent with the story you want to be telling?
Joe Mathews is a founding partner of Franchise Performance Group, which specializes in franchisee recruitment, sales, and performance. This article is from his free, downloadable e-book, The Franchise Sales Tipping Point: 10 Keys to Creating a Franchise Sales Breakthrough. Contact him at 860-567-3099 or firstname.lastname@example.org.