Keeping a Personal Touch in an Era of Automation

We asked Kurt M. Landwehr, Vice President of Franchise Development at Regis Corp., about how he maintains a one-on-one personal connection with prospective franchisees at a time when marketing automation is becoming more and more prevalent. Here's what he had to say.

Although technology has dramatically changed the way we conduct our business, from lead generation to awarding a franchise, what has not changed is the importance of human connections throughout the process. At Regis Corp. we are committed to using technology as much as possible to increase the speed and of important information, and to enrich our candidates' experience in the discovery process. Yet, technology does not take the place of people, it simply enhances it!

We have a very specific investigation process that we lead all of our candidates through. The process is designed to share as much detailed information as possible to help people make an informed business decision. We combine the use of technology (webinars, for example) with simple telephone communication, face-to-face meetings, and extended one-on-one time at discovery day. All are designed to enhance the connections we make with our prospects.

Where we really leverage technology in the development process is with lead generation. Gone are the days where we sifted through stacks of unqualified Internet leads, trying to find the diamond in the rough. Today we deploy a digital lead-generation campaign targeted at a very specific audience with a very specific message, which produces a much higher quality candidate entering our process.

We also leverage technology when working with It is much easier to keep consultants informed on our brands by holding Lunch & Learns, Consultant Cafes, and other educational opportunities, all done with the use of technology. We recognize that today's professional can help us target specific markets for growth and introduce us to high-quality candidates who would never have thought of hair care on their own.

In my nearly 20 years in franchise development, if there is one thing that I have learned, it's that people make buying decisions based on emotion. Big parts of the emotional connection that our candidates have to our brands are the people they meet during the discovery process. Those relationships are not limited to their development representative. They can be corporate employees, franchisees, vendors, and even other prospective franchisees they meet along the way! We demonstrate the depth and breadth of the organization to make people feel comfortable with their decision to move forward with Regis Corp.

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