Lead Generation Checklist: Time To Review Your Process?

The following is a review of the lead generation principles and best practices outlined in my book, "Grow To Greatness: How to build a world class franchise faster." For a more in-depth examination of successful lead-generation practices, ordering information is available at the end of this checklist.

Embrace the four successful lead generation principles that high-growth franchisors use to expand their brands:

  1. Define your market of qualified prospects.
  2. Create your message that motivates buyer response.
  3. Determine the lead sources that reach your buyers.
  4. Measure results to improve performance.

These are the steps to achieving marketing success. Stray from this formula and your lead generation will suffer.

People buy opportunities, not businesses. They are motivated largely by what the franchise can help them achieve, not what the franchise does. Ownership advantages, lifestyle benefits, and self-fulfillment drive decisions that buyers make in selecting the franchise program that suits them. Don't second-guess the answers: interview existing and new franchisees, as well as new prospects, and you'll strengthen your recruitment approach.

The five cornerstones of a franchise recruiting message are instrumental in attracting your ideal prospects:

  1. What is your opportunity?
  2. Is there a market for your concept?
  3. What are the ownership benefits?
  4. Is your company credible?
  5. How can I qualify?

Carefully craft the answers to trigger your buyers' hot buttons, and the quality and quantity of your prospects can multiply. Invest the time, research, and to get it right. It's the fuel that will drive your marketing campaigns.

The quality of your marketing material reflects who you are. Your presentation must win first or second position with your qualified prospect, whether it's your recruitment website, a trade show booth, or your franchise brochure arriving at their doorstep. Competition can be fierce, and only the best prepared are in the running.

Recruitment is the direct response business. You'll achieve greater success by employing the principles of buyer motivation and testing and measuring ad results. Quality lead generation is all that counts. Find out what works best by changing ad approaches, running different headlines, and experimenting with your visuals. You can improve your lead performance by leveraging today's online technology, which allows you to monitor prospect activity on website pages and banners, and track the percentage of visitors who convert into leads.

Build an intelligent lead generation budget based on your lead and sales performance history. If you know your acquisition cost per sale, and which lead generation sources are producing these buyers and for how much, then budgeting is a simple matter of metrics. The problem for many franchisors is that multi-tracking of sales sources does require technology and management diligence. According to Franchise Update's 2013 Annual Franchise Development Report, more than one in three (35 percent) of franchisors still don't track their sales costs, and even more don't track their sales cost per media source. Those of you who do measure performance are saving money, increasing sales, and beating up on your competitors who don't.

Grassroots marketing works in recruiting franchisees. For start-up and bootstrap franchisors with minimal recruitment budgets, it's the only way to grow. For mature franchisors targeting unsold local territories, it's the only way to complete their growth. It's the bread and butter of successful area developers and master franchisees. But it does require more planning, personal involvement, and time commitment. An aggressive franchisee and customer referral program can produce 30 percent or more new franchise owners.

The three keys for e-recruitment success are:

  • Build a response-driven website
  • Market your website effectively
  • Convert inquiries into sales

In today's environment, the Internet strongly influences how franchise prospects research and respond to franchise opportunities. Consequently, the marketing function has expanded dramatically. Marketing execs have to attract prospective candidates, trigger responses, and provide systematic follow-up and analysis to support the efforts of the sales staff.

Buying advertising is a systematic process. All media purchases require frequency to test their success. No two lead generation plans are the same, so copying competitors is not the answer. Monitor ad results at least quarterly. Dump the losers, boost the winners, and test additional options. Never use one lead generation source, however tempting. If it unexpectedly turns sour you're out of the recruitment business.

Media monitoring is a multi-sourcing task. Document all the marketing venues that push a buyer to your concept. Continually ask, "What source(s) prompted you to find out about our franchise opportunity?" on your initial inquiry forms, applications, at Discovery Day, and in class. Credit four lead sources if a new franchisee initially saw your magazine ad, attended a trade show, read a success story about a franchisee, and then inquired online. Remember, the Internet is often the transmitter, not the originator, of a prospect inquiry.

This is an excerpt from my Amazon.com best-selling book, "Grow to Greatness: How to build a world-class franchise system faster." To order copies, click here.

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