The Four Steps to Lead Generation Success, Part 3: Know Your Buyer

The previous two editions of the Franchise Update Sales Report introduced the topic and covered Step 1 and the beginning of Step 2 in successful lead generation. This third installment covers the essential element of understanding your buyer's motivations.

What are business buyers looking for?

So what is it entrepreneurs are seeking in owning a business? What is it that is important to them and their families? Why are they disturbed with their current situation, and what attracts them to your franchise offering? Decades of experience at thousands of franchise organizations has uncovered the basic needs and desires shared by business seekers. Here are some of the common motivators for owning a business:

  • Being my own boss
  • Controlling my own future and security
  • Tired of company politics
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Family participation in the business
  • More time at home with my family
  • Building equity in my own business
  • Opportunity for new challenge and growth
  • Greater financial opportunities and rewards
  • No more traveling or long commuting
  • Being part of my local community
  • Having fun operating my business
  • Free weekends, daytime business hours
  • Personal fulfillment, enjoyment, and satisfaction
  • Make a difference in the lives of my customers and employees
  • Unable to find employment, so I need to buy a job

What are franchise buyers also looking for?

The phenomenal attraction of franchising centers around its business format for success. It can be bought, learned, and replicated by aspiring business owners. Certainly, franchising isn't for everyone, but it does afford a blueprint for business without many of the risks, expenses, and frustrations of "going solo" as an independent. Here are some of the most common benefits that motivate people to buy a franchised business:

  • Owning a business with a proven system of success
  • Brand recognition and reputation of a franchise
  • Opportunity to acquire better site locations
  • Professional start-up and ongoing programs
  • Buying advantages of group purchasing
  • Competitive advantages of research and development
  • Increased equity and resale value of a franchise
  • Marketing benefits and discounts of group advertising
  • Profit from experience and networking with other franchisees
  • Save time and money with a tested business plan
  • Avoid costly mistakes the franchisor has already made

The market pioneer vs. the "me too" buyer

Start-up franchisors often attract franchisee leaders, not followers, with their initial marketing efforts. Leaders are more self-starters, take greater risks, embrace new challenges, and look for first-to-market opportunities that can offer higher financial and personal rewards. Speak to these movers and shakers. The critical key in awarding these first franchisees is gaining their total commitment and buy-in to follow your business blueprint, policies, and procedures. They have to understand their role is to execute your success formula, not to rebuild or change it!

New franchise concepts can be ideal for these higher-risk buyers who want to be the "first on the block," bringing a better service to the community or a first-of-its-kind to the consumer. Young franchisors need to recognize and focus on this slice of the market during their start-up phase. Their marketing and sales presentations should paint a picture of their extraordinary new opportunity, while convincing the buyer of the credibility of their system and providing realistic assurances of its future success.

On the other hand, big brand buyers are the "me too's," whose needs require they join franchises familiar in their local marketplace. They are more conservative, needing franchise track records and consumer recognition before taking the entrepreneurial leap. If you are a start-up franchise, don't fall into the common trap of trying to compete for these cautious logo buyers. Let 'em go, because you just can't win the race with them. They want to be part of the crowd, not the leader. They may be a great catch for your concept, but you're a few years too early for their tastes.

In rare instances, victory is just a matter of time! Two years after a new lost an interested operator, he came back and bought. The franchise had grown up and now met his performance and credibility requirements.

What owner benefits will attract buyers to my franchise?

Here's the good news! Most buyers won't find what they want in your franchise concept. Your challenge is to stay away from these millions of opportunity-seekers who aren't the right match for you. Start-up franchisors need to weed out the misfits quickly and establish their ideal candidate profile to ensure healthy system growth.

Your success depends on your ability to attract highly desirable candidates to your franchise, candidates who will appreciate and embrace the ownership opportunities your business concept offers. You must clearly identify, define, and promote your outstanding points of distinction in your franchise recruitment program. Turn on the hot buttons of qualified buyers and your recruitment marketing takes off!

Next month: More on "Lead Generation, Steps 1 and 2.": Billboard the "wow" factors your buyers want; Do your homework, or you'll pay the price

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

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