The Four Steps to Lead Generation Success, Part 4: Wow 'Em!

The three previous issues of the Franchise Update Sales Report (1) introduced the topic of lead generation success; (2) covered Step 1 and the beginning of Step 2 in successful lead generation; and (3) showed the importance of knowing what your franchise buyers want. This fourth installment builds on those ideas, showing how you can "wow" your candidates and the importance of how you present your concept to them.

Billboard the "wow" factors your buyers want

Promote your top attractions in every way you can: in your sales collateral, presentations, public relations, and by educating staff employees. These "wow" factors, or benefits, will drive qualified candidates to join your system.

Survey your top producers to find out what it was about the business that attracted them. Often you'll discover some key motivators that you didn't realize were so important to your franchisees. Your existing owners will help you be more successful in approaching future owners.

Several years ago, I worked with a regional concept that wanted to expand nationally. The brand was a storefront that prepares standardized legal documents for half or a third the price an attorney would charge. Surprisingly, in interviewing the successful franchisees, we found a strong element of personal reward from owning the business. This business benefit was noticeably absent in the brand's recruitment approach: the owners' satisfaction in helping a huge market of extremely appreciative customers who couldn't otherwise afford the service. The franchisor discovered that personal fulfillment was a strong selling point with franchisees and added this marketing motivator--with customer testimonials--to their recruiting materials.

In polling the better franchisees of a service concept, we discovered their business was ideal for family participation: the franchise was home-based, and provided part- and full-time opportunities and flexibility for parents, sons, and daughters. Another great "wow" factor to market to their targeted owners!

So ask your good franchisees what they like about the business, what attracted them to your franchise, how it has benefited them and their family, and what it has done for them personally and professionally. Incorporate these buying motivators into your marketing and sales materials and you'll deliver a more powerful and convincing message to desirable prospects. Your credibility only grows as franchisees reinforce these "wow" factors during the validation process.

Start-up franchisors may know 60 to 80 percent of the key benefits of owning their franchise business. That's a good start! It does require adjustments until you know who your ideal franchise owners will be. Once you identify your first successful franchisees, package their positive experiences and testimonials into your recruitment messages. You'll notice the improvement in presenting your franchise concept to more qualified prospects.

Also consider using a franchise research firm that can help you develop your franchisee success profile through profiling and satisfaction surveys.

Do your homework, or you'll pay the price

Years back, executives from a young franchise approached me in a state of total frustration, complaining about the poor quality of candidates they were attracting and the few qualified ones who weren't buying. Their concept "had legs," but it just wasn't promoted properly. Their marketing program featured semi-absentee ownership, promoting owners in t-shirts, sandals, and taking vacations. This hobby-type approach turned off serious business buyers and attracted dreamers. Too much emphasis was placed on lifestyle, with little focus on the business model. The executives simply didn't do their homework in advance and needed to reposition their message to get back on track. This was an expensive lesson, costing thousands of dollars in recruitment and turning off qualified buyers who could have been royalty-producing franchisees.

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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