Using Profiling Tools To Help Qualify Franchise Candidates

Many franchisors use behavioral surveys as part of their franchisee selection process. This can be a smart investment, considering the size of the payoff and the risk. Understanding the personality makeup of your top franchise owners can guide you to more intelligent decision-making when awarding your franchises. Knowing more about a candidate's personality makeup, goal orientation, sociability, and analytical and compliance traits leads to better choices, benefiting both parties.

Behavioral surveys can provide effective insights into the natural characteristics of potential franchisees throughout the qualification process. Do they have the drive and dominance factors you are seeking? Are they too independent or too indecisive to operate your franchise? Do they have the social skills you demand to build relationships with repeat customers?

This behavioral information brings you closer to the real person who sits before you at Discovery Day, when both interested parties are still interviewing one other. This is the final "date" before the franchise marriage begins. So the more you learn about your prospective partner along the way, the better the decision you both can make.

During the group and individual meetings at Discovery Day, for example, a candidate's behavior may or may not mirror who that person "really is." You'll witness greater and lesser performances, depending on the adeptness of candidates to present themselves to the home office staff. And how many times have we seen a borderline candidate barely squeak through the approval process, who then turns out to be one of your best and brightest franchisees?

Then again, we have all been surprised by candidates who were masters of the interview, only to pay the consequences as they struggled to keep their head above water as your franchisee. I'll never forget the dashing, charismatic new franchisee that wowed our franchise approval committee at American Advertising Distributors, a marketing franchisor. He had all the right moves - and better yet, was the leader and motivator in his corporate class. This guy had it all, so much so that he never even opened his franchise, walking away from the business before he started!

We have all been duped on occasion, so it's imperative to minimize these painful experiences, which can be very costly for both you and the franchisee - especially when awarding master or regional development agreements, where the stakes are much higher and a bad choice can damage your franchise expansion in a major market.

Personality and behavioral surveys are helpful in discovering who people really are. Knowing the inherent characteristics of interested candidates provides you with another for determining whether they may fit your owner profile.

One cautionary note: Behavioral surveys reflect natural behavioral tendencies only, and should be used as indicators, not decision-makers. Profiling firms stress this point as well, since all of us have adaptive "learned behaviors" that can override our natural traits. I am not a naturally social person, yet I have consciously learned social skills that are now effortless with others. Some older tennis fans may remember watching Jimmy Connors achieve greater levels of success once he learned to control the temper tantrums of his early career. Bjorn Borg was inherently in total control of his behavior, so much so that he was coined "the Silent Assassin" of professional tennis!

Accord Management Systems, Caliper, and Franchise Navigator are some of the profiling services that specialize in assisting franchisors identify and benchmark their franchisee success profiles.

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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