Are you conveying the correct message about your brand? Are you taking advantage of your opening programs to get new franchise owners to monthly breakeven more quickly? How long does it take your prospect to understand the long- and short-term financial opportunities of your franchise concept?
Franchise buyers have changed their buying habits over the past couple of years because of the economy and the job market. The main difference is that a much higher percentage of potential buyers have lost their employment and are now cast into the "job" and franchise market with very little up-front planning. These buyers have a need for income sooner, so the long-term financial reward of building a business over the next three to five years has a different meaning for them.
It's been a long time since I've heard a prospect mention "I want a business that makes me feel good," or "This will fulfill a lifelong passion" and have that reason--which is an important one--be number one or two on their list of reasons to buy. I believe money has moved in front, and that a quicker breakeven is becoming more important today because of the tight capital available for business financing. I encourage you to present the financial numbers to qualified prospects sooner, rather than later, to get them focused on your brand.
Consider using your company's FPR in your marketing materials. You can do this on your website in a testimonial format by one of your franchisees, or be more direct and put gross sales number on the page.
If you don't have an FPR in your FDD, get one! If you do have an FPR, consult your legal advisors and learn how you can use it legally in your marketing materials. What if you could say that your concept has a 90-day monthly break-even success rate of 85 percent? That would be a compelling statement for an interested franchise buyer!
During franchisee validation calls are your franchisees aware of your Item 19 statement? Have you thought of how that could assist the candidate and the franchisee on the call? Do your owners know if they are included in the FDD, or if they are in the upper, middle, or lower categories? Sales professionals, candidates, and franchisees should be on the same page during this critical process. Work with your candidates on how to ask the earnings questions, and also work with your franchisees so it will be more comfortable for them to field those touchy questions.
The timing to deliver this information and the format to do so will differ from concept to concept. I've noticed an increase of FPRs, Item 7 charts, and more detailed information on websites and brochures during the past six to eight months. If buyers need to make money more quickly than ever, why not show them the way?
I now return to my outrageous opening statement that "It's easier to sell franchise concepts that make money!" Call me crazy if you like, but it's hard to argue. If your concept is one that is making money in today's marketplace (and quickly), why not tell the world? If your concept is one that doesn't, fix it so it does.
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