Selling Franchises to Younger Buyers Means Change
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Selling Franchises to Younger Buyers Means Change

Selling Franchises to Younger Buyers Means Change

Today’s younger franchise owners are looking for more than just a franchise that will be profitable. They also are looking for an exciting opportunity that means something personal to them and to their customers and communities. Here are some steps that can excite these value-centered potential owners about your franchise and encourage them to buy.

When considering a franchise to buy, Baby Boomers and other more senior potential owners like to investigate financials, check your Net Promoter Scores, and ask current owners about their success as part of your franchise family.

Today’s younger potential buyers also take those steps, but they have other interests too, as you know if you have spoken with them at franchise expos and in other settings. They are the ambitious members of Generation X and Gen Y/Millennials. Some members of this cohort have emigrated to the U.S. and are looking for business opportunities, frequently in franchising. In addition to a sound business, many are looking for some specific “extras” that members of older groups might not be as interested in.

A company with a purpose and mission that they value. It could be to educate children in a community, to offer fitness options that appeal to serious athletes, to remediate buildings and sites in ways that are environmentally responsible, or to offer a better quality of life and innovative treatment options for populations suffering with health problems. You don’t have to offer multiple meaningful value propositions to all of these special interests. You only have to identify some uniquely meaningful aspect of owning one of your franchises and market strategically to the right populations.

Autonomy, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Some of today’s younger owners are content to remain in one location, grow a franchise business, and stay for the long term. But many of today’s potential younger owners want more. They hope to expand to new locations and find new opportunities. So as you sell to them, stress the limitless opportunities that await them as owners of your brand.

Technology that excites them. Many of today’s younger business owners are excited by technology. They grew up using it and want more than just modernized cash registers. They want to be involved with more advanced systems: AI-enhanced buying experiences for customers; computerized systems that fit customers to clothing or bicycles and exercise equipment; apps that make owning your products interactive; and other modern state-of-the-art technology tools. Modern marketing and management methods also can be part of the technology experience they are seeking. If you can fascinate them by stressing marketing and selling programs that employ social media and apps, you will gain their interest and attention.

A meaningful human connection with the franchise company and other owners. Because many younger owners want to be part of a team, invest effort into building strong one-on-one personal relationships between them and members of your top executive team, and with salespeople too. Start building those ties during the selling process. Franchise advisory councils offer another compelling reason to become part of your franchise family. Remember that younger owners more often want to be part of a community and are less attracted to the idea of “going it alone.” Also encourage potential owners to speak with a number of your current owners during the buying process because you are a franchise family, not a group of unconnected owners.

Excellent, modern training. All franchisees want good training, the kind that makes them feel more confident of success. Younger potential owners will be attracted by modern training options that let them train on their smartphones, tablets, or computers, and that allow them to train their employees similarly – along with other forms of technology-enabled training such as gamification and learning management systems. As you interact with younger potential owners, stress that your company will invest in their success by offering excellent ongoing computer- and cloud-based training technologies.

New questions for new buyers

To attract younger candidates, also update the questions you’ve been asking candidates from previous generations. Here are some to get you started:

• This is what our company stands for. Does it resonate with you and your values? How?

• What is important to you?

• What excites you every day and what do you love to do?

• What have you liked the most about your previous work?

• Where do you hope to be in one year, in two years, and further into the future?

• Here is a copy of our franchise manual. How would you expand it to make it more personally exciting and rewarding?

• Which of our products and services excite you the most? Are there any you would like to add or extend? Any you would like to modernize or eliminate?

• Do you have any suggestions about how you would like to apply your knowledge of technology to aspects of our business like selling, distributing, or anything else?

• How do you picture a day you would spend as an owner?

• We have a very active franchise council where you can share ideas and insights with other owners. Are you interested in joining?

• If there is one thing you could change about our franchise, what would it be?

Members of younger generations bring remarkable skills and energy to the franchises they own. They can, literally, become the future of your franchise if you recruit and sell to them in the right way – and support them with the right opportunities after they come on board.

Evan Hackel, a 35-year franchising veteran, is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company, and principal and founder of Ingage Consulting. He is a speaker, author, and host of “Training Unleashed,” a podcast covering training for business. This article is adapted from his latest book, Ingaging Leadership Meets the Younger Generation. Contact him at, follow him at @ehackel, or call 781-820-7609.

Published: July 4th, 2022

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