We all know a sales process is mandatory for successful recruitment. But many continue to tilt at windmills with their marketing, not realizing that successful lead generation also demands an effective, step-by-step process. Those who embrace this methodology and performance metrics can increase prospecting success by 30 percent or more. Here's a time-tested, four-part approach to lead generation that can deliver more qualified buyers for your sales team at lower costs.
Define your market of qualified prospects. You can't effectively advertise until you understand who your franchise candidate is. If you don't, marketing efforts can be disastrous! It's like being in a boxing match blindfolded with the lights out, with no clear target to punch. You'll be working with the wrong prospects and wasting a bundle of money and time. Worse yet, you'll award franchises to unqualified owners, a painful mistake not easy to resolve. Craft your franchisee success profile first, before you even think about promoting your franchise opportunity. If you lose sight of your buyer, you can't generate the quality leads you desire.
Once you know your market of desired prospects, how can you influence their thinking to take a look at your franchise concept? Approaching key buyers with a misguided message is a recipe for failure. Selling Power magazine published a landmark survey of 445 top sales executives representing 31 different industries. The research was conducted by sales experts and scholars from leading business schools. The study revealed an astounding fact: "Only 56 percent of the sales organizations say their marketing collateral is designed the way their customers buy." Franchise companies are often guilty of building lead generation programs without defining what successfully prompts their buyers to respond. The best way to drive leads? Know what drives your buyers! Promote the benefits they want and you can deliver. Survey your successful franchisees to help discover what the "wow" factors of your opportunity are.
Successful franchise recruitment requires building a marketing program that produces qualified prospective buyers at acceptable costs. This isn't an easy task, especially in our new media age, where franchise buyers now access multiple recruitment and educational sources to research franchise opportunities. There are no shortcuts. Developing a lead generation strategy requires sound planning and intelligence.
Invest in marketing and monitoring tools to 1) determine your most productive selling sources; 2) create compelling, direct-response advertising for each media source selected; and 3) stay ahead of the competition.
How costly can lack of tracking performance be? After an audit, a home cleaning franchisor realized the few thousand dollars they thought they were spending in "cheap" secondary ad sources had become quite expensive, totaling more than $40,000 annually-and with no real ROI to show!
. The lesson in these extreme examples is to monitor performance in all areas of your recruitment program. This includes mystery shopping your sales team at least once a year to ensure quality performance in follow-up on all leads. At the median cost of $50 per inquiry, you can't afford not to in today's highly competitive, tight economy.
There are four steps to lead generation success. Use the process and you may enjoy greater payoffs in reduced costs, more qualified lead activity, and increased sales.
This article is an excerpt from Steve Olson's new franchise development book, Grow to Greatness: How to build a world-class franchise system faster!, published by Franchise Update Media Group. Order information is available at franchiseupdate.com/gtg, or by contacting Sharon Wilkinson at 800-289-4232 x202.
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