The Office Visit is arguably the most important step in the franchise sales qualification process. The Office Visit goes by many names: Discovery Day, Information Day, Audition Day, Support Center Visit Day and on and on. Regardless of what you name it, it is the day for the management team and the franchise candidate to "get to know" each other beyond phone and email and decide if this is a good match for both parties.
The daily flurry of bad economic and financial news recently has made it difficult to focus on time periods beyond weeks, days, or even hours. However, I'll try to put things in perspective for the franchise community and offer both a forecast and some suggestions on how we can make the best of 2009.
There was a time when franchise site selection was as simple (not to mention as rudimentary and often random) as pushing pins in a map on a wall. Maybe they turned out to be good sites, maybe they didn't. But as technology continues to evolve and the tools are recalibrated to further refine the site selection process, the art is becoming a science.
The secret is out of the box. The mystery shopping has ended and the results have been revealed. Each year, for more than a decade now, Franchise UPDATE has conducted a mystery shopping survey of franchisors to assess their lead generation and recruiting efforts. Two methods--telephone and online--are "shopped" and objectively recorded. Each franchise organization registered for this year's annual Franchise Leadership & Development Conference by a specific cutoff date--nearly 150 of this year's attendees--was evaluated, and its data included in the study.
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By (Buy) the Book: Discover How Franchise Development Leaders Are Building Successful Franchise Systems
For me, adapting to the highly specialized world of franchise development was a laborious, disjointed journey. During the early 1980s, I searched for a road map for recruitment success that could jump start my performance and help avoid costly mistakes. But there was no drill-down guide detailing the key benchmarks to successful growth--no books I could buy dedicated to the business of growing a franchise business. After years of unnecessary trial and error, I learned through the school of hard knocks--as many of you have--relying heavily on peer networking and by attending development seminars and industry conferences.
All franchisors place a high priority on gaining new recruits and responding to contacts from prospective franchisees. But who's setting the pace on performance? Once again, Franchise UPDATE's mystery shoppers hit the phones--and the websites--checking out franchisors from coast to coast to see which were doing the very best work. The best and the brightest were recognized in the 10th annual STAR (Speaking To And Responding) Awards--from the three top national performers to the companies that excelled at fielding telephone contacts or quickly getting back to website leads.
On the Friday morning after Congress voted down the first, "unsweetened" $700 billion bailout package--and with credit frozen and the lending climate getting icier by the hour--franchise sales executives at Franchise Update's Leadership & Development Conference put their heads together in a Friday morning "mindshare" session to brainstorm answers to some tough questions on what they're doing to make sales.
It's All in the Numbers: Research Report Provides Benchmarks And Insights Into Franchise Sales Trends
That statement from Franchise Update Media Group Publisher Steve Olson got the attention of more than 300 industry leaders at this year's Franchise Update Leadership & Development Conference, as he presented an overview of the results of the 2009 Annual Franchise Development Report (AFDR).
In the 2008 U.S. Open Golf Tournament, Tiger Woods won it all in a sudden death playoff on the 91st hole. This was the 14th major golf tournament Tiger had won in his career. Being in playoff situations numerous times before was a significant factor in his ability to maintain his composure time and time again when it looked as if he would not be able to win. Yes, experience does matter.
I stand in awe of how much technology has adapted over the last few years and how much of it I have adopted. Just a few short years ago, franchise portals seemed innovative and the potential silver bullet for finding more qualified leads. That space has now been overrun with new and exciting technologies, known to many as Web 2.0.
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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.
Driving Force: 2008 Franchise Leadership & Development Conference Focuses On Top Performance During Tough Times
Franchise attorney Brian Schnell said it all during a session on franchising sales fundamentals at Franchise UPDATE's Franchise Leadership & Development Conference in late September: "There's nothing fundamental about franchise sales right now."