Franchise Sales Is Harder Than Ever. What Now?

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Whether your franchise sales are breaking records or flatlining, you are reading this article because you see room for improvement.

Your optimism and dedication sit beside the grim reality of today’s franchise sales market. A robust franchising landscape driven in part by the Great Recession now faces market forces and unprecedented numbers of competitors that compete for a dwindling number of leads.

There are 3,800+ franchise brands and 300 new franchise brands enter the market every year according to FranDATA. And for the foreseeable future, you will find yourself selling franchises in a buyer’s market.

Less than ideal? Certainly. An insurmountable challenge? Absolutely not.

This article will discuss how the state of franchising is affecting your business and the marketing and sales opportunities that will help you stand apart from the competition and boost your bottom line.

The Educated Customer

At no point in history have humans had as much access to information as they do now. And with the entire library of knowledge at our fingertips, we generally consume two types of content:

  1. Entertaining content (Cat GIFs and videos of people walking into glass doors)
  2. Information that will enable us to make the wisest purchase

While bullet #1 is self-explanatory, bullet #2 is a reflection of the reality that before a lead ever engages with you, they have made 70% of their buying decision.

For those who do engage, the good news is you know you’re a franchise sales contender. And with a well-trained sales team and content that nurtures these leads, you stand a chance to close. (More on this later.)

However, what about all those times that your brand doesn’t make the cut? How many leads do you lose because your ideal lead found information that caused them to believe another franchise was the better choice before reaching out to you?

Don’t fret over past missed opportunities. Instead, take action to position yourself for greater franchise sales opportunities in the future.

Aligning your franchise content marketing with franchise public relations and supporting that with shared and paid content will allow you to land more leads. This is a classic example of the PESO (Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned) Model championed by marketing guru Gini Dietrich.

Below is a brief descriptor of PESO content:

Paid: Search ads and sponsored social posts about your brand

Earned: Media coverage about your brand in reputable third-party outlets

Shared: Likes and shares from people unaffiliated with your brand  

Owned: Blog posts, white papers, and videos produced by your brand

These four content verticals benefit your brand primarily through third-party validation, search visibility, and additional exposure to a targeted audience.

Franchise Sales: An Effort Defined by Failure

Do you have better odds of choosing the right color on a roulette wheel or turning a franchise application into a sale? Though Vegas is not in the business of losing, you’d be better off playing roulette, statistically speaking.

Franchisors convert only 26% of applications into sales, roughly the same odds as guessing the suit on a random card from the deck. Even worse, only 2% of leads convert to franchise sales.

So often, sales departments focus on the number of leads, wanting more and more. Instead of quantity, though, brands often benefit more from identifying ways to increase the conversion rate for the leads they already attract.

Increasing conversion rates will require an internal audit of your processes and content as well as interviews with your sales colleagues. You may discover that your most qualified leads tend to leak out of the funnel at a specific point. By understanding why, you can create the content or train the sales team on how to nurture them at that critical point better.

The juice from these efforts is certainly worth the squeeze. Aligning content to the lead’s position in the sales cycle can improve conversion rates by a staggering 72%.

Customers Are Sensitive to Bull$&!#

Everybody has come to regret the purchase of an overhyped product, and it is the actions of the nefarious marketers and salespeople who sell those products that have eroded buyer trust. How skeptical are people today? Only 34% trust most of the brands they buy and use, according to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer.

You can’t blame your target audience for not trusting you. All franchise sales teams tell the same story. Franchisees make impressive profits, receive great corporate support, and have countless happy customers. That same load of bull (and no matter how true it is, it will ring hollow) overwhelms customers, puts them on the defensive, and does not produce results.

Too often, franchises “borrow” ideas about content, processes, and positioning of more successful competitors. The logic is solid, but it prevents your franchise’s market differentiator from shining through. If you model yourself after the rest of the herd, you will never break free from the pack.

919 Marketing’s Insights program allows you to determine which content of yours drives leads. And yes, it also provides insights into what works for your competitors and what doesn’t, so you can take inspiration from, and put your own personal touch on, content that helps you stand out, attract leads, and drive franchise sales.

Your Next Steps

The competitive franchise sales landscape may feel daunting. You can search and search and search for a silver bullet, but there’s no shortcut to franchise development marketing success. And if there was, everybody would use it – keeping you in the middle of the pack.

The path to success requires a complete, integrated marketing program. It requires identifying what makes your franchise special, what your target audience needs, and the optimal communications strategy to accommodate this.

Sure, you may have a number of single service marketing vendors, such as a PR firm, social media agency, creative services, and digital marketing consultants. But are they truly working together towards your goals? It is more likely that they are working toward their individual goals that they can point to as a marker of their success and get you to renew your subscription.

Having a franchise development service, like 919 Marketing, that manages the entirety of your marketing channels under one roof will ensure that your goals are their goals.

We’d be delighted to discuss how 919 Marketing, its Insights tools, and integrated marketing strategies have helped boost franchise sales for brands like yours and can help you. Feel free to contact us here or check out some of our success stories.

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