Awarding a franchise is harder than ever. There are more competitors, and less prospects. Yet the bar keeps getting raised higher and higher to sell more units.
1. You are losing qualified leads every day without even getting the chance to have a conversation.
According to HubSpot, 70% of the buying decision has been made before a franchise prospect decides to talk to a franchise sales representative.
And repeat visitors are much more likely to convert into customers, compared to first-time visitors. In fact, studies show that it takes at least 3-4 visits to your website for your potential candidates to think of doing business with you.
Franchise sales prospects are actively evaluating your brand based on website and social media content, search engine results, media coverage, and increasingly your management team’s online presence. And at the same time, they are evaluating other franchise concepts and non-franchise options.
That means top of the funnel franchisee candidates are forming perceptions about your brand and your competitors based solely on the power of your online brand story. How many high-quality franchisee prospects have secretly evaluated your brand and decided not to contact you?
2. Franchise sales is full of copycat franchise development marketing campaigns.
Be honest – when you built your franchise development website did you “borrow” content and ideas from your competitors? Are you making critical franchise marketing decisions based on what others are doing?
The problem with that approach is that the herd mentality only ensures one thing – your marketing results are mediocre at best.
Stop guessing or assuming your competitors know what content your brand needs to create to attract prospects to your website and social channels, or what content is actually converting visitors into prospects for your brand.
3. There are too many dogs, not enough dog food.
Prospects are being hunted by multiple franchise sales teams at the same time – the broker networks, portals, sales consultants, not to mention the sales teams of 3,800+ franchise brands and the 300 new franchise brands entering the market every year.
Considering the previous point regarding copycat approaches, it’s really hard to differentiate your brand from the pack. Which leads to the next point below.
4. Franchisee prospects are confused and overwhelmed, and their trust of companies is at an all-time low.
The body of research is undeniable – consumers (franchise sales candidates) mistrust companies and brands more than ever. All franchise sales teams boast of impressive earnings, great corporate support and happy franchisees throughout the system.
And, of course, prospects are keenly interested in all of those attributes, but what they are really searching for are answers that can help them make the right decision about their livelihood.
The franchise sales team viewed as the most authentic, genuine and trustworthy has a true competitive advantage. This is called establishing yourself as the “anchor” brand. You become the first brand that a franchise candidate attaches to once they decide to pursue change, and the one all other franchise brands are compared to.
5. Too many franchise brands search for “silver bullet” marketing shortcuts.
We’ve already covered a few of the typical industry shortcut approaches – from copying what the competition is doing to developing a one-size-fits-all website, then placing ads on traditional portals and waiting for the leads to roll in.
After being in the marketing business for almost three decades, I can assure you there are no marketing shortcuts or silver bullets (other than the Coors Silver Bullet of course). And even if there were, every brand and franchise marketing company out there would be copying it, and then you are back to the same herd mentality results mentioned earlier.
6. Franchise brands fail to meet sales goals because they fail to plan.
I get it, you’re working too many hours as it is. On the other hand, how much time and money are you losing by investing in marketing campaigns based on hunches and copycat approaches versus real market intelligence and the buying behaviors of your best franchisee candidates?
Take the time to set a future franchise sales vision of the company and outline the marketing milestones and goals to reach between now and then versus always chasing the latest “shiny object” marketing gimmicks.
Find out what content is driving prospects to your website and converting those visitors into qualified leads.
Make sure your brand’s website experience keeps you in the game with the hundreds of invisible prospects shopping you and the competition.
Once a prospect establishes contact, stop selling before you build the relationship. Start the buyer journey as a trusted advisor in order to become the anchor brand your competitors have to overcome.
David Chapman is the CEO of 919 Marketing. Find out more at 919marketing.com/franchisemarketing