3 Ways to Find Serious Leads

Let’s acknowledge that many, if not most franchisors, are still reeling over the havoc the Internet and changed buyer behavior have wreaked on their franchisee development models. The Internet makes all types of brand research easier than ever. And serious leads now expect to find all the information they want online. That said, squeezing more value from the franchisee leads that are now buried in piles of bad leads is more important than ever. We can show you how.

But to find more serious leads, brands must blend three essential franchisee development strategies.

  1. How You Tell Leads Your Story
  2. How You Find and Nurture Serious Leads
  3. How You Intelligently Manage Your Pipeline

All three strategies feed off each other. It’s a classic 1+1+1 = 5 formula where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately, if you don’t blend all three strategies together, you’re likely to be disappointed by the results. Our in-house or outsources solutions blend all three strategies so we can regularly extract up to 50% more signed deals with no incremental lead gen investment.

First, Tell a Great Story

You should embrace content transparency, drop clichés from your vocabulary and persuade your serious leads that your franchise opportunity is worth consideration. And to move away from clichés, you’ve got to include “evidence” or “proof” of every claim you make. You should eliminate the all-too-common chest puffery in storytelling today. It’s what’s in it for your leads; not you, at this early stage.

It’s a courtship. You want the date, but you’re not sure either of you wants a long-term relationship yet. So, show your leads you’re interested at this early stage, get the date, build a relationship and see where it goes. Shotgun weddings rarely work out.

This Internet-savvy serious lead expects to easily find all the information they need to research your brand. They’re impatient. If they don’t get what they want, they move on to the next brand on their list. You’ve lost before you ever had a chance to start. Your calls, emails and texts go unanswered.

At the end of the day, your story must clearly articulate why you’re a great choice for them. Your story must emotionally connect and inspire trust, confidence and credibility in your franchise.

Second, Find and Nurture Your Leads In New Ways

Rethink how and where you find leads. Acknowledge that most franchise categories are more competitive than ever; with everyone fighting for leads among the same pool of interested people.

Brands should stop looking almost exclusively for 4 to 6-week “act now” serious leads. Brands must squeeze every ounce of value from the leads they pay dearly to generate. Let’s recognize that most serious leads who ultimately enter your pipeline don’t “act now” but in too many cases they drop off your radar and/or there’s no effective program to stay connected with them long-term.

Brands need to find and nurture all those interested in your story, but not yet ready for contact. If you don’t, you’ll lose deals. Face it, the “dialing for dollars” franchisee recruitment model only picks up immediate low-hanging fruit, and not all of those people at that.

Why should you care? We’ve learned that 20-30% of signed deals in any given year, come from leads acquired in previous years. So don’t waste those future opportunities.

Third, Intelligently Manage Your Pipeline

To gain control, brands should reduce reliance on their historical “dialing for dollars” prospecting model. It’s becoming more expensive to support in an era that requires generating more leads to find the right new franchisee. Embrace a more disruptive recruitment future, get comfortable with it and push ahead; incorporating more intelligence and automation into your franchisee development methodology.

We can show you how to do that.

Here’s a frustration we regularly hear from leadership and franchisee development executives…

“If we could just talk to more of the right people, we could do more deals. How can we do that?”

Three Actions to Start Today to Improve Lead to Conversion Performance

Make sure your franchisee development methods are sound (which includes more than software) and will work better in this changing environment. Focus on…

  1. First, rethink how to tell your story
  2. Second, reimagine where to find and nurture leads 
  3. Third, start automatically identifying serious leads 
         that engage
    with your story. That’s where the
         incremental deals are found

Transition away from a “dialing for dollars” model. Find new ways to embrace the Internet, track online behavior, automate smart communication using phone, email and text messaging to both tell your story and encourage contact. Don’t push; nudge.

A Case Study with Real Metrics

Here’s a success story of how embracing and harmonizing improvements in these three strategic areas positively affected the franchisee development program of Hwy 55 Burgers Shakes & Fries.

This 26+ year-old brand was frustrated. For three years, its franchisee development efforts stumbled along. Leads didn’t return calls or emails, hampering growth plans.

In March 2017 they decided to revamp their storytelling, lead generation and franchisee development methodology.

Here’s What Changed:

June 2017 birthed a new approach to franchisee recruitment. Their brand story focused on history and culture and how they’re different from competitors. They explained their refreshed value proposition on a new dedicated franchisee website which brought the brand to life for visitors with creative use of dramatic photography and video.

They made it easy to contact them by automatically scheduling a call, requesting territory availability and offering a text me option across various devices. So now visitors had a better experience, more compelling, differentiated storytelling both online, in email and via text. And when they’re ready, it’s easy to get in touch.

When a lead completes any form, they begin an automated long-term email and text storytelling cycle that allows the Hwy 55 story to evolve over time. Their pipeline management solution tracks all behavior and uses sophisticated algorithms to rank how serious a lead is in the brand.

Upon reaching certain milestones, these people become the “serious leads” we talked about earlier. These serious leads are diligently worked, culminating in Discovery Day visits and signed Agreements.

Hwy 55 Outcomes

From June to November 2017

  • 984 new portal leads were generated
  • 6,230 archived leads were reactivated

Early Results

  • 107 leads or 10.46% showed serious interest in Hwy 55
  • 282 reactivated leads or 4.5% showed renewed serious interest in Hwy 55

A rich pipeline developed for 2018. In just a few months, Hwy 55 signed a new master licensee and entered into agreements to open in seven International markets.

Recruitment Reports No Franchisor Should Live Without

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By Dug Aylen, Co-Founder & COO

These reports showcase important aspects of recruitment pipeline activity. These critical performance metrics are often scattered;
if available at all.

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Fast growing brands can easily slip into one or more of these traps as they tackle the challenges of rapid growth. Avoid them or risk hitting speed bumps along the journey.

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