How to Market and Sell Franchises - Know Your Target Audience

When considering the target Franchise profile, we look at a number of relevant issues related to who we want to be operating franchises of our business.  Typically, if you consider who you might hire to manage a location of your business and would entrust the operational responsibilities of a “unit”, these same characteristics and traits should be inherent in a franchisee.  Our focus will be to retain Franchise operators who match the characteristics and abilities of a good manager only now they will be investing in the business as opposed to working for you.  Once the buyer profile has been established, formulate a number that should dictate who can afford your franchise once you have established the initial investment and the overall financial requirements needed to open the business.

Some of the skill sets we have found to be consistent among successful franchise owners are the following:

Typically, franchisees should exhibit strong sales and customer service abilities – they preferably should have sold similar products or services in the past which relate to what they will be doing when opening the franchised business model.  It would be helpful if they also have some preexisting business contacts as well – which they can call upon when the business is opened and utilize to support its growth.

Hard working and Highly Self-Motivated – even in the Franchise model, someone’s drive and commitment to success will determine how well they do as a franchisee.

Organized and Structured – Franchise Candidates who have shown the ability to manage, organize and lead will typically be more successful as a business owner.

Some aptitude with technology – Good candidates for your franchise model will know and understand the basics of technology enough to grasp and understand how to manage communication through email, virtual teleconference and smart phone applications.  In today’s day and age, these skills can be as important as ever to communicate with a wide-ranging network of franchisees.

Well-developed people skills – strong relationships with affiliates, suppliers and between franchisor and franchisee will help franchise owners be successful and build their business.

High personal standards: excellence, honesty, integrity, etc. – credit and background checks should be run on candidates to confirm that they are decent candidates.  They will be required to fill out applications that will determine whether they meet minimum specifications as a Franchise.

Able to meet initial investment requirements – a franchisee ultimately needs to be able to cover the expenses and investment needed to start the business and operate the model for three months without cash flow from the operation.

Evaluation and Application Process

Throughout the sales process, there should be a structure that requires the buyer to “Give to Get”.  This concept is simple, to continue through the sales process, the buyer must provide feedback and show commitment to the franchise buying process in order to be progressed through the model.  This could be as simple as requiring the franchisee to fill out a single application and evaluation form, or as complex as having them go through background screening, credit checks, personality testing and multiple franchise e
valuation forms.

We recommend at a minimum a single evaluation form, that provides the Franchisor (YOU) with enough information to get a basic understanding for the candidate’s ability, work history and skill set.  The form should also have a sign off providing the Franchisor with the ability (legally) to run a credit check on the candidate.

You should absolutely verify financials.  Many franchise candidates will say they have the funding because they want the franchise and not necessarily be telling the truth.  You need to verify this as the franchisor to protect your system and their future.  Starting a franchise without the needed capital is usually a recipe for disaster.

Use the evaluation as a selling tool.  “We need to get to know you better and this will carry you into the next stage of the process with us.”  In our experience, buyers won’t send an evaluation form in until they are serious and relatively commited to a franchise concept.  It is a very good sign to receive an evaluation form that the franchisee is looking seriously to buy.


Develop a marketing Plan for your franchise which outlines a franchise sales and  marketing program for the first 12 months of the Franchise sales effort.  Present industry standards for establishing a budget is $1,000 – $3,000 per unit sold on average, it should be your plan and goal to bring this average down and find ways to more efficiently introduce the franchised business model to qualified prospective candidates with less of an expense per sale.  Please note that your budget figure should include production, administrative, and other miscellaneous costs—we usually estimate this to be at least 10% of the Marketing Plan budget indicated above plus the cost to print the Franchise sales brochure and time needed to send brochures and handle administrative duties that are part of the Franchise marketing process.  This plan should be used as a guide for your Franchise expansion plans and should be re-evaluated throughout the course of the first year’s execution and implementation.

Five Good Reasons

An excellent way to be clear on why anyone should buy our Franchise is to develop a list of three to five good reasons as to why an investor would buy into your Franchise system. These will be your key points as to what the value of your franchise model is and these should be reiterated in all of your Franchise marketing communications.

Here are Five Possible Good Reasons as a Reference Point for a Franchise model. 

–       Strategic Partnership with vendors and suppliers in place – big brand and big resources behind this business model.

– One-of-a-kind business model and service suite to be offered to business owners in your market available through the systems and technology we have in place.

–       A Business Model that allows for scalability without the initial investment of a traditional business with recurring revenue from continuing services – “sell it once and continue to see the revenue”.

–       Market with unlimited growth potential that currently generates in excess of $____ billion per year in revenue and by the year 2016 will generate in excess of $____ billion per year in revenue.

–       Training, support and guidance that has been designed, customized and tailored to fit each franchisee’s needs.  We stand behind our franchisees to the fullest extent and have a team of professionals fully committed to franchisee’s success.


How to Handle A Franchise Lead

It is important to remember that anyone can visit your site and request information on a franchise. Just as in the phone-screening process, we will need to determine whether a lead that comes in through the franchise lead generation site is qualified or not.  We won’t waste our time on unqualified leads and work through an efficient process to disqualify those who do not fit our specifications as a potential Franchise partner.

We will use a process to work our prospects online, taking them through the specific steps of our pre-qualification, and leading them all the way through to an online discovery day process. In doing so, this will allow us to tighten the selling cycle from a prospect lead to a Franchise; decrease cost, and increase the likelihood of a highly qualified Franchise that is ready to sign an agreement.

Overview of the marketing to the sales process in managing your Franchise lead generation campaign for a franchise model:

  1. Franchise Advertisement
    1. Compelling Message
    2. Attractive Branding
    3. Interesting Business Idea
    4. Clearly Display Cost and Investment Required
  2. Information Request Sent To Us
  3. Auto Responder Email Sent to Prospect
    • Further builds message about your franchise
    • Further Qualifies in who we are looking for and what is required to qualify for the Franchise.
    • Directs the candidate to the landing page with product and Franchise video presentation.
  4. Phone Call/Email Until Contact Made by Account Manager
    1. Position the Franchise as a selective group
    2. Further Qualify
  5. Get Applicant Survey Form Back
  6. Get Applicant to a Franchise Webinar Presentation with “MANAGER”
  7. MANAGER presents agreement the following presentation
  8. Close Franchise Acquisition
  9. Collect Payment

You should develop autoresponders to follow-up with prospects which would provide additional information and keep the buyer interested in your franchise concept.  You should use standardized letters sent via email in response to prospect inquiries that would provide prospects with an immediate response and help streamline the marketing process as well as providing a consistent message to your Franchise candidates.  It also communicates to prospects that we are a well-organized, efficient, and technologically competent organization.

It is important to remember that the idea is to drive the candidate through the sales process until they reach discovery day.  A Discovery Day is a meeting where a candidate is introduced to the franchise model, you as the owner/founder, your management team and anyone involved in the franchise concept.  This meeting is critical in that it is in many ways the final stage of the process and typically determines whether and when the buyer moves forward with your franchise.  We have found that most buyers when they have purchased a flight, committed to a trip and spent a day/weekend or afternoon with you at your place of business, are serious about the business model and will usually move forward in a positive way.  Over 70% of the Discovery Days we have held have turned into franchise sales.

Our advice is to plan a Discovery Day with your prospective franchisee that is relaxed, comfortable and focused on the relationship.  Take time to plan out a day that will introduce them to the business, but also won’t make the day feel like a structured presentation without personality.  You want the buyer to feel comfortable and leave the meeting feeling like they have a connection to you and the people behind the franchise.  This in many ways is more important than the hard facts related to how you operate your business, but you do need to show them the tangible elements of how you operate your systems and procedures.  You may choose to have a buyer sign an NDA prior to visiting your location to protect your intellectual property and business model.

For more information on how to sell franchises and how to market your franchise, get in touch. 

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