10 Proven Ways to Recruit Quality Franchisees

Franchise recruitment is complex if it is done well. You need to simultaneously play the role of salesperson, life coach and HR selection person. We recently invited two respected franchisee recruitment experts from the USA to tell us everything they knew about how to increase the quantity and quality of enquiries from prospective franchisees. Joe Mathews and Thomas Scott were open and gracious in sharing their research and experience. I’ve listed below 10 of the evidence based strategies they shared over three webinars.

But first a proviso. These strategies assume you have the basics in place — a profitable business model and relatively satisfied existing franchisees. Without these your recruitment efforts will be thwarted or you will be sucked into using questionable practices that have given franchising a bad name. These include hiding or distorting information, pushy sales tactics or encouraging anyone to join your brand as long as they can fog a mirror and have some cash. That being said, here are the strategies.

Don’t use corny advertising copy or puns on your industry or brand. Headlines like “Grab your slice of the pizza market” are old fashioned and the equivalent of dad jokes to savvy business investors. Don’t try to be clever. Use plain English and write to the needs of your audience — addressing both business and lifestyle issues.

Have a dedicated franchise opportunities website full of useful information. You are in the franchising business so give this the priority it deserves. Think about the questions you are frequently asked by candidates and answer them on this website. Today people expect to have easy access to lots of relevant information. Don’t expect quality candidates to call you if you are just providing a little franchise information on your consumer website.

Ensure your material is interesting and professionally written in a journalistic style. Focus on why your business opportunity is necessary, unique, profitable, sustainable and relevant, and can be defended against competitors. Rather than a series of boring bullet points, use human interest stories to bring your business to life. Serious franchise candidates spend an average of 50 minutes reading information on a website they are interested in.

Understand the key phrases people use when searching for your type of business. Build these into blogs, information pieces and stories on your website as this will help your Google search rankings when candidates are looking for information on your industry. Again, use lots of well written copy. The top 10 highest ranking franchise opportunity websites all have over 2,000 words on their home page.

Expect good quality candidates to be highly informed when they make contact. Use these conversations to understand why they are seeking to buy a business, rather than wasting these conversations on telling them how great your business is. Ask about their financial and non-financial motivators and help them to identify how your business might help them satisfy these.

Have a phone number on your website that will be promptly answered. People are increasingly searching websites on their phones and are now five times more likely to make a call than they would have been if they were reading about you on a computer. If people leave a message call them back promptly, preferably within five minutes. This increases the likelihood of engaging them in a meaningful conversation by nine times!

Be persistent when following up enquiries by phone and email. Many people will not initially answer your calls so you may need to first interact by email. Drip email campaigns are a great tool for keeping candidates interested and informed. Do not leave voice messages as these can be annoying. It can take up to nine attempts before a candidate is ready to speak with you.

Equip franchise recruiters with facilitation, coaching and interviewing skills. They need to be able to build rapport and move candidates through the fear of making a life changing decision into a joint problem solving conversation of whether this opportunity is right for them. They also need to ask probing questions and be able to hold candidates accountable for joint actions throughout the recruitment process.

Use a CRM to generate pipeline reports. Have a system that can measure and track in a scientific manner where your leads are coming from, who is in your system, the specific stage they are at and how long they have been at that stage. Build a profile of trends and likely conversion rates from each stage to the next.

Gather relevant information to assess the suitability of candidates. Unsuitable candidates are a risk to themselves and can cost your business and your brand dearly, so assess people thoroughly. The team at FRI have developed a popular system called the Nathan Profiler that provides a streamlined process for gathering everything you need to know about your candidates. (See more here or contact Katrina Vo on katrina@franchiserelationships.com to find out how it works.)

So there you have it, 10 proven strategies to recruit larger numbers of quality franchisees, providing of course you have the basics in place. Thanks again to Thomas Scott and to Joe Mathews from the Franchise Performance Group for their generosity in sharing their experience!

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