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How franchise salespeople and franchise developers can stay relevant in the post-coronavirus bounceback

April 15, 2020

I received a call today from a colleague I have known for over 25 years. He is a coronavirus economy casualty, losing the solid six-figure job he’s held for over two decades.

He asked, “What should I do? What are you seeing out there?”

I asked my colleague, “What do you know about digital marketing? Lead generation? Brand story-telling? Website design? Digital content strategy?”

His answer: “Not much.”

Franchising seems to be overstocked with franchise salespeople with 10-20 years of experience or more who have not kept up with the changes in how people buy.

The typical old-school recruiter knows franchise sales. They say things like, “Just get me a qualified lead and I can close them.” But they neither know how increasingly complex and competitive it is nor understand the skills and acumen it takes to generate a qualified lead. Nor do they understand what buyers do in the background to educate themselves on the brand and declare themselves “qualified and interested.” 

While they may know how to close a deal, they don’t often know how to design and execute an entire franchisee recruitment system, consistent with how buyers buy, which also outperforms competitive brands. They don’t know how to rip qualified buyers out of their competitors’ active funnels with content and marketing strategies before they completely buy into their competitor’s brand as their best choice.

Here is the difference between high-value digital age franchisee recruitment strategists and old-school franchisee recruiters who have not kept up with how and why buyers buy.

 Digital-Age Recruitment Strategist knows: Old-School Recruiter knows: Consumer brand strategy and how to integrate franchise development into overall brand strategy Unlikely How to identify, improve, and articulate the value proposition of the franchise opportunity Maybe Targeting franchise buying groups who have what it takes to win and deliver the brand promise Maybe Financing strategy allowing new and existing franchisees to be expansion-ready Maybe Market penetration strategy (what markets to go into and when) Maybe Lead generation strategy and budgeting (SEO, PPC, retargeting, social media, email blasts, portals, PR) Unlikely Content strategy and execution: lead generation, website content (graphics, video, infographics, text), and lead nurturing Unlikely Franchisee recruitment process design: What is every step of the franchise buyer’s critical path? Unlikely Facilitating a franchisor-franchise candidate mutual investigation process Maybe

It’s very predictable that old-school recruiters will flood the franchise broker chains, hoping to continue to capitalize on their skills. However, franchise brokers are having the same competitive issues everyone else is. Franchise brokers are not well differentiated and there simply is not enough deal flow to satisfy this likely influx.

However, franchise brands need skilled strategists and recruiters. There is only one way out of a recession: Grow out of it. In recessionary times, franchisor CEOs count on franchisee recruiters for revenue and increased distribution.

If you are an old-school recruiter, here is some online content from Hubspot you should view to start the process of entering into the digital age. While this content is consumer-facing and not franchise candidate-facing, it will give you an idea of how marketing supports you behind the scenes and what you can do to support yourself.

FPG will soon offer webinars and bootcamps designed to make franchise recruiters more valuable and relevant in this new economy in an effort to save jobs and make brands more profitable and resilient.

We will announce these shortly. Join our Franchising Thought Leaders group on LinkedIn here.

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