Here is your dashboard to improve your franchise recruitment results
By Dan Hieb, VP of Digital Strategy
and Joe Mathews, CEO
Maybe you are not hitting your franchisee recruitment results. The pressure is on and you’re wondering what’s wrong. Maybe you have no way of knowing or measuring what is and isn’t normal and attainable, what is acceptable and what is a failure. Among the most common questions we hear at FPG are, “What should our franchise sales metrics look like?” and “How do we improve our numbers?”
The typical healthy pipeline
FPG creates benchmarks from 3 sources.
- What we attained by working with over 120 brands.
- FranConnect Franchise Sales Index
- Data from Franchise Update Sales and Leadership Conference
- Networking and conversations with thought leaders over the last 20 years.
Overall, expect 1%-2% of leads from your franchise information site to ultimately sign a franchise agreement. Here is what a strong franchise sales pipeline should look like, with 100 initial leads eventually winnowing down to one or two buyers. Of course, different lead sources yield different results, so consider this chart below a healthy blended rate.
|Franchise Website traffic-to-lead conversion ratio||Out of 100 leads…||Leads contacted (reached or where lead responds)||Qualified
Leads entering the pipeline
|Franchisee Validation to Agreement Signed||Discovery Day to Agreement Signed|
The above chart is very normal across investment levels and most industry sectors. However, each chain may have its own nuance, depending on such things as the lead source, complexity of the model, attractiveness of the industry, availability of self-directed information, and the attractiveness of the franchisor’s unit-level economics.
For instance, brands with well-constructed franchise opportunity websites may have a lower lead-to-application ratio due to more self-directed research and self-qualification. But these should also have higher application-to-agreement ratios and still fall inside the 1%-2% lead-to-close ratio stated here.
How do we improve our key metrics?
An anemic pipeline can be caused by multiple contributing factors such as: weak franchisee recruiting skills, a broken sales process, poor lead generation, a weak value proposition, poor franchisee validation, or systemic problems within the franchise business. The remainder of this blog will outline FPG’s basic process for diagnosing where breakdowns may be occurring.
Key Metric: Converting More than 2% of Franchise Opportunity Web Traffic to Leads
Your franchise information website should convert more than 2% of website visitors into leads — those who fill out forms and request more information.
According to FranConnect’s Franchise Sales Index, most of your franchise deals will come through or will be dramatically impacted by the quality of your franchise information website.
Most consumer websites have much higher conversion rates than franchise development websites, but that should not be the franchise development goal. Most consumer sites maximize conversion rates by driving people to a dedicated landing page that offers limited information and an immediate path to conversion. While this works wonderfully for small ticket sales, it is inconsistent with the way most people buy investment products and high ticket items such as franchises. Buyers want information to self-select in or out.
FPG research shows that franchise buyers spend about three hours reading website content — reading 16 pages on average over 16 visits, plus downloading a robust franchise opportunity ebook — before signing a franchise agreement. About half of that time is spent doing research before they ever fill out a lead form and the other half is during the due diligence process. Buyers are hungry for information that will help them understand your business model and company culture. Therefore every franchise opportunity website should include lead-generation content and lead-nurturing content.
What to do if you miss the mark:
- Improve your content. Most likely you aren’t hitting your target franchise candidate’s threshold of information and they are leaving your site before signing the contact form. Think of the executive summary of a business plan. At the very least, candidates want to know what makes your brand unique, valuable to the customer, profitable, sustainable for the long haul, how the business works, what the investment is, what the predictable ramp-up and returns look like, and what a franchisee must do to make the business work. Educate, then convert.
- Improve your design. Your look may be dated or obsolete. Information may be hard to find. Pages and links may be broken. Forms may be hard to fill out. Make it easy for candidates to access information and contact you.
- Offer incentives. FPG offers candidates who fill out the form a second wave of more robust information such as a brand ebook as an incentive for filling out the contact form.
- Rethink your advertising tactics. You could be driving the wrong traffic to your website, such as buying wrong SEO terms or targeting buyers who aren’t attracted to your opportunity.
You should be making contact with 50% of your leads
When a lead comes in, they should automatically receive a thank-you message and an invitation for a conversation. But email automation is not enough. You have to both call and text. Additionally, the franchise recruitment team should be supported by a solid lead-nurturing information drip strategy during the important “attempting to contact” step.
What to do if you miss the mark:
- Call candidates the same day lead comes in. FranConnect data shows speed-to-lead is a contributing factor to deal flow. FPG data shows buyers — as opposed to just leads — are contacted by a recruiter within 24 hours or respond back to the recruiter’s communication most often within 48 hours.
- Don’t over-rely on the phone. FPG recommends texting before calling. A simple note such as, “This is Joe from FPG. I will be calling you now to hold a quick 5-minute conversation.” One FPG recruiter doubled her contact rate within 24 hours of implementing an upfront text strategy.
- Don’t give up too early. FPG recommends at least two texts and two calls within 72 hours, as well as a steady lead-nurturing campaign.
- Examine lead-generation tactics. You may be grabbing or buying contact information rather than intersecting buyers who want what you have at their point of interest.
- Review franchise opportunity content. The brand story on the website or other content streams is not compelling enough to entice candidates to engage in conversation.
8% or more of your leads should be submitting franchise applications
As leads advance through your recruitment process, they should have the experience of being guided to the information they need. You should be building trust with candidates by listening, by understanding their motivations and goals, and by providing a clear picture and line-of-sight for how those goals may be achievable within your franchise system.
What to do if you miss the mark:
Mystery shop your franchisee recruitment team. Answer such questions as:
- Are recruiters responding on a timely basis?
- Is the candidate receiving and reading or watching content streams?
- Are candidates being hyped and sold or interviewed and educated?
- Is the brand story being explained properly?
- Does the candidate see value?
- What is the franchise candidate experiencing that is diminishing results?
- What visuals, such as PowerPoint decks, are candidates seeing, and how impactful is that content?
10% or more of your applicants should become franchisees
The front end of the pipeline, which FPG defines as what occurs before a candidate fills out an application, measures such things as how effectively the website and the recruiter communicates value. The back end primarily measures whether franchise candidates can validate their perceptions and how easy the franchisor makes it for franchisees to do business with them.
What to do if you miss the mark:
- Check your franchise agreement for deal killers. Franchise candidates are avoiding signing agreements with such unmitigated risks as personally guaranteeing royalties for the lifetime of the agreement and not having a protected territory in which to do business.
- Check franchisee validation. FPG research shows that if at least 80% of franchisees, when asked “Knowing what you know now, would you make the same decision again?” don’t answer with an emphatic, “Yes,” inconsistent franchisee satisfaction and validation will dramatically hurt deal flow.
- Improve unit-level economics. A franchise is like other investment products in the sense that the value is determined by the perception of predictability and sustainability of the franchise return. If results fluctuate widely and franchise candidates do not hear consistent information or cannot validate how their financial objectives can be met with a high degree of predictability, they will avoid the brand.
- Improve franchisee-franchisor relationships. Franchisees will often tarnish the brand to the franchise candidates if they feel they are not being heard, their objectives are not being met, or they believe the franchisor is operating in bad faith.
- Train your recruiters. The front end of the pipeline should be consistent from candidate to candidate and easy to master. The back end of the pipeline is the art of the deal. FPG experience shows a masterful recruiter will outperform an average recruiter by 50% or more. There is a huge dividend to the franchisor to ensure recruiters achieve mastery.
How we can help
Franchise Performance Group has lead-generation and franchisee recruitment experts with over 100 years of franchising experience working with 120 brands. We provide turnkey outsourced lead-generation and franchise development solutions to emerging growth, regional, and national brands.
To learn more, fill out the form at the bottom of this page and let us know what you’d like to discuss.