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Paul Pickett of Wild Birds Unlimited Destroys the Myth “I need more leads to close more deals”

February 23, 2016

Paul Pickett, franchise recruitment expert and Chief Development Officer for Wild Birds Unlimited, dropped a million-dollar nugget at this year’s IFA. In a panel largely dedicated to how to generate more leads, Pickett made an offhand comment that in an ideal world he’d like to generate only 20 leads to recruit 20 franchisees. He went on to say that his lead flow in 2015 was down 16% compared to the year before, yet DEAL FLOW WAS UP 50%! When asked “What did you do differently?” he pointed to dramatically increasing the quality and quantity of the content on his website.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Pretend you are a franchise candidate and through your research you stumble across Wild Birds Unlimited, which is a retail business that sells bird seed, bird feeders, bird fountains, etc. No doubt you ask yourself, “Is this a real business or just a turkey?”

How does Pickett use content to immediately resolve an almost instant credibility gap? He owns it right on the homepage, which says “Yeah, People Spend Money on Bird Stuff.”

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By addressing this concern head on, Pickett earns the right to tell the rest of the Wild Birds Unlimited story.

Once potential franchisees are past that initial hurdle, the rest of the Wild Birds Unlimited story can unfold and inform visitors about the brand and its franchisees, systems, customers, startup costs and financial performance. As the story unfolds, qualified candidates begin to see how their objectives can be met as a Wild Birds Unlimited franchisee.

With that information readily available, people who are not a fit for the business self-select out of the sales process without any major time commitment from Pickett’s recruitment team. Those who are a fit are more likely to fill out a form and become a lead. They also enter the process more engaged and therefore more likely to invest.

This is how Wild Birds Unlimited can generate less leads (meaning fewer people filling out the contact form) but drive deal flow by an additional 50%.

How much information should I share upfront?

What is the right amount of content for your franchise recruiting website? Our research shows you should give visitors at least an hour’s worth of content, including articles and videos. This doesn’t mean you should expect visitors to spend an hour on your site. Most will arrive, quickly learn that they are not qualified, and will self-select out of the process. Buyers, however, will spend an average of about an hour researching your brand on your site before they opt in for a conversation. They are doing their homework, and looking to establish a narrative about your brand. By offering great information, you can help guide that narrative. And if you are stingy with content, they will continue to establish a narrative from content streams you don’t control.

What type of content should you offer the franchise candidate? Consider your franchise opportunity websites like the executive summary of a business plan. You have one hour or less to make the case as to why your business is:

  • Unique
  • Profitable
  • Sustainable for the long haul
  • Necessary to the customer
  • A wise place to invest time, money and energy.

In addition, you should address all your predictable major objections and put them to bed.

As long as the information is relevant, addresses their primary concerns, and answers their questions, the engaged franchise candidate will read on.

Another great website feature is a Q and A that anticipates the questions franchise candidates will predictably ask about Wild Birds Unlimited:*

Q: How do I promote my business?

A: Tweet about it.

Q: What type of corporation should I form?

A: A shell corporation.

Q: How much does it cost to start a Wild Birds Unlimited?

A: Let’s just say our franchises go cheep.

Q: Did you ever have any litigation?

A: Once. We accidentally awarded a franchise to a robber ducky.

Q: How do I fund my business?

A: With seed capital. I would have also accepted, “Just put it on my bill”, “With a portion of my nest egg” or “I will take it out of the stork market.”

Q: If a rooster laid an egg on the top of your roof, which side of your house would it roll down on?

A: Roosters don’t lay eggs. You are disqualified as a candidate. Now buzz off.

Q: When is the best time of the year to plant bird seed to grow birds?

A: Wow. Really????

Q: How many doors does a chicken coop have?

A: Two. If it had four doors it would be a sedan.

Q: How do I know I am a fit for Wild Birds Unlimited?

A: You have the requisite background, capital, and skills that it takes to win. And at least one time you faked your own death, laid perfectly still on the ground, just to watch the vultures circle.

* If you found these questions hard to “swallow,” these were not real. I was just winging it.


Franchise Performance Group designs Franchise Opportunity Website of the Year

If you are interested in more information about how to generate and engage high quality leads, click here to download read Joe Mathews newest franchise book, How to Create a Franchise Sales Breakthrough. Guaranteed.

Or if after reading this blog you never want to hear from us again, don’t visit us at www.FranchisePerformanceGroup.com and don’t click here to contact us to learn how to use content to increase your lead quality and increase engagement level.