When it comes to franchise lead generation, few methods are as effective as using franchise brokers. Franchise brokers can help franchisors find qualified, interested franchisees. Hiring a brokerage — or being accepted as a client of a franchise brokerage — is often an excellent choice for franchisors looking for fast growth and an accelerated franchise sales process. Franchisors also look for broker assistance when they do not have the ability or available capital to add staff.
But even if you and a broker firm agree to work together, you still have work continuously on the relationship to keep your concept top of mind with brokers. For emerging franchisors, in particular, be prepared to devote time and attention to getting your brand recognized — and your concept understood — by brokers. Better broker networks offer opportunities to do this in several ways, including educational webinars, networking events and internal marketing opportunities.
Franchise brokers want to know they are dealing with a top-quality franchise system and that their candidate is in good hands when they send a referral to a franchisor. Here are five ways to impress brokers and boost their confidence in your franchise system:
- Prove you can sell: Your franchise sales team must be well trained and have a track record of success to instill confidence in the broker who is making the referral. In most cases, the broker is paid upon the successful completion of the franchise sale so they want to refer prospects with companies who can close.
- Have a great website: We all do it in every aspect of our lives – make a company’s website our first and primary source to learn about a company. The franchise website has the dual role of generating franchise leads (through SEO efforts) and to promote the franchise to people who are already aware of the opportunity. During the franchise sales process, you bet the franchise prospect will form opinions about your franchise based on the quality of your website. Your broker needs to know that your website and other franchise marketing materials (more on that below) set you apart from the many other franchise opportunities available.
- Develop strong collateral materials: In the increasingly competitive world of franchise sales, you must tell a compelling brand story on both an emotional and logical level. Your story must both inspire and motivate the prospect to action and anticipate the prospective franchisee’s questions such as ‘What do I get for my money?’ and ‘Why do I need you?’. Once the story is crafted, it should be communicated consistently through a number of essential methods.
For many years, the full-sized printed brochure was the gold standard for franchise marketing materials. While many franchisors now use an e-brochure format, a high-quality printed brochure designed by franchise marketing experts remains an impressive piece for the prospective franchisee and the important decision makers they will turn to (spouses, lawyers, accountants, landlords and investors). E-brochures can be equally compelling and allow for easier adaptation to different audiences and the inclusion of video and other add-ons.
The franchise sales video has taken on added importance, especially as in-person meetings were limited during the pandemic. The franchise sales video further enhances credibility and creates excitement for the franchise candidate. A quality video can draw the candidate into the franchise experience like no other medium. The franchise sales video is typically crafted based on significant research and incorporates high production values, numerous special effects, and extensive online editing.
Public relations is also an important component of the marketing mix. It will be helpful to the broker to validate your concept by being able to point to press coverage based on your public relations efforts. When franchise prospects are conducting their online searches, it is beneficial for them to find reposts of press releases on major news and business sites, as well as on your own website and social channels. All of these materials working together create strong brand positioning.
- Communicate: Franchise brokers need to know that they can depend on you so they can continue to be responsive consultants to the franchise prospects who reach out to them for guidance. So, for goodness sakes, return calls and emails promptly. Keep the franchise broker “in the loop” so to speak as you have conversations with the prospect and move toward a sale. With back-and-forth feedback, you and the broker can more effectively guide the prospect through the sales process. This type of communication helps everyone – you, because the broker may be able to validate for you and help the sale to completion; the broker because they can start to identify what types of candidates are a good fit for your franchise and, thereby, close more deals; and the prospect who can intelligently and efficiently make their decision.
- Attend franchise broker conventions and online virtual events: Attendance at broker conventions by franchisor representatives is becoming even more important. To stay top of mind with individual brokers, nothing beats face-to-face networking (when available) and even one-to-one or small group interactions. These conventions also allow the franchisor to “pitch” their brand to the brokers in person to further reinforce the brand and assure consistency of messaging. It doesn’t hurt that these conventions are often held (in non-pandemic times) in beautiful locations with plenty of time for socializing and networking.
Using the services of a franchise broker network gives you the opportunity to engage with leads that come to you pre-qualified, so they should take less time and effort to close. Just be sure as a franchisor that you are ready with a trained sales team, a strong communication strategy and compelling marketing materials.