Confessions of a Franchise Consultant: Franchisor Pet Peeves

Confessions of a Franchise Consultant: Franchisor Pet Peeves

How Franchisors Can Avoid Deal-Breaking Mistakes

As a franchise consultant, I proudly represent more than 500 franchise concepts. Yes, it is a source of pride, but can sometimes be a burr in the side. Franchisors sometimes unknowingly drop the ball and turn off candidates. Throughout the years, I have encountered some less-than-ideal interactions when working with brands. I call these my franchisor pet peeves. 

What are my pet peeves? Little things — like poor communication and a lack of responsiveness — can make a big difference in the franchise discovery process. The good news is that overcoming these challenges takes a few simple fixes. Below is a list of my franchisor pet peeves and solutions for better communication between franchise consultants and franchisors. 

Pet Peeve No. 1: Not Responding to Inquiries Promptly

What this says: By leaving a broker’s voicemails and emails unread, franchisors say they don’t care.

Solution: Make it a habit to respond to broker communication within 24 hours. 

Before franchise consultants introduce a candidate to a brand, they do a territory check. This simple inquiry tells brokers if a location is available for opening a franchise. Some franchisors seemingly respond within seconds; others, not so much. There must be a happy medium between seconds and days. As a general rule, inquiries should be answered in under 24 hours and by the end of the next business day.

Investing in a franchise is a huge life decision. If the franchisor doesn’t seem interested in responding, that’s a deal killer. It shows a lack of caring and consideration. Who would want to work with (or invest in) an uncaring franchise system?

In the example below, the franchisor was DOA to me on Feb 14, 2024, at 05:00 PM 

Inquiry sent: Feb 13, 2024, 01:15 PM 

Actual response from franchisor: Feb 15, 2024, 03:23 PM 

Preferred response timing: Before Feb 14, 2024, 01:15 PM 

Pet Peeve No. 2: Not Giving It Your All

Franchisor Pet Peeves

What this says: You could be entering a bad relationship. If the best light is not being turned on at the very beginning, what will this relationship look like down the road for the candidate or once they become a franchisee?

Solution: Show up and show enthusiasm!

Working with a franchisor can be akin to dating. In theory, they should be showing their best stuff on that first “date.”

Pet Peeve No. 3: Taking Candidates for Granted

What this says: You are too busy to give each candidate the proper time and consideration for evaluating your concept.

Solution: Show interest. Give more than just a “YES” about territory availability. This excites franchise consultants to work with the brand and the franchise development team.

Pet Peeve No. 4: Minimal or Outdated Details about Your Brand

What this says: You are understaffed and unprofessional.

Solution: Create updated collateral. These can include small pieces such as two-minute drills, flyers, slide decks, videos, podcasts, etc.

Tell your story. What makes you different? Why should I show your brand above all else? Brag away! You will get our attention. Even more important — update it regularly or at the bare minimum each year when you file your new franchise disclosure document (FDD). The devil is in the details.

Pet Peeve No. 5: Pretending that Everything is Perfect in Your System

Franchisor Pet Peeves

What this says: You are only interested in creating a glossy version of your brand.

Solution: Do not limit the validation process to your A-plus players.

If a candidate likes the concept and is moving along, they will reach validation—the point where they can speak with other owners in the system. Let’s face it, not everyone can be the top performer. Let candidates talk to average franchise owners, too — not just superstars. Set them up with franchisees who are like them and have similar backgrounds. Have a single mom talk to another single mom, or a corporate tech guy speak to another. Match owners up to prospective franchisees who understand who they are and what they face.

Pet Peeve No. 6: Launching the Franchise With the Intention of Selling to the Highest Bidder

What it says: You are only in it for the money.

Solution: Slow down! Grow your franchise properly, and do not be in such a hurry to give your business away too early. 

In the not-so-distant past, large investors like umbrella franchisors and private equity did not show interest in a brand until it had more than 50 units up and running. I spoke to a brand recently with 17 units, and none of them are hitting their goal average unit volume. This concept has not even been proven in their franchise model yet. However, we are seeing more and more emerging brands leave the nest too early. Franchising is often touted as a family model. You are buying into the owners’ story and what they have built over years or often decades. Aspiring franchise owners want to align with leadership with a passion for the brand. Please slow down! This is not a race. 

This is not to say that brands won’t benefit greatly from the power and resources of a private equity firm or large umbrella company, but the timing needs to be right.

The Ideal Franchisor-Franchise Consultant Relationship

I recently had a fantastic experience with an emerging brand. They were in lockstep with me and my candidate from the very beginning through signing day. My candidate said it was the easiest business transaction they had been through in ten years. It was all a credit to the franchisor’s extensive communication, transparency, and laid-back meetings with zero pressure.

Franchisors, want to impress a franchise broker? It’s simple — it takes communication, transparency, caring, follow-through, and of course, a great franchise system. When franchise consultants and franchisors work together, we all win — especially candidates!

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
– George Bernard Shaw

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With an entrepreneurial spirit that ignited over a decade ago, Lisa Linkowsky embarked on her journey as one of the pioneering BirthdayPak franchise owners. Serving as a pivotal member of the Franchise Forum, she took on roles as a trainer and mentor, laying the foundation for her expertise in the franchise industry.

Today, Lisa is the CEO of Milestone Franchising, her second venture born from invaluable franchise ownership experience. A Certified Franchise Consultant and proud member of the The International Franchise Professionals Group (IFPG), Lisa brings a realistic approach to business ownership. Her work spans across the nation, offering hundreds of candidates an objective understanding of franchising and introducing concepts with a solid foundation.

In addition to her leadership at Milestone Franchising, Lisa hosted the weekly TV show, Franchise Focus, for two years. The show spotlighted 100 industry experts and franchise owners, showcasing Lisa's commitment to sharing knowledge within the community. As a monthly contributor to FranchiseWire, Lisa continues to contribute her insights to the franchise landscape.

Lisa currently serves as a membership committee member for the Princeton-Mercer Chamber of Commerce, earning recognition with the prestigious Fred Young Champion for Business award in October 2022. Acknowledged as one of the Top 10 consultants with the Rep'M Group in 2022, Lisa also participated as a panelist in the annual IFPG Retreat in 2023, engaging with over 800 attendees. You can hear more about her entrepreneurial journey on numerous podcasts.

A visionary business builder, Lisa aspires to inspire and influence positive change in the world through her work and dedication to the franchise industry.
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