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Franchise Sales Lead Generation High Tech or Just Throwing Darts?

by John Jorgenson, CEO-Easy Way Leads

Identifying qualified franchise prospects as efficiently as possible requires a targeted approach compared to simply generating lots of unqualified leads from various market areas.

Have you ever left that box checked “Yes it’s OK to send me newsletter/marketing information from you or your partners?”  Sometimes you have to agree to these terms if you want to download the free software, get the discounts, read the white paper, etc.  This is one way to start your ‘digital footprint’ which is very long and tracked by many companies in the data industry.  Have you ever wondered why an advertisement pops up for a company that you were previously viewing on another site?  It’s not a coincidence.

The larger question is how can you utilize this demographic information to sell franchises?  How valuable would it be to market to those prospects that fit your candidate profile in the exact area where you have open territories?  How successful would your sales staff be, if they only talked to financially qualified candidates in open territories?  Wouldn’t it be more efficient to talk to less people and do more deals?

Large companies, especially in the retail industry, lead the way in generating these algorithms to identify their most likely customers and adjust their marketing and advertising budgets to “fish where the fish are biting”.  The GAP stores are not spending marketing dollars where your Grandmother frequents.  So why don’t we do this in franchise sales?  The answer is because it’s not easy to do.  Where do we find the data? How do we develop a message to the specific data set? How do we deploy it and will it work since we have never tried it before?  What we do know is if we continue to do what we have been doing we will sell some franchises.  We are aware that we have done deals from a certain set of lead sources and advertising programs in the past.  Trying something new is a little scary for a lot of people. Even when we know intuitively it works in other industries and could be applied to our application.

Where do you start?  You have to make the best possible effort to identify your customer like they do in retail.  So start with your existing customers, your franchisees, to develop a concise candidate profile.  Often times that conversation begins with “our franchisee base has little in common, we have people from the accounting, construction and health care industries; in fact our best franchisee was an astronaut before joining us – how many ex-astronauts are we going to find?”  Believe it or not these people have common traits that are the reason that they were attracted to your franchise opportunity. 

You can start with some of the basic demographic information like gender, age distribution, financial position, previous job positions and industry types (not specific) they have in common.  You may find your candidate profile is a male, between 38 and 58 (it’s OK to have ranges), with a net worth of approximately $500K who has been in some type of service oriented business.  Now you’re off to creating a great candidate profile.  However, the data that is available today can be granularly filtered. So try to identify if your most likely candidate would subscribe to Golf Magazine or Field and Stream, because you can filter the data based on this type of psychographics as well.

Now determine the most effective and economical way to reach this defined candidate profile.  The easiest way is to select a database that includes just your candidate profile.  Yes that’s right; a filtered list of the people who would most likely buy your franchise, for the territory you have available.  Then find the most economical way to present your opportunity to them.  There are a number of ways to communicate to the people on this list; email, direct mail, telephone calls, etc. It becomes a cost conversion factor of prospect to candidate, usually email turns out to be the most cost effective way to make this conversion.  Compare the cost of this approach to that of a nationwide approach that would involve areas not yet available for development or those already franchised.

A drawback of this type of “Acquisition Lead Generation” is that you are approaching people that have not been qualified and probably have not thought about being in your business.  However, with a much larger sample size you will contact enough people who are qualified and may find your concept intriguing enough to buy.  Granted it does add a step to the sale process by having to get a prospect excited about your concept, but that’s when it all comes back to relationship building and salesmanship.  It is much better than spending two weeks with a candidate, only to find out Uncle Harry has all the money and he is not interested in your franchise.

John Jorgenson is CEO and Founder of Easy Way Leads, the leader in highly qualified lead generation in the franchise industry.  Easy Way Leads has affiliate companies, Membership Leads and Max Enrollment that generate leads for Country Clubs and Private School Education respectively.  He can be reached at 888-712-7512 or Johnj@fcseasyway.com.

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