Building successful programs for multi-unit franchise growth

I’ve been invited to be a panel member Wednesday, March 27, at the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference in Las Vegas. Lane Fisher with Fisher Zucker will facilitate the panel and members also include Sam Ballas, President/CEO, East Coast Wings & Grill; Steve Dunn, Sr. VP of Global Development, Denny’s; and Pete Lindsey, VP of Franchising, Sport Clips. Yes, it’s an impressive group. The panel is open to franchisors and suppliers at the conference. We’ll be answering the following questions: What does it take to develop a successful franchise concept that attracts and benefits experienced multi-unit operators? Does your business model complement their growth objectives and work within their organizational infrastructures? How committed is your brand leadership to cater to the business expectations of successful, multi-unit operators? We’ll also review “lead generation best practices.” I made a few notes (see below) for the for the conference panel as it relates to recruiting the right individuals, qualifying them, and the selection process. If you have any comments, suggestions, observations, or your own take on Tannerisms, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Recruit
You have to profile your ideal candidates based on the characteristics of the successful owners in your system—their demographics, who they are, and their psychographics, how they think. Also, their financial resources and how they plan to fund the business. You have to reach them with a consistent message that touches them on both rational and emotional levels. No matter what the product or the price point, people buy with their head and their heart. And with limited resources, you have to fish where the fish are biting. That is you have to market to the bulls-eye of your target audience. Measure. Repeat. Save the warm and fuzzy advertising for brand building and ego boosting.

Qualify
Determine who has the experience, skills, energy and financial resources to be successful. Educate your candidates on your business, the decisions you both are about to make, and the commitment you expect from them. They don’t pass the test on their ability to write a check. How you educate your prospects will be the difference between a person selling your brand, and a person who is proud to promote your brand. If you were a prospect, would you rather be sold or educated? Think about it: Who has a favorite salesman? Everyone has a favorite teacher.

Selection
(With apologies in advance) don’t leave the selection just to your development people. Their responsibility is short term. Everyone involved in franchisee support, from marketing, IT, operations, to franchisees who participate in validation are all long-term stakeholders in your new owners’ success. They bring an objective eye and ear to the selection process when it comes to gauging a candidate’s passion for the business and fit within the company culture. Empower them to make a difference.

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