You can franchise without using a franchise broker or recruiter but that’s only if you have the experience, skills and time, says Brian Duckett of The Franchising Centre
This is an interesting question and one which will attract a number of opinions depending on where in the world the respondent is based, what they do for a job and whether they are looking for domestic or international franchisees.
The simple answer is “No, of course you don’t”.
Provided a franchisor, or a member of their management team, has long experience in franchisee recruitment; totally up-to-date knowledge of how to cost-effectively generate qualified enquiries through physical and digital media; and a robust process for automatically screening candidates so that only fully qualified and financed applicants are invited to meetings; then why wouldn’t they do it all themselves? That’s assuming they also have the time.
In practice of course very few franchisors do have these qualities and even fewer, in an international context, can identify the qualified potential investors in master franchises in their chosen markets for global expansion.
My business provides franchisee recruitment services (we tend not call it brokerage in the UK) to franchisors looking to recruit both unit and master franchisees in the UK and also to franchisors moving outside the UK to other countries.
We have particular techniques for doing these things so let me explain the advantages.
I’ll start with international expansion since this magazine focuses on Global Franchising.
Whether inbound to or outbound from the UK, or indeed passing between any other countries, what a franchisor needs is introductions to qualified parties who meet their required profile. That ideal profile is of course different for every franchisor.
Should the candidate have experience of franchising or the property market or, say, food and beverage operations? Or do they need none or all of these?
How much do they need to be able to invest and are they likely to be an individual or to already have a management team in place?
Having established the answers, and agreed which are the priority markets, we are then able to introduce the concept to our associates in whichever countries are appropriate.
Those associates will have their own databases, compiled over many years, of potential investors and knowledge of the sectors and sizes of investment in which they are interested.
Introductions are then made and where appropriate the parties are taken through a process which results in a sign-up or a parting of the ways in the optimum time.
Twice a year all our European brokers meet together for two days to receive presentations from franchisors from around the world and to themselves present the advantages of franchising in their countries.
The result is that franchisors and brokers come to mutual agreement about the countries in which they will work together to cement and develop successful master franchisee relationships.
In many of those countries the TFC associate can subsequently provide franchisee recruitment services to the appointed master franchisee.
This brings me on to how TFC recruits franchisees in the UK.
The way franchisors go about recruiting franchisees hadn’t fundamentally changed in over 20 years. It was largely a process of cold-calling.
Every day enquiries arrived then a series of calls, e-mails and voicemails resulted in someone speaking to just 30% of them. Very few of those enquiries became serious candidates.
Enquiries that had been generated at considerable cost and didn’t connect were simply written off and were never worked properly.
Our own work over the past decade confirms that most recruiters still spend much of their time chasing unqualified leads. That had to stop in order for results to change.
When we engage with a franchisor it’s usually because they’re frustrated with the results they get for the money and effort they put into finding new franchisees.
In those situations, we develop the marketing assets needed to sustain a strong recruitment pipeline.
We improve and manage lead generation programs, build dedicated recruitment websites and fill in storytelling gaps to make sure serious leads get the whole story.
Potential franchisees, like all buyers these days, like to think that they are in control of the recruitment or buying process.
They will find out as much as they can about a business before it even knows they are a prospect but once they reveal themselves it’s vital to keep an eye on all their activity.
This can only be done using the unique technology mentioned below, backed up by the personal attention of trained and experienced franchise recruiters.
Using technology that is simpler to demonstrate than it is to write about (so please ask for a demonstration) all calls, emails and website visit behaviour are tracked for each enquiry.
The more an enquirer engages, the higher their score and rank. Real interest can be seen, tracked and acted upon.
They can automatically be sent specific e-mails or texts and they are given the ability to book a telephone conversation at a time of their choice.
Many franchise brands can’t support an internal recruiter. Some don’t want to, so they rely on their brokers to keep a full pipeline.
Engaging one of The Franchising Centre’s Prime Recruiters creates a predictable lead flow, automatically finds serious enquiries from the many that are received and manages the process which leads to meetings and eventual sign up of new franchisees.
Talking to more of the right people, whilst leaving the no-hopers to look after themselves or to bother someone else, typically means more 1-2 more franchisees from every 150 enquiries and that’s a return on investment worth having.