How to find the franchisees you actually want and avoid Death by Inbox

Finding franchisees isn’t easy – finding the right franchisees is even harder. But how do you attract the franchisees you really want without having to wade through thousands of applications from those you don’t? 

It’s all about targeting. 

There’s an old saying in franchising: “Drive the business, not the van.” 

It highlights the difference between two types of franchisee: one is entrepreneurial, keeping a keen eye on growing and scaling up their operations, and will probably end up owning a string of lucrative franchise territories and possibly brands, while the other type is happy to be hands-on, perform a service, and is comfortable making a living rather than a fortune. 

The world of franchising needs both. After all, if your franchise model is all about chimney sweeping or hands-on cleaning, someone has to grab the brush, mop or bucket and actually do the work. 

A lot of franchisees are only too happy to do that, and it works very well for everyone, providing the work / life balance that many find appealing. 

But perhaps you need the type of franchisee who wants to drive the business, not the van? 

She or he will employ other people to do that while they get on with the serious business of growing theirs and expanding yours. 

The simplest way to get plenty of interest from that type, rather than the other, is to target your marketing very precisely. 

If you know they won’t be happy wielding a mop and bucket or sticking things up chimneys but would rather sit down with the FT while they figure out how to work with you to take your brand to new levels, make sure the words and images you use in your marketing materials reflect that. 

They will most likely already have money – rather more than the make-a-living type, usually – and will be keen to make more of it (a lot more of it) by building their own business while standing on your giant’s shoulders. 

People like that are gold dust. 

Entrepreneurs don’t need to be told how to suck eggs. They have high expectations. And they are usually either highly-educated or so streetwise that they’ll give even the best-connected of Old Etonians a run for their money. 

You need to tell them about the opportunities your franchise offers, the sort of lifestyle they can expect or aspire to if they become a multi-unit franchisee, and the qualities and standards you expect them to have if you’re going to let them loose with your brand. 

They’ll be interested in the ROI, the prime territories you have left, the track record of your most successful franchisees so far, and the potential to take even your expansion plans to the next level. 

So make sure the franchisee recruitment page on your website reflects that, as should your prospectus, your LinkedIn posts and whatever other bait you set for them. 

A well-written, highly engaging case study about your most successful franchisee – a multi-unit franchise owner if you already have one – will speak to the heart and the wallet of the people you want to hear from. 

They can see themselves doing that, and will almost certainly be thinking they can do even better. And reading about how people have already succeeded using your business model will whet their appetite and set them thinking about funding. 

Think of your franchise recruitment page as a triage device – a way of sorting the sheep from the goats when you only want one or the other. 

If you say you need the sort of investment that an owner-operator franchisee wouldn’t have or wish to part with, the replies you’re likely to get are from those who are already sufficiently financed – or able to access the funding. 

The non-starters will already have screened themselves out, leaving you with a field of more suitable contenders to choose from. 

Don’t be afraid to include a tick-list of characteristics your franchisees must have. If they can’t tick sufficient boxes, then your site should discourage or prevent them from applying, or at least flag up to you privately that the candidate isn’t what you need. 

You can do all this yourself, if you’re good with words and understand the finer points of marketing – but if you do need any help with your franchise recruitment, we have all the experience, resources and expertise you need at Chantry. 

And if you wonder what we do all day, it’s essentially that.