One of the life bloods of franchising is lead flow. Not much different than another of our franchisees business, or any sales and marketing company; you need to be bringing in new blood all the time. At Five Star we are constantly measuring lead flow, sales cycles, velocity, close ratios, and other various metrics to make sure we are on track. Recently, in a sales meeting we discussed two things that we could do to increase our franchise sales.

1) Volume. This can mean so many things, but it can start at the very beginning of the sales cycle – impressions, or in the middle – leads, or in the end – contracts signed. The reality is that you need to be constantly reviewing ways to increase the volume of people looking at your concept, so, that they can express interest and enter into the journey of learning if your franchise concept if the right fit for them. Here are a few ideas on ways you could amp up the volume:

a. Cast a wider net. For example, if you are advertising for the word painting franchise, why not consider something like home based business, or service industry franchises in your online advertising. Some people know what they want, and others have an idea.
b. Use different channels. Online advertising is a fantastic tool that can be approached through SEO, Pay-Per-Click, affiliates, directories, and on and on. However, what about trying something different like Career Builder, or Monster.com? Business brokers is a channel that many franchisors use to get in front of candidates, and many of them use these techniques themselves. Why not try your hand at marketing to the right candidates directly?
c. PR. Public Relations is a tricky tool that few are able to wield effectively. I have approached this different ways for different concepts. The key is that if you aren’t using PR in your marketing mix you should think about doing it now. Have no money to hire and expert you say? Well then pick up the phone and pitch your cool concept yourself until someone gives you the time of day. You need some independently written articles by a quality publication saying your cool instead of that testimonial from your grandma.
d. Social Media – yes, believe it or not I have had people contact me through my blog, Facebook page, and twitter account to request information about one of our brands. So how do you find the time? Well its 12am right now, so, now you know.

2) Efficiency. Getting more eyeballs on your web page is your first mission. Your second mission is to get them to click that submit button. Marketing is scientific, so, please, don’t make this about guy checks. Yes, you can start there, but measure, tweak, measure, tweak, measure, tweak until finally you can tell me you are at 25% conversion rates. 5 years ago I would have told you it wasn’t possible, but, today our team has moved the virtual mountains and now enjoy the results. This is something you can never stop thinking about. Here is a quick example of what we have done over the years.
Go to www.fivestarpaintingfranchise.net this site is our old franchise site. We have tweaked this site dozens of times, and it runs at about a 10% conversion rate. If you go to www.5starfranchising.com you will find very cool information and well-designed research site. This site is below 1%. Now if you go to www.fivestarpaintingfranchise.com you will see our main franchise site for Five Star Painting. I have many times shared these sites with people and have asked the question of which one they prefer, and which one they though would do best. Please remember, that the goal of your franchise site is to generate enough interest to get someone to click the submit button and begin the dialogue.

Of course there is more to franchise lead generation than this. So, with that being said: what do you do that works?

  1. Ross Walker Said,

    Scott,

    After I read your article I thought of it through the saying of “Work harder or work smarter” Work harder being number 1 on your list, and work smarter is 2.

    You ended with the question of “What do you do that works?” I am not in the ‘franchise lead generation’ business but something that I see working well is Engagement (borrowed from Brian Solis). I know you mentioned social media, but it is the way you use social media to engage with people that brings in a new market. He has some good points in his book “Engage” about how it works. Read it if you get a chance.

    When a company goes out of the way to communicate with me via Facebook, twitter or something else I shows a lot. Not interruptions, but invitation to talk. They are human, they care, they are interested, they are willing to share time with me and more. This is the added edge that all the competitors dont do. The social part is the golden ticket there. Educate, entertain or engage… those 3 E’s are the key to creating and keeping customers in the e-commerce.

    Again, thanks for the article.

    Ross

  2. Adam Said,

    Scott,

    You have hit the nail on the head many times in this post (makes sense having a COO with a construction background)

    To prove a couple of your points (1-A): I came across your company’s franchise opportunity through an online home-based business search, this evening in fact. As you mention I have a general ‘idea’ of what I want but nothing specific or set in stone at this time.

    (1-D): Point and case, in doing my due diligence on your company and it’s people I have came across your Blog, LinkedIn profile, Twitter account (as well as Chad J.’s) and I do hope to connect regarding the potential of a franchise opportunity. And yes, I have started the formal process.

    Though you got me to ‘click that submit button’ from a franchising website not one of your organic sites, I am off to check out the different websites you mentioned in your post. I will gladly share my feedback if you prefer.

    Respectfully,
    Adam

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