When you franchise your business, the product now becomes the business itself and you have transitioned to a new role as a business person focused on scale, driving growth and communicating your vision to new entrepreneurs looking for the right opportunity. Now, you have to know you to sell your first franchise to the right customer.
One of the biggest concerns for a new franchisor many times is how will I convince people to join my franchise when I first go to market and why would anyone pay me for my business idea and brand when I’m only operating one or two companies stores? In 20+ years of franchising new brands and helping businesses launch franchise models, I’ve found it’s easy for entrepreneurs to forget just how much they actually know about the business and how valuable their intellectual property really is. So, you’ve gone through the process of building your franchise and are ready to launch, first steady your aim.
Get your presentation and sales process nailed down tight so you have the right responses to people’s objections and great answers to a potential franchise buyer’s questions. Make sure your collateral, forms, web presentation and overall franchise message are clear, concise and well thought out so that when you begin to sing, people will want to listen.
Understand that it requires a significant amount of leads to close one sale, so don’t get frustrated or disheartened because the first franchise candidate doesn’t turn out to be a winner, keep working on the candidates and focus on filling your pipeline with more people. This definitely is a numbers game, the beauty of the franchise sales business is that you have the opportunity to share your vision, talk about your business and help other people learn how to take the first steps in becoming an entrepreneur.
The good news is that many of the first franchises that we have sold for new franchise brands started with organic leads. People who have eaten at your restaurant purchased your product or used your service are typically the first to make a move on a franchise brand they trust and know as a consumer. So, the first order of business is to socialize your franchise and let people know that you are offering a great opportunity.
Here are some effective ways to sell your first franchise:
- Talk to Customers
- Get Signage and Physical Presentations
- Focus on Social media
- Offer incentives to your employees
- Sell Opportunity by Being Early
1. Talk to Customers
Start to talk to customers about the franchise. It can be a “light” conversation, so you don’t make customers feel like you are giving them the hard push, but you can bring it up in conversation and will find that many of your customers will then turn into franchise leads….just by making it a priority in the regular day to day business to let people know.
2. Get Signage and Physical Presentations
Get signage and physical presentations out in front of customers at your location, or if you are in a service model, on your vehicle, equipment, fliers, menus and whatever else you can get “Franchise Opportunities Available” to fit on! You will be amazed how many times some of the first franchise sales come from suggestive selling in simple ways like this can work for selling your first franchise.
3. Focus on Social media
Social media is the heck out of your Franchise. I’ve found that many of us are shy about sharing opportunities or promoting on social media, this is your first official notice that you need to just get over it and tell the world about what you are doing and why it could be great for anyone looking to start a business. Be tactful and post on a scheduled basis, like 3-4 times per month about the franchise. Hit FaceBook, Instagram and we have one new franchise brand that has sold over 30 units in the first two years of their franchise expansion using entirely TikTok to promote their brand and create energy around their franchise offering.
If you aren’t comfortable doing this, or like I am just too old for social media…hire some social media experts that specialize in this and can manage the social media campaign for you.
4. Offer incentives to your employees
Why not offer your team $2,500 per franchise referral they generate if they get a name and a number that turns into a $40,000 franchise fee and recurring royalties? Be generous with people who could have ANY influence on a potential buyer. All too often, when a business starts its franchise development, if you ask the employee who’s running the register about the franchise, they have no clue, no idea and no reason to care about going any further with the conversation. Motivate your team with some skin in the game and you will find that everyone will want to help push the franchise.
5. Sell Opportunity by Being Early
The way we have had success generating the first 1-5 franchise unit sales is typically by selling the fact that you get in now and you have generous terms. You get to be a really big part of staging the company’s growth, validating the franchise system and ultimately getting better terms because you joined early. Some of the biggest franchise systems we’ve worked with that grew to hundreds of units sold their first few for discounted franchise fees, larger territories, lower royalty fees and other benefits for taking the leap to a new franchise system.
Franchising is fun and genuinely can be one of the most effective ways to scale a brand into new markets without the risk and grind of company-owned growth. Once you get past the initial launch, the franchise model begins to pick up momentum and has the potential for a serious snowball effect.
Subway took 20 years to get to 3,000 stores and in the next 10 opened 30,000 locations. Push through the tough part, get your “founding member” franchisees who can validate your brand and then hold on tight for the exponential growth that franchising your business can create.