Dream Doors

Dream Doors

How have you encourages franchisees to increase profits and what kind of processes have you put in place to boost their sales ability?

We look to ensure that our franchisees are selling at the right price, that they order the products correctly and that they can measure correctly. It is not just about sales, it is ensuring that they can manage their margins in terms of the ordering process, the measuring, the surveying and managing their fitters to make sure that their fitters are running at the right pace. There are several ways that we can help our franchisees become more profitable and we focus on that during weekly or bi-monthly Business Development Manager (BDM) visits. Our BDMs go out on more sales calls with franchisees than at any time before, leading by example and helping to close deals – especially in the early days.

Because we are taking people from a non-kitchen, and often even a non-sales background, they need to understand this is the model that’s been proven to work. Some areas of the model they may be strong in, and other they may have a weakness in. When we teach, train and coach them we learn a lot more about them as an individual and the areas that they need to focus on more for improvement.

It’s not just about the sales, but the margin of those sales.

We are now also hosting regular sales masterclasses with franchisees. Eight of these are going on this month spread across the country. The objective is to share best practice, to learn from some sales professionals, and help our franchisees maximise every appointment and lead they generate.

How do you ensure your franchisees are receiving the support they need?

All franchisees receive a comprehensive four-week initial training period. During this time, they are taught all facets of the business from their business set up and supplier visits to IT training and vehicle hire. Following on from this is a nine-day intensive training course taking place in a specialised training centre situated near the company’s head offices in Gosport, Hampshire. These days cover sales, surveying and product training in a functioning Dream Doors showroom.

Now an extra appendage has been added to the training package, franchisees will receive three further days supplier training as well as one day of IOSH Health and Safety. The extra days with suppliers ensures franchisees’ businesses run smoothly from the outset. And the induction of IOSH approved Health and Safety Awareness Training means new franchisees gain crucial knowledge on safety within their kitchen services.

As well as the new and improved training course franchisees are also assigned a BDM who oversees their operations and assists in any way needed. Each BDM has 15 franchisees and will spend a whole day with each franchisee to work on the business with them as if it was their own. In fact, the BDM is viewed as a non-exec director and there to live and breathe the franchisee’s business as if it were their own. There is also then a Director of Operations who will oversee all the franchisees, and be able to narrow down into each one’s accounts to assist where needed.

What are the marketing developments that you have made and how have they affected sales?

We are now spending half a million pounds each year on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimisation (SEO) to improve our online presence. Since this has been implemented, we have seen over 70,000 visits to our website, of which 48,000 are unique visitors, each month. We have two external companies and three head office employees dedicated to SEO and PPC.

Three years ago, we were on 20,000 visits to our website a month compared to the 70,000 now. This is generating at least 60-70% of our franchisees lead flow through the website.

What is your secret to successful franchisee recruitment, and how do you ensure that you are getting the right people?

Franchisee recruitment is a full-time job. We know who our franchisees are through profiling them and looking at what has historically made a successful franchisee. It is attitude and personality that we are looking for, everything else is teachable. Through our in-house expertise, we know the places to look for prospective franchisees and then we have a stringent process of vetting them, profiling them and assessing them before they are even introduced to Troy and Bill to take the recruitment process further.

We have full disclosure throughout the process and share all information with them so we can expect them to share everything with us. We share the potential challenges they may face so that they can decide if they can overcome them, and to see if they can work with us as a team. We encourage them to spend time with existing franchisees so that they can experience being a franchisee first-hand and also hear their points of view. Importantly, we share all financials with prospective new franchisees so they can understand the investment and returns to ensure it matches their own expectations.

It is a long process to make sure that we get the right person from an ethical point of view, but also a commercial point of view as our success is directly linked to the success of our franchisees.

Funding is one of the key points that we stress to our franchisees because as much as we try and ensure that our projections are accurate, franchisees need to have sufficient funding to cover any roadblocks they may meet along the way.

What development do you have planned for the future?

We are constantly looking at ways to improve the Dream Doors model in terms of its franchisees support, its brand growth and its consumer offering. Regarding franchisees support, we ask our franchisees themselves what they would like to see introduced. Feedback has shown that they would like more sales process training (which we have already implemented), more staff training, more assistance in finding the right fitters and then managing them, added training on finance and accounts and, finally, anything to increase margins - which has been the key focus of the last 12 months. Importantly, we ask franchisees what they want, we listen to them and we implement it wherever we can.

In terms of our consumer offering, we are always looking at new products and innovations. We are also investing more in marketing, with a new website set for a summer launch and a new TV campaign.

What have you learnt along the way and what advice would you give other companies thinking of franchising?

It has been a long journey and, it is only when you look back that you realise how far you have come. Franchising is a fantastic business model, but only with the right people behind it who possess the tenacity to drive a brand forwards. There must be a sufficient level of resources to ensure steady growth, and the franchisor must have a responsible attitude toward recruitment and retention of franchisees. That means being prepared to say no to people that aren’t right, and to provide help and support to the people it says yes to.

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