When you market your franchise opportunity, you obviously want to make it as appealing to the right sort of people as possible – the ‘right sort of people’ being people who fit your franchisee profile. After all, there’s no point trying to cast a giant marketing net over the whole of the UK and everybody in it, when in reality you are maybe only trying to attract 50 people in quite specific areas of the country. So, what tools do you have at your disposal that can really hit the mark?
One of the most valuable, and cheapest to produce marketing tools available to an up-and-running franchise, is the franchisee case study. So why so valuable? It can offer a prospect two things that you, as the franchisor, normally cannot. Firstly, all your franchisees have once been stood exactly where the people researching your franchise are stood right now. You built a business and franchised it, whereas your franchisees wanted to ‘work for themselves but not by themselves’ so researched franchising to find the most suitable opportunity for them. This is the relatable element that is so crucial in a case study.
Prospects will likely be trying to weigh up the pros and cons of leaving a job, with a salary and benefits, to take a serious leap of faith into running a replica of the business you created. You really can’t underestimate the level of trust you are asking for from a prospect to join your network. This is where the second most valuable element of a franchisee case study comes in – the third-party endorsement.
In a world where Amazon has become most people’s first port of call when buying anything from a frying pan to a new TV, and where Trip Advisor helps us decide where to go on holiday, and where Check A Trade.Com tells us who’s our best bet locally to fit a new tap, we are hugely influenced by the reviews of people we don’t even know. When it comes to a prospect making their decision, there is nothing more powerful than the endorsement of your existing franchisees who all made the leap of faith and are now, hopefully, reaping the benefits of doing so.
Of course, the aim of the case study shouldn’t be simply to have a franchisee parrot all your existing marketing messages about what makes your brand is so great and how well they are doing. It’s the human element of that person’s journey to become a franchisee – the decisions they made, how they overcame their own objections, and those of their partners perhaps, that will really resonate with a prospect who is going through that exact experience in real time.
It’s why prospects spending time with a positive franchisee is such an important part of your recruitment process, and why having successful franchisees with you at an exhibition can be so powerful.
Prospects want to read positive case studies full of insight and relatable human elements from a happy and successful franchisee, or at least a franchisee who is happy and feeling confident that they are ‘on their way’ to becoming successful.
Of course, as the franchisor, you need to make sure you know which of your franchisees are indeed happy and successful, rather than simply identifying the ones who stick to the rules and pay their royalties. A prospect will be trying to understand the big, complete picture of life as a franchisee and whether or not your franchise does what it says on the tin.
You can measure a franchisee’s success in three ways:
The first: Money.
- Are franchisees’ financial returns meeting their expectations?
The second: Happiness.
- Does the franchisee enjoy what they do – is there job satisfaction in the day to day? For example, if there is a ‘we really help people’ element to the product or service, do they feel they are achieving that – or just doing it for the money?
The third: Value in their ongoing relationship with you, the franchisor. Was & is it worth it – are they getting what they are paying for?
- Every month franchisees pay an MSF – do they feel the services and support they get are worth it, worth more or worth less?
The actual questions asked should of course carry a much greater degree of subtlety, after all it’s an interview not an interrogation, but a good case study will tease all these elements to the fore and reward the reader with the reassurance they were looking for. Equally, if your franchisees are reporting positively in all three areas, then that should give you some wonderful reassurance of your own that your franchise really does deliver for its franchisees!