Want to Catch a Big Fish Multi-Unit Franchisee? 1851 Provides 5 Insights to Help You Better Strategize

Want to Catch a Big Fish Multi-Unit Franchisee? 1851 Provides 5 Insights to Help You Better Strategize

These five insights will help brands set up the strongest foundation possible to create awareness for the franchising industry’s most coveted group of owners.

Want to Catch a Big Fish Multi-Unit Franchisee? 1851 Provides 5 Insights to Help You Better Strategizeby Nick Powills
1851 Franchise

There is a reason nearly every franchisor has identified the multi-unit/multi-brand franchisee as their ideal candidate. They have more financial resources, they understand franchising, they are scalable, they are influential, they can grow faster and their expectations are aligned with good business versus perceptions.

However, the hunt for the great franchisee is very difficult. In fact, you may have a better chance at winning the lottery with what you will ultimately spend trying to convince these influencers to join your brand. Add it up: $20,000 for a show, $10,000 for an ad, $2,000/month for ongoing PPC campaigns, $20,000 for a new development website because the one that was a best practice site two years ago is outdated, a new message, new brochures, a PR agency – and it keeps going and going and going.

You are hunting the unicorn. And for a brand that doesn’t have people hunting them down like crazy, that unicorn will cost a lot of time and money.

But, what if you start looking for the wolf?

The best way to hunt a wolf is by waiting—staying in the same spot, not moving, remaining committed to the process.

Multi-unit franchisees are the same.

Here are five insights to help you set up the strongest foundation possible to create awareness for this coveted group of franchise owners:

Five years ago, franchise prospects came to your website for research. Now, they use the web and the community to understand your brand.

Websites were all the rage. Everyone was over investing in their sites. Today, website vendors are still selling the website as the holy grail. While still extremely important and vital to your sales process, it is not the holy grail anymore. The web is. It’s not that buyers are smarter, it’s that they have more access to information. And they read it all. Your digital footprint is now the holy grail, but, it may not be forever, as communications will shift.

Five years ago, fewer franchise brands had identified the multi-unit/multi-brand operator as their ideal target.

Now, you are competing against a room full of franchisors who want those select buyers. Look around the room at the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference and what do you see? Hundreds of franchisors patiently waiting for the unicorn to walk up and talk with them about their opportunity. Let’s use logical math. If there are 500 franchisees in the room, 10 percent are willing to invest in another brand (because they know how much the current brands in their portfolio cost to build and about what they will make), and 10 percent of those are interested in buying this year. That leaves five buyers in the room for 500 franchisors. If you want the big players, you better have a compelling story – a “why you” and “why now.” You better have great unit-level economics. You better have a great strategy for them (resales, territory size and incentive).

Chances are the multi-unit franchisee already knows who you are. Thus, it’s not the educational tactics you need to focus on. Rather, it’s the “why now.” 

First, not all multi-unit franchisees are created equally. Much like franchisors, there are various categories of them, too (emerging and established – under 10 units and over). If you can convince them to go to a conference and leave their business (which is possible, since the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference is one of the few focused on them), they already researched who is there and have mapped out their strategy of who they want to talk with. Full-circle – if your website has a special section for them, describing your leadership’s vision and your “why” for them, then perhaps you can leverage a site to drive awareness.

The best marketing for franchise development is franchisees.

Some brands are smart and bring star franchisees to the show. Why? Franchisees are your best franchise sales marketing assets. They validate, they push, they refer. They are the key to growth. Without great franchisees who validate, good luck snagging a big player. You are more likely to be swallowed up by them versus partnering with them.

There is no unicorn in franchise development. It’s doing a lot of the little things really well.

You will be told that PR is the magic to driving franchise sales. Lies. You will be told that this portal website will be your ultimate solution. Lies. You will be told that a print ad will put your story in front of the right buyer. Lies. But not lies forever. The truth is, your opportunity will have to sell itself. A great product, great unit-level economics, great leadership and the right territory will all impact the buying decision. Before the buying decision, it is up to you to create as many impressions as possible to make sure that when buyer X decides it’s time to buy a franchise, they at least invite you to the dinner table. There are no silver bullets; it’s a loaded gun that sprays bullets all over the place. There is no magic is franchise sales – it’s doing a lot of the little things as best as you can.

Ready to take your strategies to the next level? Contact us:

Nick Powills
1851 Franchise

Sean Fitzgerald
Chief Development Strategist
1851 Franchise