How to streamline your franchisee recruitment

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

What steps can be taken to improve the process of recruiting franchisees? Every franchise system will have its own approach but there are some standard procedures that will bring greater efficiency to the task.

Develop a franchisee profile

Do you know exactly what skills, attributes and financial backing you require from your franchisees? It can be difficult for fledgling franchisors to be selective but there are some points to consider.

  • What specific skills are required? Is there a technical qualification required, is a sales background important?
  • Think about culture: what are the key values of the franchise that you need your franchisees to align with?
  • What sort of personality is needed to run the business? A quiet efficient individual might be invaluable behind the scenes at admin but not so great at liaising with customers and selling product.
  • Will you need your franchisees to be energetic and physically fit?
  • Do you want your franchisee to have ambitions to develop their business beyond one territory or store?
  • What investment is required from the franchisee and is this non-negotiable?

Analyse your system from a buyer’s perspective

When did you last take a long hard look at your model? Consider whether your system stands up against the competition in terms of costs and benefits, and whether making any changes to the model would boost the appeal to the type of franchise buyer you are seeking.

  • Are your franchisees making a profit?
  • Is your training effective?
  • Are franchisees getting value for money from their franchise and marketing fees?
  • Could a greater focus on IT increase efficiencies?

Get the message out to the market

With clarity on the franchise package on offer, and a target franchisee in mind, getting the word out about your brand becomes an easier task. Create a consistent message for recruitment marketing that reflects reality, not a dream.

Today it is essential to have more than one marketing angle – not just the ‘buy me!’ advertisement.

When prospective franchisees are investigating franchising, they are not all ready to purchase, so to have a suite of articles that address issues franchise buyers have at different stages of their journey gives you the chance to communicate at the relevant level.

There are myriad ways to market your franchise – local newspapers and radio, business magazines, recruitment websites, social media, in-store, word of mouth – although digital assets have clear advantages, and many franchisors will use multiple channels to successfully recruit.

Create a step-by-step selection process

Structure a selection process and make everyone in your company aware of it – including existing franchisees who should be your best ambassadors for your brand. And of course, if you expect transparency from your potential franchisees, be prepared to be transparent and share relevant financial and business information with them so they can make an educated decision.

Some points to consider:

  • How do you want your prospective franchisees to contact you? By phone or email?
  • How much information do you want them to provide upfront and how will you get this information?
  • How quickly will you respond to leads?
  • What information do you have to send out to them?
  • Who will conduct reference and credit checks, and when?
  • How do you engage with prospective franchisees who aren’t yet ready to buy?
  • Do you know what the Franchising Code of Conduct requires in terms of information disclosure?
  • What financial information will you share with the applicant?
  • Is there a minimum level of due diligence you expect a franchise buyer to conduct?
  • Will you conduct a psychometric test?
  • When will you conduct an interview?
  • Who will be at the initial interview?
  • Will there be a follow-up?
  • Who are the essential head office staff members a prospective franchisee needs to meet?
  • What do you do if the prospective franchisee’s application for funding falls through?

Conduct a great interview

A face-to-face interview needs structure too, to avoid falling into the 30-second trap – making-up your mind about someone within the first half minute of meeting them. Instinct is valuable, but it needs to be backed up by information and some stringent questioning.

This is a great opportunity to evaluate energy levels, commitment, ambition, personality and brand alignment. Ask open-ended, outcome-based questions for the most useful and measurable responses.

Of course this is not a one-way interview – the franchise buyer will be making judgements about your brand and culture too.

Add work experience to the process

A spell working alongside another franchisee could be decisive for the applicant. Why not have your incoming franchisees find out just what the job entails before they sign up? There is no substitute for the experience of running your own business, but a taster goes some way to ensuring franchisees appreciate the reality of the role.

Work experience could extend from a couple of days to a few weeks, and take place with either a single or multiple franchisees.

The difficulty of recruiting franchisees who will turn out to be successful, for themselves and the brand, continues to be a challenge for most franchisors. There is no easy way to get it right but formulating a process helps consistency and allows you to analyse what does work.