It’s a thorny old issue, recruiting franchisees, and there’s certainly plenty of debate about the best way to do it.
Of course, recruiting franchisees, at least in the early days, is a vital activity for any franchisor and there’s always the temptation to apply the standard criteria for a new franchisee: got a pulse? Yep. Got a cheque book? Yep.
But let’s assume that the rest of the world is slightly less cynical than I am (hard to do, I know) and explore the pros and cons of various recruitment processes.
I know a guy who swears absolutely blind that the only way to recruit franchisees is face to face and one to one. There’s no flexibility to that; it’s just the way it is.
I remember a conversation I listened in to at one such meeting:
Potential: (in a Mr Bean voice) Hello. Now I have a portfolio of my achievements here and I’d like to tell you all about myself.
Franchisor: (in a loud voice) Stop! Stop! Franchising is all about system and process and you’ll be pleased to know that I have a system for bringing on board franchisees. I’m in charge of this meeting, not you. Now, tell me all about yourself!
His reasoning is actually pretty sound. He believes that the franchisee’s relationship is with him and him alone. Why would he put a group of potential franchisees in a room together so they gang up on him? There’s also the chance that one of them will hijack a discovery day, or turn out to be an assassin… or that any number of other things might go wrong.
Ah, yes, but, there’s another side to the argument, isn’t there?
I know another franchisor who swears absolutely blind that the only way to recruit franchisees is on a discovery day.
Twice a month he gets a group of potential franchisees (usually there’s between 4 and 20 of them) in a room and he explains the set up, the process, the training, etc. He then takes them to lunch, completes a one to one interview and sends them on their way with some research to do… which includes ringing round at least 5 other franchisees.
It’s a slick process, with plenty of follow up, and has been refined over many years.
So which is best?
That’s a complicated question and the answer depends on many things… not least of which is the number of leads the franchise is generating.
Having said that, there is an answer to the question.
And that is: Neither.
Or: Both. (If you are a half full person).
Whatever… the answer is that it doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is a defined process that you lead each franchisee through, with steps, contact and decision points.
Firstly, this demonstrates that you understand and apply the principles of franchising and secondly, you make your recruitment process as efficient as possible.
Process is everything!