How to approach a franchisorOnce you have narrowed down your shortlist, you will need to start approaching franchisors. It is important to remember that the franchisor has invested a lot of time, effort and money in building their brand, so they want to ensure that you will be the right partner for them to achieve mutual success. They will also not want to have a franchisee failure on their hands, as this will reflect badly on them insofar as a banks view on their network. It will also have a significant drain on head offices resources, as they will need to manage the situation pre-failure. Finally, the other franchisees will be affected by a fellow franchisee failing, and this will impact on the overall network morale.
You should prepare for this approach in the same way that you would prepare for a job interview: before you even pick up the phone, or email them, research the company and learn as much as you can about them. This advice might seem very basic; but it’s surprising how many people enter the first stage of the communication process blindly. This will put you in good stead for the development of the conversations, as most franchisors will look to filter their applicants during the initial contacts so that they only devote significant time to the ones that they consider are serious about investing in their network.
This is perhaps even more so nowadays, given that the internet has allowed prospective franchisees to contact several franchisors at once, simply by selecting the ones that they wish to obtain more information from. Previously, prospective franchisees had to phone each and every franchisor, and spend far more time around the initial process during ‘work’ hours. With the internet, there are more hours and less time per initial contact – perhaps a recipe for drunken 2am enquiries to each and every franchisor in a particular directory!
Given the first paragraph, it goes without saying that all communications should be professional. Make sure that there are no spelling mistakes in your emails, and that you are communicating clearly. When meeting a franchisor, make sure that you are projecting the image that you wish to project, as if you were applying for a very senior job at their organisation. There will be an element of the recruitment process which becomes ‘salesy’, but you do need to bear in mind that it is a two way process at all times, and the franchisor will be cautious of any red flags that you may inadvertently raise during their discussions and communications with you.
The above is an extract from The Franchising Handbook, which is due for release later this year. Follow this link to pre-order and be one of the first to read it!