Why lead nurturing is essential for your franchise
So much time, energy and resources are devoted to lead generation for franchises. However, all this hard work can be scuppered by not affording adequate resources. And that is why lead follow-up is vital to the success of your business.
By following an established contact follow-up process, you can prove the reliability of your franchise; establish its proven track record, demonstrate it offers correct and relevant training, and communicating anything else of value potential investors.
But before we go any further….
How does your business generate leads?
That’s where Franchise Direct can help; we are a leading global portal for quality lead generation.
Covering five continents - Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania - our expert team can quickly make your profile a dynamic lead generator, and we are always exploring ways to build on our 25 years of expertise in the field to improve even further. However, why put all that effort into lead generation if there is no follow-through?
That is why we need to define…What is lead nurturing?
After a quick Google, you will see loads of varying definitions for ‘lead nurturing’, usually involving buzz terms, such as “funnels and sales cycles”.
However, in terms of franchisors, lead nurturing is the relationship building process with your lead; from the first point of interest, through each subsequent stage of their journey to becoming a franchisee. Simple, right?
What problems can lead nurturing solve?
According to research from Hubspot and Marketo, the top priority for 74 percent of businesses is converting leads into customers, while more than 95 percent of visitors to your website aren’t ready to buy yet.
Lead nurturing aims to close the gap between these two figures. When leads provide their details, they are asking to receive more information about what you and your brand can offer them and their entrepreneurial aspirations. The correct content and right communication can help swing a budding entrepreneurs to invest in your franchise business.
Lead nurturing is often seen as the link between marketing and sales. It is a process that requires effort, but effort which done right, can yield great results.
So, why is nurturing vital for your business?
Research from Harvard revealed the optimum time to reach out to sales’ leads is within an hour of receiving the initial query. However, this isn’t, nor should it be the conclusion of lead nurturing methods.
According to research by Ascend2, approximately half of businesses cited their leads require “long cycle” nurturing, with many influences. Research conducted by Hubspot also highlighted that typically there are on average, 10 nurturing steps before a paying customer is converted, and when we’re talking franchises, the number of steps in this process can be much more.
This might sound like a big ask but the alternative is setting yourself up for failure. Failing to act can lead to negative results for your business. To put it more candidly, failure to nurture your leads will see a huge number of sales lost.
So, what are the stages of the lead nurturing process?
Everything is easier to understand when broken down into minute digestible parts and lead nurturing is no different.
For franchises, we can divide this process into four different groups, more easily remembered by the acronym ‘FIND’ (Focus, Interest, Nurture, Deal).
Stage One – Focus
First, focus on the ideal franchisee you are seeking; their skills, experience, personality etc. and use the appropriate tools to connect.
This can be achieved by advertising on the right channels, becoming an information and scoping out what other franchise businesses do and don’t do well during the sales process.
Stage Two – Interest
When you have been contacted by a potential franchisee for more information about your franchise opportunity, it is vital you follow up on this interest gently. Of course, a prompt follow up with the prospective investor is needed, but do not overwhelm them with information overload.
Email marketing campaigns can and should be utilised, the message and content need to be appropriate. Content should be useful and practical, using short videos, blog posts and online discovery days.
Stage Three – Nurture
This is when the lead is interested in discovering even more about your franchise and is showing real signs of becoming part of your franchise system. At this point, content can become more personal and tailored to the specific candidate. Try building a rapport and develop a one-on-one dialogue and make sure to schedule further contact in future.
This is when the sales and marketing teams coalesce, working in tandem to detect the needs of the lead and to try to fulfil them as best they can, and ultimately close the deal.
One-on-one conversations are a fundamental at this juncture too; with franchisor-franchisee meetings, follow-ups, and details of potential return on investments being discussed. Social networks such as LinkedIn, SMS or WhatsApp can play a very useful role for information delivery and contact, especially in a less formal and more casual consumption.
Stage Four – Deal
This is where the franchisee has opted to join your franchise family. You want to sustain that existing relationship built over the previous stages to ensure it is a prosperous one for all involved, and all going well, the deal brokered can go
beyond the initial franchise agreement.
A welcoming gesture, as well as tailored personalised help and franchise privileges can ensure a successful onboarding is achieved.
Where do we go from here?
According to the IFA Franchise Sales Index (International Franchise Association), franchisors are only closing on average 1.2 percent of deals that enter their sales funnel. There are numerous reasons for this, but a lack of focus on lead nurturing is a huge contributing factor.
Too many leads are not fully realised due to a lack of adequate time being assigned to lead nurturing, and simultaneously, the communication and content used during the process is often not of the required quality.
Obviously, not every inquiry will invest in your franchise business but not investing appropriate time and resources into lead nurturing will ensure that less and less prospects complete the journey from enquiry to franchisee.
Franchise Asia is here to help you, from getting leads, to nurturing them, to ensuring more of them become buyers.Contact us today to discover more about how we can work together.