Let’s assume you’ve followed the advice and quidelines in the first three segments of the series on Franchise Development via Social Media. You’ve established your “Virtual Meeting Room” as a Facebook group page and requests to join are submitted everyday. Customers of your franchisees are joining and posting comments about how much they enjoy the experience at the franchise locations. Franchisees have posted some testimonials that really do complement the Founder’s video about his passion and vision for the business. You’re even surprised at how many corporate and franchisee employees have participated and posted comments and photos. All-in-all, you’re proud of the Facebook page and proud of the effort put into developing and maintaining the page.
You’re now looking at you’re social media strategy and you preview the company blog. You feel the content may be all over the board, touching on franchise development, expansion into the Southeast, a new franchisee in Santa Fe, community activity at the franchise location in Seattle and even an article submitted by one of your franchisees about one of his long-time customers, but then you stop a realize how much this menagerie of topics, text, graphics and photos portrays the true face of the franchise concept. You make a note to have your social media administrator issue a press release on just that thought.
A quick review of Twitter puts a smile on your face as you see the number of people following the concept increasing everday. Then you recall the blog stats revealed a sharp increase in visits from Twitter. Wow, there’s a positive trend here we need to watch. Come to think of it, you’ve noticed an increase in franchise inquiries and wonder if there’s a correlation here. You then look closely at the new people following on Twitter and you backtrack to the company’s recent posts and discussions in several LinkedIn and Facebook groups that just so happen to consist of educators, and realize many of the new franchise inquiries have educational backgrounds. Hmmm, you decide to cross-check the names against LinkedIn profiles and smile again as you notice they’re members of LinkedIn, are in the specific groups you’ve targeted, and many have actually participated in the group discussions where the social media administrator posted some very interesting discussions about careers after teaching and about moms returning to the workforce or exploring career alternatives. It sure is coming together.
You note there are some qualified candidates frequently visiting your Facebook group page, checking out the same information repeatedly and posting specific questions about your franchise opportunity. You’ve even noticed some candidates posting comments about the customer testimonials and some personal messages about the Founder’s video. Now what? Certainly this social media thing isn’t magical that it’ll actually close a few franchise deals, right?
Just like you’ve integrated traditional marketing strategies with social media strategies, you need to be integrating personal interaction as well. However, instead of an aggressive, focused sales approach, the interaction should be subtle and guiding. Use the social media tools to make your points and make the experience enjoyable and interesting. Your candidates will most likely marvel at the new technology and feel comfortable learning about the technology AND the franchise concept. And yes, they’ll be more comfortable with you and be fully at ease working through disclosure and the finer points of the concept itself.
The rest comes down to guiding your candidates towards making a decision as it will now fully be an informed decision that has been validated by the social media experience AND the franchisees the candiates have contacted. Hmmm, your franchisees actually feel more part of the franchise sales process than ever before. You smile again as you realize it did make the process easier than in the past. Yes, it’ll be very nice to achieve your franchise development goals once again. Maybe next year, you’ll actually exceed them!
Fantasy or Reality? Achieveable or Not? Easy or Hard? That’s up to you and your team. It comes down to personal accountability, diligent execution of your strategy and plan, professional handling of franchise candidates at all times and above all, NO SHORTCUTS!
Personal accountability is necessary in monitoring your social media activity, updating blog content and keeping things fresh. Nobody will stay at a dull party, right? Putting off things for tomorrow that should be done today is just not acceptable. It becomes a reflection of how you handle even the simplest things and the a lack of urgency and poor attention to detail will translate into how you’ll handle the franchise sale and ultimately, your franchisees.
Diligent execution of your strategy and plan is essential. Certainly, you’ll make adjustments along the way. But your plan is your roadmap. Follow it as closely as possible. Allow extra time and resources as necessary for roadblocks and detours, but stay on course. Monitor your progress. How fast did you get from point A to point B. How fast did a candidate get from point A to Point B? Is the process slowing down or speeding up? Why? Do you need to do some system maintenance to the social media vehicle? Maybe your videos aren’t playing correctly? Maybe the photos aren’t laoding fast enough? Maybe it’s time to bring in a technician so you can get back on the road as quickly as possible?
Professional handling of candidates means working with each candidate as you would want to be worked with and treated if you were the one on the verge of making a substantial investment, maybe putting your life savings on the line! It means converying a sense of urgency when asked for information. It means paying attention to detail in something as simple as pronouncing their name correctly all the way to something complex such as full disclosure of the franchise concept. And, it means having the right attitude and conveying the same at every moment of working with the candidate at every point of “contact” including by email, on the phone, in-person, and yes, in the virtual world. Keep in mind, at all points of contact, your attitude will shine through so make sure it shines bright and your franchise future will shine bright as well!
Thank you for travelling with me on this exciting, eye-opening journey. It will be an experience you should be able to relive everytime an individual expresses interest in your concept. At that point, it’s time to smile, focus on the resources you’ve invested, the time you’ve dedicated, and the vision and passion you had when you first started in franchising, and share it with your candidate just as you would share your life with a new addition to your family.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to submit them in the space below. If you would like to contact me directly, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. In any case, I will respond promptly.