There was a time when franchise development teams purposely held some of their cards close to the vest, withholding specific and valuable information until later in the sales process. With increasing competition, a plethora of resources available across the internet, and consumers (potential franchisees in this case) wanting to make faster decisions based on easy-to-find information, it’s time to reconsider what franchise opportunity information you are sharing when.

When it comes to your website, make sure you are answering questions that potential franchisees are looking for. The basics include the core values and mission of your franchise brand (although they don’t need to be specifically spelled out using those headings), the services and offerings your business sells, the vetting process, the onboarding process, next steps, etc. Don’t make users hunt for the information that you know they are going to want; clearly organize and present it.

When it comes to finances, the more transparent you are, the better. Franchises that share their Item 19s help potential franchisees move along the decision-making process more efficiently. If you find there’s a particular barrier to entry that sales reps making personal calls can’t easily overcome, go ahead and put it out there sooner. The bottom line is that you are looking for qualified leads, so if someone falls off, that’s OK. You want your franchise development team spending time nurturing qualified leads, not weeding out those who aren’t.

And likewise, if you have relevant statistics, such as quartile earning potential, share those, also. If your franchise has a high front-end investment, but many franchisees break even after the first year and then find great financial reward, share that information in a way that will protect you legally but still draw the interested party further down the funnel.

Also consider what other information is available online. Just because you choose not to address something on your website, doesn’t mean the discussion isn’t taking place elsewhere. Do a little research to find out the answers to commonly asked questions that come up on different sites. If needed, update and revise your content so that your franchise brand is driving the conversation on your own website for potential franchisees beginning the exploration process.

Current, successful franchisees are another key part of the franchise development sales process. Bring them in early in the process by including their testimonials on your website to help convert top-of-funnel leads. Then, include them in phone calls and in-person meetings as potential franchisees move closer to signing.

The franchise development process often begins with the website and ends with in-person meetings. Have ongoing communication with your franchise development team to find the types of questions they are running into. The goal is to move helpful and relevant information further up the funnel to ensure that your franchise development team is getting the  most qualified leads.

This blog was written by Curious Jane and previously published on the blog of the International Franchise Association.

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