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Go Big or Go Home – Attracting Multi-Unit Franchisees

Any franchise brand on the market wants to expand—it’s a core concept of the industry itself. And while there are tried and true ways to get prospective franchisees into your new business funnel, the focus seems to be shifting into another territory altogether. This is the business of how to attract multi-unit franchisees. You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “Go Big or Go Home.” Now, many franchisors are putting this tagline to the test in seeking out multi-unit deals. How do they do it? Where do they put the focus? What could you learn from a few brand titans already successful in implementing this strategy?

The International Franchise Association (IFA) has a few opinions on the subject and they put them in article form here. One of their key tenets in attracting multi-unit buyers was this—is your product or service attractive enough to forge an emotional connection with your next generation of owners? Franchising works because of its systems and support, in addition to name recognition. That’s part of what sets the opportunity apart from opening a regular small business. But the IFA stresses that franchisors need to think about establishing the type of bond in which a potential franchisee wouldn’t be satisfied with just one unit, but rather multiple ones. 

Infrastructure, staffing, support, and preparation should all be key points of any multi-unit expansion effort. Are you recruiting for your brand to open just one operation at a time? How much dedicated time and capital do you spend working on an effort to turn out multi-unit owners? Keep in mind that it’s important for franchisors to have already identified key markets for multi-unit growth. This includes the homework on the ground in preparing a particular market before prospects come knocking on the door. Factors such as market analysis, research, demographics, competitor landscape, and suitable locations all carry the same relevant significance for multi-unit offerings.

When it comes to seeking the multi-unit franchisee partner, do you truly know your audience? Anyone willing to pour three times the resources, money, time and effort into buying a franchise brand is going to be smart, savvy, and deep-pocketed. And they’re typically hungry for information. You’ll need the absolute latest statistics, sales figures, and marketing mix to capture their attention. Make sure that all of your online information is as up-to-date as possible. Because multi-unit franchisees care about the smallest of details. In the movie The Social Network, about the founding of Facebook, one of the company’s earliest advisors brought up an excellent point. Whenever you see a fish mounted on the wall in someone’s office, it’s always a big sports breed like Swordfish, Sailfish or Blue Marlin. Nobody ever mounts a stringer full of Red Snapper. Multi-unit franchisee prospects are the Blue Marlins of the industry. So put in the time and get to know your audience!

Last but not least, validation is a tool that works well across the board in the franchising industry. These built-in testimonials are extremely effective in “hooking” the interest of prospective franchisees. Multi-unit franchise validators can be a powerful weapon in creating the next set of multi-unit owners. Make sure your validation program is specific enough to offer this opportunity if it’s at your disposal. Bear in mind that the testimony provided should reflect the advantages of multi-unit ownership over single franchise ownership.

The push to recruit multi-unit franchisee prospects is a documented trend. In just the past 10 years, the industry has seen a seismic shift toward multi-unit franchisees. According to franchise industry researchers at FranData, multi-unit franchisees currently make up 53 percent of the U.S. landscape. And last time we checked, that’s more than half. If you haven’t specified a task force on evaluating your current specific effort to land multi-unit prospects, maybe it’s time you did.

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As a franchisor, you’ll want to know which existing and potential franchisees best fit your business concept. Proven Match is the proven solution in determining those factors. Through our proven behavioral assessment techniques, predictive analysis becomes a predictive success for your franchise concept. If you’re ready to show your leadership by getting started, give us a call and we’ll put you on the path to a more productive year in 2017.

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