Transforming your lead from a curious inquisitor into a new recruit is your job as a franchisor. You can’t do this by reasoning with them and having arguments about why you’re the best.
Instead, you ensure they stay with you using a perfectly crafted onboarding process.
The onboarding phase is the journey you take your new signups on to help them feel confident and orientate them to the franchising process.
To ensure your onboarding process isn’t leaky, you need to ask yourself some analytical questions, and be honest with yourself.
ONE: What is your onboarding process?
First of all, get a pen and paper and map out the process from hearing about your opportunity to leaving an email address. Then continue to sketch out each step. Can you see a clear journey forming that nurtures your leads? Or do the stepping stones end in the middle of the pond with nowhere to go? Your onboarding process needs to be a bridge that reaches right the way over to their own franchise office. You obviously don’t stop being supportive there, but we’re only talking about onboarding for today.
Would you feel supported by your own onboarding phase? How can you make sure you’ve set up your infrastructure to support people in their moments of anxiety? Are you catering to all their pain points?
TWO: Do you have a prospectus?
I have a prospectus in my onboarding process and it’s actually one of the first stages in my franchise funnel. It lets people know everything about the franchise opportunity: What they will receive, who will be helping them, testimonials from our existing franchisees and expectations in terms of payment and commitment. Once they have read through the prospectus, they have a pretty good idea if the opportunity is right for them and vice versa. We also use the prospectus as a means of collecting email addresses so we can keep in touch with them. The moment they research the opportunity may not be the right time to invest, so we can keep our leads warm in order that that they remember us when they’re finally ready to go.
THREE: Does your onboarding process reflect the personality of your brand?
Onboarding is developing a relationship. Once your potential franchisee jumps on a discovery call with you, they should have a good idea of who they want to work with. Your process should showcase all the benefits of your opportunity, but also incorporate your brand’s personality too. This ought to be supported with your social media – paid and organic, your blog posts and, of course, your prospectus. The more rapport you can create in these early stages, the more likely you are to get them to sign up for a discovery call. I had one enquirer say to me recently on a discovery call, “I feel like I know you already.” This is because he had been following Apollo on other channels and felt a connection to the brand.
FOUR: Are you drip feeding enough information at each stage?
I know you’re probably thinking “But Cheryl, you just said you give them all the information in the prospectus. Why are you now talking about drip-feeding?” Yes, I give a lot of information in my prospectus. But I am careful to deliver information in such a way so as not to overwhelm people.
As the franchisor, it’s your job to show them the next step in enough detail so they never feel lost. If you don’t have this process, you need to fix this or you will lose a lot of promising applicants along the way.
FIVE: Are you testing your onboarding process?
Once you’ve set up your journey, you may not be aware of all of the pitfalls. This is because you’re so involved and you’re not in the same mindset as someone going through the funnel naturally. Get your honest, loving and critical friends to test the process for you. Be careful who you choose – Your nan will most likely tell you it’s perfect, and your ex-boss will probably tear it to shreds. Choose people who support you and also feel open telling you that something isn’t working. Also, be kind to your guinea pigs and take what they have to say in good grace. You can always get the Build a Franchise Empire Facebook Group to test it too – they’re all in the same process and will love a chance to discuss these themes as their friends don’t always get it either.
Finally, Keep revisiting your process and tweaking it until it becomes seamless.
I’ll soon be releasing my suggested franchise process downloadable to help you design your onboarding structure and posting it in the free Resources area.