The International Franchise Expo (IFE) runs from 9-11 May at the Sandton Convention Centre and will put a spotlight on franchising this week. Whether you are exhibiting or not, most franchises are looking for quality new franchisees to strengthen their networks. This article looks at some tips for marketing your franchise.

1. Franchises are awarded, not sold

We believe that a franchise opportunity is awarded to worthy candidates, it shouldn’t be a hard sell to potential franchisees that barely meet your criteria. Hold out for franchisees who will share your passion for the business and your commitment to quality.

2. Beware of the dirty dozen
We often refer to the first franchisees recruited for a network as the “dirty dozen”. When the franchise is starting out, it’s tempting to appoint any franchisees with access to funds, friends and family members who don’t pay all the franchise fees or get other special deals and franchises in non-ideal locations. Setting up a franchise is hard work and the first phase of development is often frustrating when new franchisees are not lining up to buy a franchise. These franchises often become “problem children” down the line. If they are given concessions and are not the ideal candidates, it is likely that they may be the franchisees who are not compliant and who lead to brand risk for the franchisor.

3. Maximise your online profile
Potential franchise buyers are increasingly doing their research online, including searching on online information portals such as and doing Google searches on the company to find out all they need to know. It’s important to have a good online profile with pertinent information on the opportunity. For example, features information such as financial requirements, the ideal franchisee profile and territories available. It’s also worth investing in search engine optimisation to enhance your website ranking on search engines. Social media is another way of enhancing your profile online.

4. Provide quality information
As seen above, potential franchisees will do a lot of their own research before contacting the franchisor. When they do contact you, be sure to send them additional information on the financial requirements and prospects. This will help them to make a decision if they are considering various opportunities.

5. Ensure CPA compliance
Once a prospect is serious and passed your initial screening process, it’s time to provide them with a disclosure document and franchise agreement. To be CPA compliant, you need to allow 14 days to give a potential franchisee enough time to consider this information and get advice if needed. Once the franchise agreement is signed, the franchisee has another 10 days cooling off period within which they may cancel the agreement without penalties. It’s advisable to only start with store building and training once the cooling off period has passed.

6. Expo’s are about the follow up
Attending a franchise expo is all about following up good leads within the quickest possible timeframe. Remember that you are competing with other franchise opportunities. The expense of building a stand and attending the expo will not be worth it unless you follow up.

7. Explore localised media
If you are looking at recruiting a franchisee in a specific area or town, it’s worth considering an advertisement in local media. This is especially relevant in smaller towns that have less media clutter than large cities.

8. Publicise store openings and other newsworthy events
Many franchisors overlook PR as an important sales and marketing tool. The opening of new stores provides an ideal opportunity to get PR exposure as part of the launch. A franchise portal such as Whichfranchise also provides an ideal platform for news stories of this nature. Another PR angle would be to consider the industry the franchise operates in and whether the franchisor can provide interesting news or statistics to gain exposure for the brand.

9. Word of mouth sells franchises
Happy franchisees are your most important ambassadors for the franchise opportunity. It’s important to ensure that franchisees are getting adequate support and training to run profitable businesses. A profitable franchisee is a happy franchisee.

10. Use psychometric assessment tools
These types of assessments are helpful during the interviewing process, as they may be used to identify a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses when compared to the profile of the ideal franchisee. The Franchising Plus E test is one such a tool and has recently been reviewed to ensure a franchisee profile that is relevant to franchising and the current business environment.

If you have comments or would like to discuss your franchisee recruitment efforts, feel free to contact us on 011 454 2235

Franchising Plus