First impressions. They’re worth so much.
In franchising, the first impression you get when you start to look at a specific franchise opportunity, dictates how far you’ll go with your investigation. These days, it’s the franchise company website* that is often where people who are looking at franchises get theirs.
According to website conversion expert Peep Laja*, website visitors form their first impression in about 50 milliseconds. That’s not a lot of time.
And, once you do get interested in a franchise opportunity, franchisors have to keep you interested. They do this in a number of ways. And, your impression of how they do it is crucial.
1. Email Follow-Up
Some franchisors send a “welcome” email to people who have requested information from their website. The email is usually pre-written and it’s automatically sent out. It’s an important one, as it needs to look professional, but not too salesy. Remember, it’s all about first impressions.
2. Phone Follow-Up
Believe it or not, some franchisors-instead of sending out a welcome email, have their franchise development representatives pick up the phone and call. I’ve had clients tell me that after contacting franchise headquarters to request information, they’ve gotten calls back within an hour. A rapid follow-up call from headquarters can create a very positive first impressions as long as it doesn’t come across in an aggressive way. As you’ll see, your first contact with the franchise development representative will probably dictate how things will go during the discovery process.
The Second First Call
The call that your franchise representative sets up on the original follow-up call is a really important one. It’s a pretty formal one, and it will last an hour or more. It will include lots of information sharing by both parties. While it’s really a “let’s get to know one another” type of call from the franchise representative’s perspective, it’s actually way more than that. The representative is sizing you up. And, vice versa.
Important: If this feels more like an interrogation than a conversation, you need to share your feelings with the representative, quickly. It’s your money. There are thousands of other franchise concepts to investigate. You need to look at franchises from a position of strength. Trust me: If you have the right qualifications and you have enough money, they’ll want to have you as a franchisee.
And, it’s how the franchise representative addresses your feelings about my example above, or anything else you’re concerned about as you dig deeper into the opportunity, that will determine where you’ll end up.
Another First Impression
It’s equally important for you to make a good first impression on the franchisor.
Even though you’re the “customer,” or in this case, the potential franchisee, the franchise sales representative has the power to qualify or disqualify you at the beginning of the franchise discovery process. It’s your money, but it’s their offering.
For a better understanding of what I mean, think about your last new car-buying experience.
You’re the one with the money. You’re the customer. But, the automotive franchise (dealer) has the product…the car. But, they’re not the only automotive franchise in town. They know that and so do you.
If you’re rude to them (maybe because you can’t stand the entire car-buying experience) they can tell you to leave their store.
Get to know the franchise development representative at the beginning of the discovery process. Try to make a friend. Allow the representative to get to know you, too. Don’t just talk business. Get personal. Open up a little. Add some humanity to the equation.
After all, buying a franchise isn’t only a business transaction. It’s the beginning of what may end up being a fantastic and rewarding relationship for many years to come.
*Non-U.S. Government links