When you’re seeking new franchisees it can be enticing to want to go as fast as possible. You know that each new franchise brings in X number of dollars for you and the business. That’s an exciting prospect. But going fast can lead to issues. You may not bring on the right person. You may overextend investment and put the entire company at risk.
Playing the long game and being patient can be a practical way to bring on new people. But obviously the flip side of this is not closing enough and falling behind on growth expectations. And perhaps missing out on franchisees that find opportunity elsewhere.
Email drip campaigns can help you play the long sales game while also ensuring you’re top of mind at the right moment when the franchisee is ready to act.
Here are a few thoughts and tips on how to attract more franchisees using email drips.
1. Goal: Stay In Contact, Wait For Buying Mode
Let’s focus on people you make first contact with. They reach out to you. You reach out to them. Someone referred them to you or you to them. However you meet, there has been contact made. You know each other. There is at least some potential interest.
Instead of putting the person in the back of your mind where you’re likely to forget, this is where an email drip campaign can help. You can set a schedule and automate messages to send on that schedule to check in, stay in contact and wait for the person to be in buying mode.
Let’s say you meet the person and talk on the phone. You go over the basics. They say they’re not interested. You ask a few why questions and get more info. No issues. You promise to stay in touch.
The person is not in buying mode. This is very common. We’re only in buying mode for anything about 1-3% of the time. But you want to be top of mind when that occurs. Maybe it’s next month. Maybe it’s next year. Sending regular emails is a great way to make sure they remember you when they’re ready to get into business.
2. Simple: Hello, Questions, Tips
Simple is usually good for these emails. Not overly sales-focused. Just checking in to see how things are going. One of my first experiences with a great salesperson was in the B2B space. I worked for a catalog company and a print shop reached out to me. It didn’t lead to a sale right away, but the person would reach out every 2-3 months. Usually just to say hello and see how things were going. They would tell me what was new with them and their company.
That eventually led to a test and that eventually led to a large sale. I think it was like a three-year long process.
Three months seems to be a good cycle. That’s every quarter in the year. You’re not spamming the person. You’re just checking in. Maybe you’re sharing some advice or tips that you’ve picked up. Maybe they have questions that you can help to answer. That kind of thing.
3. Segmenting: Sales Cycle
There can be different segments that you can place these folks into. Say you meet someone that is potentially a good fit as a franchisee, but they are a long ways off from committing. You want to stay in touch, but you know it will likely be a long time, maybe years, before they are ready.
That’s one segment. You can create, say, 12 messages to send every three months for three years.
Another person may be more interested. You estimate them to be a year off from committing, if they are going to. You create a different segment and messages for them. Maybe 12 messages that you send each month.
Another person is even more interested, but they have one or two good reasons to wait six months. This is another segment. Maybe you keep in touch here every 2-3 weeks.
4. Updates, Stories, Offers
When that salesperson would reach out to me he would let me know about changes at his company. New technology they were trying. He would also tell me stories about other customers. How they were using the service. Their thoughts on using it. Things like that.
He would also tell me about any pricing changes. He would sometimes tell me about offers they were trying with other customers. Or offers they were willing to give new customers. That’s ultimately what led to a test. They were willing to offer a test, even at a breakeven for them, and that was great because we could see how it worked and we could decide to go with them.
Start out with a few segments and one set of email messages per segment. As things get rolling start adding in test messages. Just to see if different versions get a little better response. It depends on the volume you are sending. If volume is low it might be good to test 50/50. That will give you a pretty good idea of what’s working.
Then as volume gets higher you can move more toward an 80/20 or 90/10 where you’re testing the smaller section with new messages.
An email drip is just a way to make sure you remember to follow up. You can do it the old fashioned way with a calendar. That will work just fine. You can remind yourself and manually do the update. That’s a good way to do it. But a drip takes care of it mostly with simple check ins. And once someone replies you can decide if you want to remove them from the sequence or not.