THE MOVING GOALPOST: Six reasons it's getting harder to hit your sales targets.

Author:Chapman, David

Awarding a franchise to the right candidate is harder than ever. There are more competitors and fewer prospects. Yet the bar keeps rising higher and higher to sell more units. Here are six reasons it's getting even harder to hit your goals.

Reason 1: Your Website

According to HubSpot, 70 percent of the buying decision has been made before a franchise prospect talks to a franchise sales representative. Therefore, what prospects find out about you online is critical. Further, repeat website visitors are much more likely to convert into customers than first-time visitors. In fact, studies show that it takes at least three or four visits to your website before potential candidates think of doing business with you.

Franchise sales prospects are actively evaluating your brand based on your website and social media content, search engine results, media coverage, and increasingly, your management team's online presence. At the same time, they are evaluating other franchise concepts and non-franchise options.

That means the top-of-funnel franchise candidates are forming perceptions about your brand, and your competitors, based solely on the power of your online brand story. How many high-quality franchise prospects have secretly evaluated your brand and decided not to contact you? Can you even answer that question with confidence?

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Reason 2: Copycat Marketing

Franchise sales is full of copycat franchise development marketing campaigns.

Be honest--when you built your franchise development website, did you "borrow" content and ideas from your competitors? Are you making critical franchise marketing decisions based on what others are doing?

The problem with that approach is that the herd mentality only ensures one thing--mediocre marketing results, at best. Stop guessing, or assuming, that your competitors know what content your brand needs to create to attract prospects to your website and social channels, or what content is actually converting visitors into qualified prospects for your brand.

Reason 3: Too Many Dogs, Not Enough Food

Prospects are being hunted by multiple franchise sales teams at the same time--broker networks, portals, sales consultants, etc. And that doesn't even include the sales teams from 3,800-plus franchise brands or the 300 new franchise brands entering the market every year. Considering Reason 2 regarding copycat approaches, it's hard to differentiate your brand from the pack...

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