10 Critical Steps for Franchise Sales Growth

Franchise sales is hard. It’s a very competitive business, and the sales cycle from lead generation to qualification to closing is complex. Wayback Burgers, a burger franchise that operates 138 restaurants nationwide in 27 states and 35 restaurants internationally, has figured out the key tactics that has quickly grown the concept. The number one key to their success is a well-defined and strategic sales process. They know exactly what happens when, who sends what to whom, when and how to follow up…you get the idea. Let’s take a look at the 10 critical steps for franchise sales that Wayback Burgers’ Executive Vice President Bill Chemero, CFE, and Vice President of Franchise Development Scott Milas, CFE, follow to ensure ongoing growth and success.

  1. Non-traditional locations – Wayback Burgers is always on the lookout for new places to open a location. They have restaurants in airports, university campuses, stadiums, military bases, and even retail locations such as Wal-Mart. This not only increases customers, but it also increases the number and type of potential candidates for your franchise.
  2. Strong validation from franchisees – Current franchisees are key to any franchise sales strategy, and Wayback Burgers is proud to say that 24% of their multi-unit operators started out with a single store. Prospective owners are encouraged by this, as it shows the potential success and growth when coming on as a partner.
  3. Profile of owner – Creating franchisee buyer personas is important for both sales and marketing teams. You want to know exactly who your target audience is for your sales and marketing strategies. Wayback Burgers explicitly defined the profiles of their owners, and they point out that owners don’t necessarily need to have restaurant experience. Just because a lead doesn’t have direct experience working in a restaurant doesn’t mean that person wouldn’t be great at it.
    Persona Workboook_Thumbnail-655827-edited.png
  4. Call leads within 24 hours – When a new lead comes in, Wayback Burgers calls within 24 hours at most. Upon inquiry, the lead will receive an automated email, but Scott ensures he also follows up with a timely phone call – even during the weekend. It’s important to connect with a lead while your organization is still fresh on their mind.
  5. Pre-qualify when possible – Wayback Burgers works with BoeFly, an online marketplace for commercial transactions. BoeFly helps candidates pre-qualify financially to quickly move along the sales process with Wayback Burgers. Pre-qualification also lets the organization know early on which candidates are viable partners.
  6. Create action steps every step of the wayEngagement is key during every step of the franchise sales cycle, so Wayback Burgers ensures there are multiple “action steps” for leads during the process. This keeps leads engaged and shows that the candidate is truly interested. Action steps include tasks such as pre-qualifying with BoeFly, sending a flight itinerary prior to attending a discovery day, gathering proof for funding, and more.
    Engage franchise candidates at every stage of the franchise sales cycle.
  7. Controlled release of FDD – It’s legally required that a franchise organization send their FDD at the request of a candidate, but Wayback Burgers controls that step to the best of their ability. They have found that most candidates don’t care when they receive the FDD if you have a good reason and a process in place that works. Instead of sharing it right away, the organization shares it at the very end of the discovery day. Prior to that they want candidates focused on learning about the brand and the opportunity to join, not focusing on the gritty details. After the discovery day, candidates are welcome to spend time evaluating the FDD.
  8. Protect your franchisees – Franchisee validation is a natural and important step in the sales process. Every candidate wants to talk to someone who has gone through the process. But Wayback Burgers ensures they protect their franchisees and value their time. They don’t let candidates bombard franchisees with calls; instead, validators attend discovery days so the process is controlled, and the franchisees can focus on the task at hand. Wayback Burgers says that their franchisees appreciate this and feel like they can do a better job representing the company.
    Protect your franchisee validators by valuing their time.
  9. Message dead leads – Although there are certainly killed leads that are not ever going to become a franchisee with your organization for one reason or another, there are some where they just weren’t engaged at the right time. Wayback Burgers suggests continuing to message these leads. For example, share news about the company’s progress or if there is an open opportunity in that person’s area. You never know when a dead lead might come back to life!
  10. Know your sources – Wayback Burgers doesn’t attribute their success to spending a ton of money on marketing and sales. Instead, they put their dollars where it works best. They know exactly where their leads are coming from and allocate their dollars there.