Are Franchisors Too Picky When Picking Future Franchisees?

By Beth Caron

Good franchisors often get caught up in recruiting and qualifying the perfect prospective franchisee

I recently read an article about the best ways for a franchisor to qualify its prospective franchisees. Basically, it said this: When it comes to picking franchisees, the two worst things a franchisor can do are being too picky, or not being picky enough. I couldn’t agree more. The key is walking the fine line between the two.

The Great Clips franchisee qualification process is a series of eight steps that allows both parties to figure out if this is a good fit. We describe our ideal owner as a hands-on leader, who is, above all, a people person, is looking for a manager-run business, and is willing to take direction as well as give it. Ideally, a new franchisee would have management and leadership skill, business acumen, and a desire for multiple-unit growth. This ideal candidate would also show a willingness to follow a system, and able to make the financial investment required.

Picky, picky, picky!

Did you notice how many times I used the word “ideal” in that description? That’s where being picky comes in. Our Lead Qualifiers know that not every prospect will have every characteristic we are looking for. And that’s okay, because chances are, these candidates bring other unique skills and valuable traits that will make them great business owners, which will make the brand stronger.

At the same time, every franchisor undoubtedly has things in their “ideal candidate” profile that are deal breakers. For Great Clips, one of those might be the people-person part. Running a walk-in hair salon successfully starts with hiring the right staff and then motivating them to deliver a great customer experience. In this industry, we can’t be too picky about having salon owners with great people skills.

Weeding out the tire kickers

One of the biggest tasks these Qualifiers have is to weed out the tire kickers from the prospects who are ready to take the next step. Don’t get me wrong—there is nothing wrong with tire kicking. (Any car salesperson in the Twin Cities could tell you that I’ve done my share of tire kicking. How else would you start when buying a car, right?) But in order to move from qualifying to validation, there needs to be commitment on both sides.

 



I want to be a franchisee — qualification

Once you’ve decided which franchise business you’re interested in, the franchisor will start the qualifying process—figuring out if you have the right qualifications to be a franchisee with their organization. Each franchisor has its own process. At Great Clips, the process starts by talking with a Lead Qualifier.

The Lead Qualifier’s role is to answer some initial questions and to ask questions. At Great Clips, we look for what we call the “ideal owner”: a hands-on leader who is, above all, a people person, who is looking for a manager-run business, and who is willing to take direction as well as give it. Franchise businesses use a time-tested system, and the most successful franchisees are those who follow that system. Those people who are more entrepreneurial and want to do things their own way may not be the best fit for most franchise companies.

The Lead Qualifier will also determine whether the prospective franchisee lives in an open market and if they meet our financial qualifications.

If the Lead Qualifier determines that a prospect fulfills these preliminary qualifications, the prospect is asked to fill out a confidential application, providing more details about their finances and background.

After verifying the application information, the prospect is referred to a Franchise Development Manager who acts as a sort of tour guide, helping Great Clips prospective franchisees navigate the learning process. They cover everything from staffing and training, how to make money in a franchise, how to manage their hair care business without being in the salon every day, marketing and real estate support, as well as other general aspects of the business…

There’s a lot of great content on this blog, especially for prospective franchisees. Click around to find articles about what it takes to become a franchisee and what your life might be like if you decide to become one (here, and here). Want to know more? Give me a call!

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