Using the web to expedite franchise sales

Graham Barlow Managing Director of Tech4T, explains how to harness the power of the internet to help manage your business better, sell your franchises faster and support franchise owners by enabling customers to find their nearest supplier quickly and easily.

The last two Tech4T features in The Franchise Magazine focused on the importance of first understanding the profiles of your end-user customers and where these kinds of people can be found geographically. You would then apply this intelligence to break down your region into the right number of correctly sized territories. These should offer just the right number of sales opportunities to each potential franchise owner so they don’t run out of prospects but also don’t have too many people to service.

Most important though is that the overall quantity and size of territories is correctly calculated to maximise the income potential from your franchise brand. This point can come back to haunt many franchise owners. To get their business off to a flying start, they are offered far larger geographic territories than they subsequently found were needed, thus restricting future business revenue in the process.

Once territories have been professionally designed to maximise revenue, the next step is to let your potential franchise owners know which are available. The best way to achieve this is to have your territory design transferred to a web-based system that can be easily linked into your corporate website under your ‘available for franchise’ section.

You can let your franchise prospect quickly drill down to a geographical area of interest and then see where the franchises are located, who owns them, which are for sale, available, etc. Then, by drilling down further, you can display the demographic breakdown of each territory – letting your franchise prospect see exactly how sales opportunities break down. If desired, security can be set limiting access to detailed information.

This kind of system acts as an effective selling tool, allowing you to proudly demonstrate just how successful your business is. It gives franchise owners and their sales staff instant answers to key questions from potential franchise owners, increasing their confidence in your brand. The criteria and statistics behind the make-up of each territory can be easily demonstrated. An online web system simplifies the sales process and raises awareness of a franchisor’s business by supplying answers 24/7 as to new and resale territories availability.

Additionally, web-based franchise mapping systems, such as those offered by Tech4T, give the franchisor a way to modify their territories by combining postal or other building blocks on an ad hoc basis. Any revised territory shapes would display demographic counts and changing levels of opportunity as boundaries change.

Another smart use of web-technology to help your franchise business is to incorporate a ‘Find Your Nearest’ web-service for improved lead allocation. There are several kinds of systems in the marketplace but, if you are looking for accuracy, then you need a custom-built search engine that will use the boundary line rather than a central point of each territory to identify the ‘nearest’ outlet or franchise location to a user’s postcode.