Just this week, my phone rang twice with a question I’m hearing more and more. Franchisors want to know, “How do we generate leads in small markets?” For whatever reason, this seems to be the hot topic of the week. Well, it just so happens I know a little bit about this, as I spent 14 punishing months on the road hitting hotspots like Bowling Green, KY; Billings, MT; and Waco, TX. I learned a ton, and here’s what I know for sure:
- Uncle Joe needs to vouch for you. Once you identify a target market, reach out to three key members of the community: The Banker, The Commercial Real Estate Broker, and The Mayor. As you begin to work leads in this market, candidates will reach out to their friends and relatives for feedback. The more you can network in the community, the more successful you’ll be.
- Farm (no pun intended) a location. Candidates in small markets know the area inside and out. By identifying a prime location, you establish yourself as an expert and give the candidate a clear vision of where their business is going to be. Oftentimes, you can work together with the landlord to hang an “own your own (insert your name) franchise here” banner. I’m always surprised how effective this lead-generating tool can be.
- Sunday afternoons are still about lemonade and reading the Sunday paper. As a result, half-page newspaper ads are an effective way to generate leads. Tailor your creative to the audience and leverage the prime location you’ve secured. Make sure to pepper the ad with franchisee testimonials from other small town markets.
- Like molasses in winter. Know that candidates in small- to mid-size markets take their time evaluating a business opportunity. Adjust your sales cycle and allow the candidates to establish a pace that is comfortable for them.
- Look ‘em in the eyes: If you are serious about developing smaller markets, make the time to visit candidates face to face. No only will it give you credibility, it will reinforce the support they can expect from their Franchisor.
Interested in learning how Frandeavor can help you generate leads? Contact Christine@Frandeavor.com.