Is Franchise Development Making Any Progress?

Friday, November 30, 2018
Not if you measure close rates ….


I listened as a franchise industry development professional told attendees at a conference about the latest statistics from the field. He noted that the close rates from raw lead to signed agreement was 1.6%. And it hit me. When I was a newbie, way back in the olden days (1993) the average close rate was 1.5%.

And I think:

“Seriously, all the progress in communication, marketing and sales technology (websites, email, texting, smart phones, webinars, social media, high touch CRM etc.) in 25 years and we’ve only seen an increase of one tenth of a percent?”

What is going on?

Why does the close rate remain unchanged?This is what I think.

  • The inefficiency in the franchise sales pipeline process is exactly the same as it once was.
  • We don’t ask the right questions, in the right sequence, and follow up the answers in ways that will help candidates understand their true level of commitment.
  • We are not candidate friendly.
  • Winnowing buyers from lookers should be something every franchise development professional does with finesse.

High performing franchise developers change the framework from:

I need to understand the candidate’s commitment to seeing a sale through to completion


The candidate needs to understand their commitment to becoming a business owner

With that new goal, they ask sharper questions and follow up vague answers more persistently. They delight in a candidate who says something unexpected which invariably guide conversations in new directions where they can truly learn what each candidate is seeking in becoming a business owner. They don’t preach from a script. And they mutually answer the question of “is it a good fit?” very early in the process.

I have been a ‘zor and a ‘zee. I spend my time as a consultant to our industry. And I see why the 1.5-1.6% return on franchise candidates remains unchanged. If we spend time convincing candidates that they should remain in the sales pipeline longer than necessary, we are creating this benchmark ourselves. Only when we get ruthlessly efficient in being truthful with ourselves and our candidates can we expect this ratio to change. Being a high-quality closer is possible, when you know how to ask the right questions and build authentic relationships quickly.