Why this prospect called BULL###T on a franchisors COVID claims. And, 3 reasons franchise prospects are different now.

Why This Prospect Called Bullt On A Franchisors Covid Claims 780X660

Having been involved as a franchisor, then, as I am now with franchise buyer, as a conduit between franchise brands and potential franchise investors, I’m fortunate to see a lot of detailed interactions between you.

As such, with restrictions easing across the country, it is an interesting juncture to comment from this unique perspective, on my observations of franchisor and franchise prospect behaviour.

It’s a changed world

We all know the world has changed permanently going forward. It’s going to be a case of what you did pre-covid, versus how you operate, and importantly, how you present your franchise offer post-covid.

The way you presented your franchise opportunity before, won't be the same as you present going forward.

The reason for this is that in potential opportunity seekers, we have;

    1. Genuine fear from uncertainty about the future,
    2. Indecisiveness, brought about by that fear and uncertainty, and
    3. A skeptical audience.

    Genuine fear

    People are worried if what worked then, will work now and into the future. 

    Things have changed that much. And if they haven’t, it doesn’t matter, as we ‘think’ they have.

    We are all watching and wondering if the forced changes to people's habits for 8 - 10 weeks, in not eating out, less visits to shopping centres, increased online shopping and so on, will result in permanent and significant habit change. Or at least to what extent.

    Of course we expect some change to stick, but just how much is the unknown for us all.

    Indecision With What To Do Franchise Buyer


    With genuine fear and uncertainty, comes indecision with what to do next. This is quite apparent in the number of franchise brands I have been talking with recently on their franchise enquiry rates. 

    A number have reported what they refer to as ‘decent numbers of enquiries’. I’m not sure that the interest has been ‘good’, but in my thinking, probably higher than they assumed - which may well have been none.

    However,  the next stage is of most interest. Brands are reporting that people are simply not progressing at this time at all beyond initial discussions. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all, but the vast majority I’m speaking with. 

    Anecdotally, I’m told they are saying ‘I’m interested, but the timing is not right, so let’s just wait and see.’


    Many franchises have often carefully made claims about franchise performance, through things like examples of current franchise owner success. From a marketing perspective this is the ‘social proof’ needed to open people up to the possibility that it could also be them having that level of success - in your franchise.

    The issue now is, all the examples of success you can show and worked hard to build over the years, in franchise owner stories, testimonials, and the like, have a cloud of doubt over them now.

    “Yeah, but what about after covid?” is exactly what people will be thinking and asking.

    That was then, this is now.

    Enter The Conversation Happening In Their Mind Franchise Buyer

    Entering the conversation people are having in their mind

    If any marketing is to be successful in any endeavour, you first need to address the conversation the prospect is having in their mind.

    You can’t avoid it if you want to have success. 

    Avoiding these issues running through a prospects mind will just mean they will gravitate toward brands that are answering those questions for them - rather than enquire with you.

    It’s really no different to how you should have been approaching your marketing before COVID. Think, ‘what would be stopping someone enquiring about investing in my franchise right now?’

    And no, the answer is not as simple as, "because of COVID". Especially as we emerge, it goes deeper than that - so get digging.

    If anything, maybe this crisis can get you thinking a lot clearer about articulating your true value proposition.

    He called BULL###T!

    In an EDM marketing campaign we sent out to our audience for a franchisor mid-way through the crisis, we continued, as we did before, to demonstrate examples of franchise owner success. This message had been presented a number of times before with great success.

    The brand also wanted to highlight the fact that they had remained open and trading well through the crisis thus far, in order to balance the performance example and acknowledge the current situation.

    A recipient of the email in our audience simply responded by replying to us with “BULLSHIT”.

    See, they don’t believe you!

    Yes, this was only one person responding. But, it had an impact on me, as responses like that have been incredibly rare in nearly a decade of franchise buyer.

    Depending on who and what you are, the audience will likely take a lot more convincing to reach a level of comfort about your offer going forward.

    Dont Panic On Franchise Buyer

    The solution for now

    The solution for now? 

    Well, it’s a case of the old and somewhat annoying ‘Keep calm, and don’t panic’, I’d say.

    It is clear that it is going to be a long steady climb back for all of us. Some uniquely placed brands, will be fortunate for it to be much faster for them. 

    Of course, the number one thing you can do at the moment is keep supporting your entire network as best you possibly can.

    But, an eye on growth and franchise sales in the future must also be part of your plan. My advice to you on this is simple. Keep creating fresh content that tells your story of franchise support, community engagement, innovation and brand resilience.

    Tell it in as many ways and fresh angles as you can, and use it to keep engaging with anyone who has expressed an interest in your brand for the future.

    And, as circumstances change that could shift the thinking of a prospect from watch, to act, they will be well-informed, and have you top of mind.