Franchise brokers play an important role in the franchising process, and the right broker can offer franchisors solid advantages. Learn more about working with franchise brokers as a franchisor.
One of the best ways franchisors can grow their franchise system is by working with franchise brokers, who can provide a consistent stream of leads for prospective franchisees. For new and emerging franchisors, though, a common question when starting out is how to get brokers interested in their brand.
In this article, we’ll look at the role franchise brokers play in the franchising industry and explore ways franchisors can benefit from working with brokers.
What is a franchise broker?
Franchise brokers generate leads to help connect franchisors with qualified franchisee candidates. Their job is to identify and verify potential franchisees, educate them about franchise options and, ultimately, introduce them to franchisors whose goals match theirs.
For franchisors, the main benefit of working with a franchise broker is that they can provide your franchise system with a continuous stream of well-qualified prospective franchisees. This creates ongoing opportunities for future high-performing franchise locations that will provide franchisors with steady royalty income over time.
Most franchise brokers work on commission, based on the initial franchise fee collected from the franchisee when they buy their franchise. Franchisors usually have no problem paying a significant commission to good franchise brokers in exchange for the continuing benefits that result from franchise sales.
Understanding the role of franchise brokers
Before working with a franchise broker, it’s important for franchisors to have a solid grasp of the role brokers play in the franchising process and what they expect from franchisors.
Franchise brokers aren’t there to sell your franchise. Instead, their job is to identify well-qualified franchisee candidates, educate and inform them about franchise opportunities, and connect them with franchisors that might be a good fit.
Once a franchise broker refers a potential franchisee candidate to your brand, it becomes your responsibility as a franchisor to close the deal. Before working with a broker, franchisors should have a process in place to take prospective franchisees through a purchaser journey with a goal of closing the deal and making a sale.
What do franchise brokers look for in a franchisor?
New or inexperienced franchisors sometimes believe that the secret to securing a steady stream of prospective franchisees is to simply offer brokers higher commissions. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Commissions are assumed in the industry, and are determined by the marketplace, so it’s important for franchisors to keep their commissions competitive. Still, higher commissions alone won’t guarantee a broker’s success in connecting you with consistent, quality candidates.
Instead, franchise brokers look for specific qualities in franchisors to ensure their systems are valid and marketable. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the basic concepts franchisors should understand to make their systems more attractive to franchise brokers and franchisee candidates.
Franchise brokers want to feel confident in the brands they’re introducing potential franchisees to. Because of that, they’re looking for franchise systems that are backed by competent, transparent management teams that will help the broker and candidate meet their goals.
For franchisors with existing franchisees, franchise brokers will want to validate satisfaction with your brand. They’ll often speak with your current franchisees to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of your franchise system. They’ll also likely ask your existing franchisees questions about the level of support, technology, marketing, and other operating processes provided by your system.
In addition to franchisee satisfaction, brokers will also want to validate your franchise system’s past financial performance and success. To do this, they might review unit-level economics like Item 19 of your Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), key performance indicators (KPI), unit-level performance data, franchisee data, and even gross profit numbers, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) calculations, and numbers from individual franchises.
New and emerging franchisors might find themselves at a slight disadvantage if they don’t have existing franchisees, since brokers won’t be able to validate their system’s past performance. That doesn’t mean you won’t be successful in selling your brand if you’re a new or emerging franchisor, though. Instead, you’ll need to be aware of your shortcomings and take alternative steps to demonstrate value to candidates like developing a compelling brand story.
Because franchise brokers act as an intermediary, they need to be able to trust the franchisors they're introducing franchisee candidates to. Brokers look for franchisors and management teams that are transparent, trustworthy, accountable, and that strive to build confidence in their brands and franchise systems.
How can franchisors get franchise brokers interested in their brand?
If you’re a new or emerging franchisor, you’re probably wondering how to connect with good franchise brokers and generate interest in your brand. Below, we’ll take a look at some best practices for franchisors to connect with franchise brokers and develop lasting successful relationships with them.
Attend industry events
A great way for franchisors to meet franchise brokers is by attending industry events and conventions. Brokers enjoy meeting franchisors at these events not only for networking, but also because their attendance shows initiative and indicates a desire to learn about the industry and become a better franchisor.
Follow up and communicate
Events are a great place to make connections, but you’ll need to follow up with franchise brokers to establish relationships with them. Build out your marketing funnel by sending marketing materials to brokers by mail or connect with them on platforms like LinkedIn. Franchisors should avoid spamming brokers by making sure their marketing communications and media content are professional, informative and provide value.
Don’t make things difficult
Franchise brokers shouldn’t have to do a lot of work to see the value of your franchise system. Even if your brand is amazing, if you fail to provide brokers with the tools they need to quickly understand what’s for sale and why it’s valuable to buyers, it’s likely to get overlooked.
Be transparent and provide resources
Franchisors should make sure to provide prospective franchise brokers with the resources and information necessary to easily determine how marketable your brand is. The data and information you provide should be verifiable and allow brokers to walk potential buyers through an evaluation of your brand.
Create a great sales website
As a franchisor, your sales website is critically important. A section of your website should be built out specifically for franchise brokers, providing them with research materials and summary points about the advantages of your franchise system.
In addition to press coverage and research documentation to make the discovery process easier, you might also want to include content explaining why your system is the best opportunity for specific franchisee candidates, and why they should buy your franchise right now. A well-crafted brand story can also help franchise brokers and potential franchisees understand your brand’s identity and vision.
Lean into your brand story
While every franchisor should have a great brand story, new franchisors that lack existing franchisees can especially benefit from leaning into their brand story. You can start by introducing your management team, defining what sets you apart from competitors, describing your vision for the future, and explaining why all of those traits are assets for franchise brokers and future franchisees. Rather than looking at past performance, new franchisors can develop a plan for the future by mapping out the next 12 months to give franchise brokers a clear picture of your goals.
Build content continuously
All franchisors should be focused on creating continuous, high-quality content. Leverage social media, your website, and other outlets to advance your brand story at the highest level possible. Your content should add value and focus on showing franchise brokers and prospective buyers your brand’s identity, management, culture, franchise system, and all of the advantages you have to offer.
Align your goals with theirs
From a professional level, franchising is about more than just money. Franchise brokers want to feel certain that the franchisee candidate they place you with is going to be successful several years down the road. Because of that, it’s important to make sure every candidate placement is a good match.
As a franchisor, you’ll want to make sure your goals are aligned with the franchise broker as well as the franchisee candidate. Take time to have thoughtful conversations about their ideas of successful placement, thoroughly explain your system and process, and include discovery days. Make sure your process is respectful of the franchisee candidate and show them why they should trust you enough to close the deal.
Working with franchise brokers can be extremely advantageous for franchisors. By following best practices and approaching franchise brokers and franchisee candidates with transparency and respect, franchisors can build lasting relationships with brokers while generating more consistent franchise sales opportunities over time.