This lesson is part of our free Franchise 101 course.
Before you start working with a franchise, you want to get to know it better, to get beyond the information that’s out there for everyone to see. There are several ways to do this, once your initial research is complete. The most obvious one, and the place to start, is directly contacting the franchisor.
Why Ask the Franchisor Questions
Working with a franchise is a significant financial investment. Before you put that money on the table, you want to know as much as you can about what you’re getting into. Your own research, including reading their franchise disclosure document, will tell you a lot, but past a certain point, you’ll get into details that are harder to find.
The most important thing that you can learn from talking to the franchisor is what kind of relationship you’ll be in for. Will they have your back? Will they guide you in establishing an outlet with potential in a good location? Will they give you the support you need to keep the business going?
How to Ask the Franchisor Questions
Like any modern company, a franchisor will have a way to make initial contact with them online. They’ll probably have a specific channel for potential franchisees, to ensure that you’re talking to the best-informed people.
The franchising section of a company’s website will have an online form you can fill out. This is your best route to request more information about the franchise, and to hear back from someone who understands your needs.
Before you get in contact, prepare a set of questions covering the topics you want to discuss. These don’t need to go into the initial contact, but mean that you’ll be ready when the franchisor contacts you.
More Than Just the Questions
This conversation is about more than just the answers the franchisor gives you.
Pay attention to how quickly the franchisor responds and how they approach you. This is going to reflect how they deal with other people, including franchisees. Are they prompt, informative, and supportive? Do they listen to your specific concerns, or simply copy out set answers? In short, are they responsive to you?
Communication is a two-way process, so remember that the franchisor will also be paying attention to what you say and how you say it. Many franchisors use that contact form to make an initial assessment of your suitability to become a franchisee. Present yourself in the best light, communicating clearly and professionally. That way, if you decide that this is the franchise for you, they’re more likely to agree that you’re the franchisee for them.
Sooner or later, you’re going to need to talk to your shortlisted franchises. This is your way to get that conversation right.