It’s another year and another Franchise Leadership & Development Conference Mystery Shop. With a few modifications to the process, we have some big findings! Our eyes have been opened much wider to what’s truly happening in the pre-engagement phase of recruitment. If you care about growth and shareholder value, keep reading and get your results from the 2018 FLDC mystery shop today.
Before I share key findings, let’s start with defining “pre-engagement.” Pre-engagement is where an individual goes from being a suspect to a prospect and then a candidate for a franchise brand. A suspect wants to remain at a distance. They will go to your website, social media pages, mystery shop a location, research your industry online, and more. They like getting information from a brand but want it on their terms. Their desire as a suspect is to keep things safe and efficient in the beginning to determine if they will become a prospect.
A suspect becomes a prospect when they decide to communicate. It’s now two-way with the brand vs. one-way from the brand. Based on the quality, style, and approach of communication a prospect will decide whether to become a candidate and engage in the brand’s recruitment process or disappear. The activity, before engaging and becoming a candidate, is the “pre-engagement” phase.
Here are our top takeaways from our 2018 mystery shopping:
- Lack of attention and resources means fewer candidates. Survey results revealed no training, lack of a defined process, few tools, little content, and no dedicated individual and more being dedicated to the pre-engagement process. Study after study shows that there is a huge number of leads generated annually that never hear back from a brand. Suspects cannot develop into a candidate without serious attention and tracking in the pre-engagement phase.
- Quality is more important than speed. The brands that completed the mystery shop the fastest scored the worst. We’ve all said it… “Time kills deals.” But in the pre-engagement phase, nothing kills the chance of a suspect becoming a prospect and candidate more quickly than careless speed. Communication must be safe, measured, relevant, and meaningful. Know the difference between speed and quality.
- Big $ is being wasted on marketing. “We need more leads!” … “I need better candidates!” These are battle cries heard regularly by franchise development recruiters. Survey results show again this year the problem isn’t lead generation. Look at pre-engagement.
- A phone number on the website matters. As a group, brands with a phone number had an average score of 15 points and completion of the mystery shop of 30 percent. Brands without a phone number had an average score of 4 points and 4 percent completion. Maybe brands with a phone number listed simply view the pre-engagement process as more important.
The 2018 Mystery Shop has again pointed to what we believe is the #1 problem facing franchise brands in recruitment: poor execution in the pre-engagement phase. Make it a priority in 2019 to track and improve your brand’s pre-engagement, to have a better shot at a solid brand and shareholder growth.
Let’s go to work!