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4 Reasons Why Validation is Important to Your Franchise System Many franchisors still don't put in their best efforts in planning and executing their validation strategy.

By Jeff Cheatham

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For franchisors, the validation stage of the investigative process just might be your best opportunity to convince franchisee candidates that your concept and business model are a winning combination, worthy of pursuing ownership. It doesn't matter if you're an established brand with decades of franchise sales and a household name, or an emerging brand with a single franchisee. What your executive leadership and current franchise owners convey during a validation call may be the difference between a candidate signing on the dotted line or disengaging. Regardless, many franchisors still haven't given their best effort in planning and executing their validation strategy.

Here are four reasons why validation is an important component of your franchise system.

1. It's a direct process for demonstrating your brand's value

There are more than a few franchisee candidates who are unfamiliar with the validation stage of the ownership hunt. Some express surprise when presented with the opportunity to speak directly with current franchise owners in your system.

Setting up a two-way conversation between current and prospective owners is an opportunity that comes with a degree of privacy, where transparency matters. The franchise owners that you select to participate in the validation process should be among your best examples. Hearing about your brand's value and opportunity when it's coming from executive leaders is one thing. Hearing the same story from the proverbial horse's mouth is another.

Related: 6 Important Questions to Ask During the Franchise Validation Process

2. It boosts trust and credibility

Validation is all about providing the supporting arguments necessary to convince prospective owners that they're making the right choice. Who better to hear it from than an existing owner who's already been in their shoes at one time? Validation for brands should be more than just choosing your best and brightest example of franchise owners. You should find examples that demonstrate trust and credibility. It's okay to discuss challenges, too. Franchise candidates can be suspicious if the opportunity seems too rosy. What the franchisee candidate is really looking for is reassurance. Make sure they get plenty of it.

3. It's your opportunity to highlight your support network

Franchisors know that a key value proposition is the level of training and ongoing support they offer to franchisees in their system. Some brands spend millions of dollars to ensure that their representatives have the latest technology, tools, training and support designed to attract new owners. The validation stage is the perfect opportunity to make sure ownership candidates are made fully aware of the depth of your support network. Have your owners ready to communicate real-world examples that demonstrate the backing and support they'll need to become successful owners themselves.

Related: Smart Tips for Growing Your Franchise

4. It can paint a vivid picture

By the time franchisee candidates get to the validation stage, they're well familiar with your elevator pitch. At this point, they've probably memorized details and figures such as initial franchise fees, royalty percentages, average unit revenue and other statistics promoted in your FDD's Item 19. The validation stage thus becomes an opportunity to share the real story of owning your brand. Have your existing owners prepared to discuss the day-to-day experience of what it's really like to be a franchise owner in your system. Find ways to weave real-life stories and experiences into the validation script. Paint a picture so vivid that the franchisee candidate will have no problem picturing themselves as the next new franchise owner.

Related: Beware of 'Song Birds' When Doing Homework on a Franchise
Jeff Cheatham

Founder and CEO of Creative Content

Jeff Cheatham is the founder and CEO of Creative Content, a full-service copywriting and public relations firm. He's based in Dallas and works with multiple B2B clients and over a dozen franchise brands to develop proprietary content campaigns for lead generation and sales development programs.


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