Best Practices Update: Right Behind Email, Voice Edges Out Text for Preferred Initial Contact of Franchise Prospects
November 30, 2022 – Consistently, most franchise prospects (38.5%) prefer to be emailed for an initial contact with a franchise they have chosen, according to the monthly “mystery shopping” survey by FranchiseInsights.com in November 2022. But 36.5% indicated a preference for a phone call over a text for initial contact this month.
Further, in all but three of the 34 monthly surveys by FranchiseInsights.com over the last three years, email was the clear preference for initial contact. Only once, in August 2022 did text (41.9%) surpass email (33.9%) for preferred first contact. In the remaining two instances, email and texts tied for “first preference.”
In November, a clear majority (55.8%) of respondents said receiving a text was the second most preferred choice for initial contact about a franchise they are interested in, consistent with most of the prior surveys.
Getting a text, however, was least preferred as first contact in November, at 25% – less than receiving a phone call 36.5%. A conclusive 50% of respondents indicated that voice was their overall third choice for initial contact. While there is some month-to-month variation in these results, and possibly some seasonality, texting has grown in acceptance over the last three years.
While the survey does not glean “why” behind these trend changes, the drop in preference for initial contact by phone call was dramatic in early 2020, as the pandemic unfolded, but now seems to be recovering (orange bars in the chart above).
Also in the November 2022 survey, 61.5% of respondents said they were “unlikely or very unlikely to accept a phone call from a franchise” if they had “not previously received a text message or email from that company with more information.” This is close to the highest percentage ever for that sentiment at 64% seen in October 2021.
Summary: Best Practices For Initial Contact
Email remains the most preferred and safest channel for initial contact, at 38.5% for the first choice of respondents. The asynchronous nature of email makes it the most effective channel for the overwhelming majority of franchise leads that arrive outside of business hours, and also on weekends and holidays. It is also a more rich medium for making your brief “elevator pitch” or conveying information such as video, links or a pdf brochure. Given the dominance of mobile phone use over landlines among business buyers, email is the best place to introduce yourself and begin to tell your story.
Moreover, Apple’s prompt to set up its “silence unknown callers” feature, introduced in the April 2021 iOS release, magnifies the importance of emailing an introduction first, so that the prospect knows to expect a call from you and will add you to contacts. Example wording to include in your initial contact email: “The caller ID will not indicate [name of your franchise], so we suggest adding our number [your number in format XXX-XXX-XXXX] to your phone contacts”.
Summary: For leads that do not respond to an initial email, following up with a personalized text after noon (9 am on the West Coast) is a good practice.
FranchiseVentures is the leading franchise lead-generation platform for potential franchisees to thousands of growing franchise systems in the United States and Canada. Its franchise lead generation brands include Franchise.com, Franchise Solutions, Franchise Gator, Franchise Opportunities, Franchise For Sale, SmallBusinessStartup.com and BusinessBroker.net, and together they provide the largest aggregation of prospective franchise buyers in the U.S.
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Published on Wednesday, November 30th, 2022.