Best Practices Update: Franchise Prospects Most Likely to Respond to Email, Text, then Voice — In that Order

By: Michael Alston for Franchise Insights

June 28, 2023 – As seen in recurring surveys, most franchise prospects (38.3%)  prefer to be emailed for initial contact with a franchise they have chosen, according to monthly “mystery shopping” surveys by April-June 2023. Running a close second, 37.7% indicated a preference for a phone call over a text for the initial contact, in the same order seen when we last shared preferred initial contact data.

Further, in all but five of forty monthly surveys by over the last four years, email was the clear preference for initial contact. Only twice, in August and December 2022 did text surpass email for preferred first contact. In the remaining three instances, email and texts tied for “first preference.”

In the most recent data, a clear majority (50.3%) 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 at 24% – less than receiving a phone call at 37.7%. A substantial 41.5% of respondents indicated that voice was their overall third choice for initial contact. 

Summary: For leads that do not respond to an initial email, following up with a personalized text is a good practice, with the goal of setting up a subsequent voice call.

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 lower  preference for initial contact by voice was significant in early 2020 as the pandemic unfolded, but now seems to be recovering in acceptance (orange bars in the chart above).

Also in the “mystery shopping” surveys April to June 2023, 51.4% 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.” 

Summary: Best Practices For Initial Contact

Email remains the most preferred and safest channel for initial contact, at 38.5% 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, including 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 franchise], so we suggest adding our number [your number in format XXX-XXX-XXXX] to your phone contacts”.

The Franchise Insights “mystery shopping” survey is conducted monthly among aspiring business buyers inquiring about franchises at the brands of FranchiseVentures.

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 Solutions, Franchise Gator, Franchise Opportunities, Franchise For Sale, and, and together they provide the largest aggregation of prospective franchise buyers in the U.S.

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Published on Wednesday, June 28th, 2023.

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