AI Can Boost Franchise Sales With Faster ‘Speed to Lead’ | Franchise News

Franchisors often have a vision of who their ideal franchisees are, but the recruitment process to find those potential owners can prove time consuming. With new applications of artificial intelligence, franchise development leaders are speeding up their candidate searches.

At Batteries Plus, Chief Development Officer Joe Malmuth said AI technology, in the form of a chat bot that communicates with candidates, was activated by the brand in June 2023, which led to dramatic results. The plan, Malmuth said, was to use technology created by to assist the franchisor in candidate qualifier position.

“The thought process was that I have a lead qualifier who is experienced and produces the kind of results I would expect in terms of conversion rates,” said Malmuth, who spoke February 8 during a webinar exploring the use of AI in franchise sales and hosted by FranConnect. “The idea was if we bring on an AI tool, it can subsequently increase our volume of leads and we could cover more ground.”

“What we saw in real time was the performance of the AI tool outperforming the tenured and well-qualified human lead qualifier significantly, to the point where he’s not here anymore,” he continued. “There just wasn’t the need. In a few short months, we saw an increase in our qualified appointments booked by 425 percent. It was dramatic and immediate.”

Batteries Plus CDO Joe Malmuth

Batteries Plus Chief Development Officer Joe Malmuth

Malmuth said Batteries Plus is on track to finish the first quarter of 2024 at 70 percent of its goal for the year in franchise sales. Malmuth said the brand’s real estate team working on opening up more stores than anticipated.

At Synergy Home Care, Mike Steed, chief growth officer, said the AI technology is like another member of the franchise sales team and has been integrated into all candidate operations.

“The speed to lead has been amplified exponentially,” Steed said. “The scheduling bot is so smart, it feels like the candidates are talking to a human being, and it ends up being the responsibility of the person on the development team to carry on that conversation.”

Related: Drive-Thru Ordering Evolves as QSRs Leverage AI Chatbots

Steed said the number of appointments made by the bot and by the human staff are nearly identical now, as if the crew has doubled.

“If you have four people, it’s like you have eight, because that bot is scheduling just as many,” Steed said. “The best part of it is the no-show button. Because when the candidate doesn’t show up, your staff doesn’t then have to chase that person again; the bot just reschedules for you automatically. That is such a time saver.”

At Express Employment Professionals, Director of Franchising Brook Wise said the brand has incorporated AI in its operations and franchise sales.

“Last year, we put almost 600,000 people to work,” Wise said. “So, naturally, there’s a tremendous opportunity to incorporate AI for franchise owners as well. It can impact how they function their business, and then it helps more with franchise development. Right now, it fits with anything.”

Brook Wise Express Employment

Express Employment Professionals Director of Franchising Brook Wise

“We’re moving a bit cautiously on the front end, because of the security of the data,” Wise continued. “But from a franchise development standpoint, there are really no barriers for us and we’ve been very pleased with the results.”

The position is unique for Express Employment Professionals, though, as it looks to resell more territories, rather than enter new ones.

“We’re a legacy brand that’s been around for 40 years,” Wise said. “We’re making a transition, because we only have a certain amount of territories left to grow in North America. So, we’re going from new to resale. With the AI, it’s allowing us to increase our reach, where we’re able to capture a larger audience.”

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