Stories from the COVID-19 Front Lines: Q&A with Christina Chambers
Adapting to the new franchise selling environment as a result of COVID is affecting everyone in the franchising space. Christina Chambers, InXpress EVP, Franchise Development, recently explained how the brand is continuing its Discovery Process with prospective franchise buyers.
What are you doing differently with your franchise development program as a result of Covid-19?
We’ve shifted to virtual discovery days. We had our first 100% virtual meeting on April 7, with 7 candidates in attendance (a record for us). We are fortunate to be in an essential industry that is running at 100%, with home-based franchisees who are actually enjoying similar revenue bumps as during the holiday shipping season. We are sharing current messages from our CEO in eblasts to our lead database, and capturing franchisee success stories in a “Survive and Thrive” web video series to use in lead generation. We are also using LinkedIn InMail more than ever to reach out to our ideal candidates within industries that may have been affected by recent layoffs. These efforts have resulted in an increase in quality lead flow versus the pre-Covid-19 period.
What are your plans for the next 60 days (April & May)?
Continuing to sign new franchisees! We are doubling down on lead generation efforts, but with a more empathetic message. Making sure we are in a strong position to capitalize on the bounce-back that will inevitably happen. We are also doing everything possible to help our franchisees benefit from the CARES Act support programs as needed.
What are your plans for the following 90 days (June, July, August)?
We’ll keep going with full energy while planning for the “what ifs” in case the bounce-back does not happen at the 60- to 90-day mark. It’s not realistic to forecast 90 days out until we understand, especially, the financing/SBA backlog implications on new franchise lending.
Have you made major changes to your franchisee recruitment program or sales process?
Our process remains the same, but with more flexibility on timing. We typically average 3 to 4 weeks from discovery day to signing, but we expect that timing to extend because of SBA financing backlogs.
Have you made any changes to the roles or duties of your team?