Turning Leads Into Candidates

The Changing Realities of Phone Calls to Potential Franchisees

Eli Robinson
Thursday, July 28 2016

Before I dive into the details of the types of behavior we’ve been seeing recently here at FranchiseHelp, I want you to think about one question.

When your cell phone rings and you don’t know the number, how often do you pick up the call?

Caller ID Converter

It’s certainly not going to be a perfect correlation, but when we researched the topic both quantitatively and qualitatively, it seems that the most predictive piece of data has to do with age. Younger people don’t answer these calls hardly at all while more experienced callers don’t seem to be affected.

This seems to be best explained by the extent to which caller ID technology has influenced your life. If you have a few minutes take a read of this NY Times article published in 1992 titled “Caller ID: Consumer's Friend or Foe?” Here are a few brief excerpts:

Is caller identification a blessing that will help protect consumers from obscene and other unwanted calls? Or does the new telephone service represent an invasion of privacy?

Yet the experience of New Jersey, where caller ID has been available since 1987, longer than any other state, seems to show that relatively few people (less than 6 percent of eligible customers) sign up for it. There has also been little public outcry over privacy concerns. But it is also clear that caller ID does not offer quite as much as telephone companies seem to imply.

Caller ID devices display the incoming number, as well as the time and date of the call. The device has no way of determining who actually is making the call: it could be someone other than the person assigned that number by the phone company.

The most readily understandable form of caller ID would also display the name of the caller, as is possible on a small scale in many business telephones. Only Boise, Idaho, currently has that capability, with Omaha, Denver and Phoenix about to offer it soon, according to the Phone Labs Technology Company in Manhattan, the nation's largest maker of caller-ID devices.

New York Times

A couple of interesting things –

  • It’s amazing to think that there was so much uncertainty about the merits of caller ID! In the modern telephone world, basically 100% of phones have the technology. Just 24 years ago, it “it is also clear that caller ID does not offer quite as much as telephone companies seem to imply.”

  • The percentage of Americans who still remember the days without caller ID is dwindling quickly. Let’s assume that if you were 35 or younger when caller ID started becoming popular, then your use of it is ubiquitous. (That means that anyone under the age of 60 uses it fairly religiously.) By this math, 85% of Americans use the technology. If you limit this to simply the target franchise market, we’ll say age 25+, then you come up with 78% of the addressable market.

2015 U.S. Population By Age

So what is it about caller ID? Why does this matter?

Well, something very interesting happens when you can see the number / name of every person that calls you. You start to get WAY MORE SELECTIVE about which calls you answer and which ones you don’t.

So I’ll ask one more time, when your cell phone rings and you don’t know the number, how often do you pick up the call?

And there may be no industry more sensitive to changes in users phone behaviors than us here in lead generation. As a business who provides phone numbers for potential leads, if no one answers the phone, then it’s a poor reflection on us.

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(Before I get into the horrors of phone answer rates, remember that we’ve mostly solved this issue by relying more on text messages. However, given that the majority of franchisors focus on calls in lieu of texts for franchise sales, it’s important to focus on how our phone strategy as it relates to you.)

Let me give you an idea for how this plays out here at FranchiseHelp.

When you submit a lead on FranchiseHelp and choose to be verified by call (a choice only made by 10% of our users), we use an automated phone system to call you from (336) 939-8975. All that happens when we place that call is to ask people to press 1 to confirm their request.

Given that caller ID is on basically 100% of phones, that number pops up as calling our potential leads. This happens immediately after submitting the lead (the easiest time to get a hold of these people).

Any guess what percentage of these leads answer the phone?


That’s right. 87% of people who consent to being called immediately after submitting a lead don’t answer and press 1.

Phone calls are a tough ball game.

So what does this all mean for you?


Right now, not much. This is not a five alarm fire.

But something is smoking. And it’s getting worse.

The desire of Americans to pick up the phone and speak to people they don’t know is becoming extinct. And as this trend becomes stronger, we’re working to roll out new products that better accommodate the changing preferences of potential franchisees.

And our first foray into this world is by developing a new class of leads focused on email exclusively rather than both emails and phone numbers. The fact of the matter is that there are thousands of qualified franchisees who don’t want to give out their phone number on the internet.

And we certainly know that an interested franchisee that gives a phone number is more valuable to you than someone who prefers contact only via email. But we fundamentally believe that the franchises able to adjust their sales process to handle these types of leads will completely outclass their competitors.

If you currently work with us, click here to schedule some time to speak about the new product. If you’re not currently working with us but want to hear about how our lead generation strategies may work for you, check out this page.