Today’s franchise world is more competitive than ever, leading more entrepreneurs to turn to cutting-edge technology solutions to gain an edge. Identifying and developing franchisee leads is a vital part of this process. After all, having the right franchisees to represent and expand the brand is critical to any company’s widespread success.
FranGear, an AI-powered franchise development and lead generation tool, aims to meet those growing needs. After serving in the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq, founder Alexander Hildenbrandt dove headfirst into the world of franchise development. For more than a decade, he saw the ups and downs of the field, and those experiences eventually drove him to build FranGear to meet a critical – and underserved – need he observed in growing franchises.
“Most franchises start off without [access] to an economic solution that gives them all the tools they need to develop a franchise from one spot efficiently,” he explains. Instead of having to coordinate several independent solutions for individual needs – a scheduling app, a CRM, a website host, and so on – his focus is on ensuring franchises have everything they need all in one place from the beginning. “FranGear offers a full franchise development platform with an AI-integrated, intense automation capability, advanced or simple lead generation or advertising, and done-for-you services with 24/7 support.”
It’s a new tool for a new franchise landscape – and there’s much more where that came from.
AI in the Franchise World
AI technology is finding its way into all business areas, and franchising is no exception. Solutions like FranGear are designed to harness the power of AI to streamline franchise development, engaging with potential franchise leads and automating the early parts of the process, freeing up experienced professionals to handle the aspects that require a truly human touch.
Here’s how Hildenbrandt describes the FranGear technology:
“Imagine a professional virtual assistant from the US that is plugged into all channels of text communication, from your website chat box to Facebook messenger, email, and Google Business Messages, as well as SMS texting via phone. That VA can have 300 conversations simultaneously, works 24/7 with no breaks and no vacation, including during the hours most franchise professionals don’t work and when most franchise seekers are seeking information, and in the medium of initial communication most used today.
Imagine that VA had access to your tech stack (CRM, Phone, appointment setting software, etc.) for data entry and appointment scheduling to record and prequalify leads coming into the pipeline effectively. It could get them to where they need to go, whether on a phone call with a franchise professional, a consultant, or even to finance solutions so they can start that process.”
Hildenbrandt explains that technology like FranGear differs from existing solutions by developing a more in-depth, franchise-specific model. Rather than a simple chatbot with a few predetermined answers, it’s designed with franchising conversations in mind and trained to provide focused responses with all safety and accuracy precautions built in. AI, on its own or in the form of general-purpose applications like ChatGPT, can be too broad for specific purposes; leveraging its power for focused tasks and customizable workflows can be far more effective.
The Future of Franchising and Technology
Building customizable tools like FranGear is doing requires a more complex process than just using ready-made solutions, but professionals like Hildenbrandt are confident that the benefits are worth it. Among those perks are saving time, improving lead quality, and avoiding duplicated or time-consuming “fussy” tasks that take away from core business.
“Our AI can give franchise sales pros and executives over 10 hours a week back,” he says. “We help elevate the user experience, which results in better-educated candidates and more of them moving through the pipeline… It manages all tools and systems or can be integrated into tools you already have and like. It can be a standalone franchise development hub with an AI assistant prequalifying and scheduling appointments and accurately answering questions about your brand and industry. It’s a way to make everyone’s lives a little easier so they can pay attention to what’s important.”
Addressing data security and custom applications are two of the most critical elements of any AI application in the franchise world and beyond. FranGear works by custom-training AI bots to achieve specified outcomes, like qualifying a referral candidate or making an appointment. Hildenbrandt says that the average AI solution takes about 30 days to train – after initial gathering of information – although more complex systems may take longer. The company also provides training to teach teams how to use AI and ongoing support. The powered solution is SOC2 certified, accounts are compartmentalized, and the base system was designed to accommodate HIPAA compliance as well.
As AI technology continues to grow, so will solutions like FranGear designed to help franchises utilize this technology to improve ROI and boost franchising efforts. Combined with exceptional recruiting and strategic advice from experts like Blue Rock Search, these high-tech solutions can offer a way for franchises to stand out, provide an exceptional experience, and grow successfully with highly qualified, dedicated entrepreneurs.
Learn more about FranGear here and contact Blue Rock Search for more information about how our recruiting expertise can help you find the franchise leaders who are on the cutting edge of using AI to succeed.
About the Author
Nancy Estep-Critchett is a founding Partner of Blue Rock Search, with oversight of the Franchise Practice. She has 30 years of successful working experience as a business advisor and executive recruiter in the franchising space. Nancy has built solid relationships which have spanned decades with industry professionals and internationally recognized brands.