Aiming for "Aha!" - Matching Your Brand with Candidates' Goals

Aiming for

If you've been around the sales and marketing world for any number of years, you know the concept of an "Aha!" moment. It is that point in time when the proverbial light bulb goes on, the moment when everything makes sense, the moment when someone finds what they need - or, more importantly, what they want.

Aha! moments are key milestones when making monumental decisions such as buying a home, getting married, or investing in a franchise. In the franchise sales world, these moments have a special function. They confirm that we successfully matched the benefits of our brands to the dreams and goals of the candidates. As sales pros, it is up to us to create Aha! moments in the minds of our candidates. At the end of each conversation, ask your candidates to describe the Aha! moment they gleaned from the conversation. Their answer is a real-time report card on your performance as a sales professional.

The 4 types of Aha! Moments

  • Type 1 is the "Aha, now I get it!" moment. These happen when candidates begin to wrap their arms around what a brand delivers and how it does it, typically during an initial phone conversation. Many of these moments occur when leading the candidate through a brand's particular market niche, unique marketing and sales strategies, territory or area development agreement opportunities, or during the financial performance review.

    Conversion from a discussion about all the details to an Aha! moment requires that we know when the moment is approaching, that we planned for its arrival, and that we practiced its For example: 1) the expansive territory you provide does not merely enable the franchisee's success, it provides the opportunity to scale their business to even greater heights over time; 2) sales strategies that target schools and community organizations are not simply the most productive, they provide the franchisee an opportunity to be a strong corporate citizen and give back to the local community; and 3) while strong financial performance is a demonstration of a success, it is the source of the legacy that candidates seek for their children and family.

  • Type 2 is the "Aha, this is real!" moment. With proper planning and preparation, these moments occur during due diligence calls with existing franchise owners. If we have prepared the candidate properly, they will experience a two-part Aha! moment: 1) that voice on the phone (you, the salesperson) has been telling them the truth, and 2) the opportunity is for real. "The truth is our brand is your best opportunity to achieve your goals, and you have the talent and experience to duplicate the success past candidates currently enjoy."
  • Type 3 is the "Aha, we are going to be successful!" moment. These moments occur most often in person during discovery day. They occur when it all comes together for the candidate, and their level of confidence skyrockets. They occur when we take them to restaurants where every seat is full; when we show them appointment books for every crew that are full six days a week for months on end; or when we walk them into a service bay full of cars. Successful Type 3 Aha! moments require planning and practice. For example, candidates briefly tour several operations, not lingering for hours repeating the same conversations, with each stop becoming a live demonstration of the success you have been describing for weeks. For the candidate, the resulting Aha! moment becomes, "I am confident I can be a success."
  • Type 4 is the "Aha, I knew there would be a catch!" moment. These are not moments we planned or practiced for, but we must be prepared to handle them when they occur. These moments happen most often during the due diligence phase when a candidate turns over a small rock and a big, hairy troll jumps out. Typically, they are hard to put back under that rock. Sales professionals know if there are trolls hiding in their offering and that they need to bring them out in the open early in the relationship, within a controlled environment - and then provide an accurate, reasonable, and rational explanation supported by both management and franchisees. Candidates realize no person or brand is perfect. They simply want to know they'll be working with capable, straightforward people when things do not go well.

We begin every conversation with a franchise candidate with the goal of creating one unique Aha! moment for that person. At the end, we ask them to describe the Aha! moment they experienced that day. We find this process confirms the effectiveness of our presentation, provides a real-time grade of our sales performance, and makes the personal interaction more fun.

Give it a try. (And don't let those trolls steal your show.)

Happy Selling,

Jim Bender is the president and owner of Franchise System Builders. He has been in the franchise business for 37 years and has provided clients with sales outsourcing and concept services since 2002. Contact him at or 248-647-1989.

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