Are Your Prospects Asking the Right Questions?

When franchisee prospects begin their research into franchise brands, they're often clueless about what questions to ask their franchisor, or what to ask franchisees during validation. We asked Brian Sommers, vice president of franchise development at Jersey Mike's Subs, what questions he considers essential to completing a deal that works for both the franchisor and prospective franchisee. Here's what he had to say.

Ensuring the brand is the right fit for each prospect is essential. Prospects need to fully understand what they are getting into. They should investigate and figure out the business model, the franchisor/franchisee relationship, the franchisor's role and responsibilities, and the unit economics.

From the franchise development professional's perspective, it is important to understand the prospect's plans and manage their expectations beginning with their capital plan. Do they understand the capital requirements and the cost of entry? Where is their capital coming from? This is an area they do not want to underestimate.

The most important piece of any business is its people. Prospects need to be able to attract the best crew possible to represent themselves and the brand. Up front, prospects should consider: What are their expectations for their involvement in the business? What do they see as a realistic work schedule?

What is their people plan? Who will be involved in daily operations? Will management be incentivized? What is a good crew? How are you going to recruit them? There must be a major focus on the people plan.

The best and most valuable information typically comes from existing franchisees. Before approaching them, the prospect should truly understand their own strengths and weaknesses to see how they line up with those of the franchisees. Are they similar?

The prospect should speak with as many franchisees as possible - single-unit, multi-unit, successful, and challenged - to begin understanding the common denominators. What do they like about being a franchisee? What do they not like? Are they satisfied with the franchisor? How are franchisor/franchisee relations? Remember to tell them to speak with franchisees who are new to the system as well as those who have been on board a while.

The best discussions happen when the prospect asks second- and third-level questions. When a franchisee answers a question, it is the prospect's duty to drill down to why the question was answered that way. For example: Are you happy with the franchisor? Find out why, or what makes them happy/unhappy. Then ask for real-life examples and situations.

Unit economics/ROI is critical. Find out if the franchisees are satisfied financially. Then, using second- and third-level questions, ask if they are above or below the system's average unit volume.

My favorite question to ask a franchisee at the end of the visit: Would you do it again?

Brian Sommers is vice president of franchise development at Jersey Mike's Subs, based in Manasquan, N.J. For more information, call 732-223-4044 or visit their website.

Share this Feature

Reader Reactions:

comments powered by Disqus
Golden Corral

Franchisor Topics »

Premium Services

Hot Dish Advertising Business Opportunity

Hot Dish Advertising
From lead generation to increasing sales, Hot Dish Advertising is the pro...

Michael H. Seid & Associates Business Opportunity

Michael H. Seid & Associates
MSA provides domestic and international franchise advisory services to...

AXIS Integrated Business Opportunity

AXIS Integrated
With over 25 years of experience in the franchise industry, AXIS...

Vya Business Opportunity

Engaging franchisees in local marketing takes more than just technology....

Best Franchisee of the World Business Opportunity

Best Franchisee of the World
Best Franchisee of the World will focus on the Franchisees, entrepreneurs...

Management 2000 Business Opportunity

Management 2000
Management 2000 serving Franchisors since 1981. Our expertise: Granting...

FranConnect Business Opportunity

FranConnect is the #1 provider of franchising solutions in the world with...

Multi-Unit Franchising Conference Business Opportunity

Multi-Unit Franchising Conference
Make deals with the most powerful players in Multi-Unit Franchising. Our...

Franchise Update Magazine

A targeted, quarterly magazine that takes CEO's, VPs and Sales Executives to the cutting edge of franchise development.

Subscribe to Franchise Update Sales Report

A Franchise Update Media Group Production
Franchise Update Media | P.O. Box 20547 // San Jose, CA 95160 // PH. (408) 402-5681
Copyright © 2001 - 2017. All Rights Reserved. Site Hosting Provided By: wishVPS on FUMG3

In Loving Memory Of Timothy Gardner (1987-2014)