Quick-Start Training Tips for New Franchisors and Sales People

You'll recruit new franchisees much faster if you initially understand, prepare, and learn the best methods for selling franchises. Working smarter shortens the race to the finish line! Here are two ways to build effective closing skills that will help accelerate your pace.

1) Visit with franchisees

Franchisees are a wealth of information, stories, encouragement, tips, and experiences for the new sales person. I was a successful franchise owner before I sold franchises. But I had no clue what to do in marketing a franchise opportunity. However, I did know firsthand what it took to run a rewarding franchise business, which was a great introduction to recruitment selling. I shared with prospective owners the joys and frustrations of building our franchise business into the top franchise in the system, and I replayed success stories of other prosperous owners. Buyers always were most interested in what franchise operators were doing, how they were doing it, and what the challenges were.

Today, I still share how my business profited from the power of the franchise network: "We failed miserably trying to develop a successful marketing program for builders. Hearing this, our headquarters referred us to franchisee Dave Evans in Atlanta who had cracked the code for success. Dave shared all the details of his program with me. The next year my partner and I wrote $80,000 in additional revenue, and more thereafter!" This valuable information put significant cash in our pockets. And this wasn't the only time we profited from consulting with other franchisees. (Thanks again Dave - Frank and I are still indebted to you!)

Most franchise sales people are not former franchisees. But calling, visiting, interviewing, and soaking up as much of their world as possible can pay off handsomely with your franchise buyers. They want you to paint a picture of people like themselves who are successful in your business. Leverage these personal experiences of your franchise owners from the start. If prospect Joe is a sales engineer and your franchisee Bill once was, talk about Bill and how he just opened his third location. If prospect Mary has a concern about the competitive environment in Chicago, share how franchisee Julie took customers away from the competition through her grand opening and introduction of your superior products.

There's nothing more powerful with prospects than case studies and anecdotes. Remember, franchise buyers are investing their savings to achieve their entrepreneurial goals and dreams. Providing real success stories from owners transforms their dreams into reality. Have a new sales person visit with franchisees and pick their brains, asking why they joined the system, what ownership benefits they are enjoying, as well as what challenges they're facing and how they are addressing them. Owners welcome your interest in their business lives and can share feedback worth its weight in recruitment gold.

2) Shop the competition

As in any business, if you don't know what your competitors are doing, you'll flounder in ignorance. Contacting direct and indirect competition is smart business, and quickly provides marketing intelligence you can apply in strengthening your sales presentations. For instance, emphasize your outstanding programs if you discover other franchises can't match the extensive training and technology support you deliver.

Collect FDDs, recruitment packages, and learn from a competitor's sales presentations and techniques. Observe what they do well and where their weaknesses are. Don't worry about researching this public information, because smart franchisors do the same to stay on top of their game. But don't even think about going beyond this point. Some overly aggressive franchisors have crossed the ethical line in past years. Never, ever, attend a Discovery Day under the guise of a prospective buyer. This is clearly a violation of business ethics and could be cause for legal action.

Shopping a competitive sales exec, Hal, paid off big-time for me when I was recruiting franchises for American Advertising Distributors. When I had a prospect who wanted to take a look at our competition, I graciously referred candidates to him. You see, I discovered Hal was my best sales person. He was a nice, older gentleman, but hard-of-hearing and yelled when he spoke to me as a potential buyer. It was obvious Hal struggled to close any deals. He really appreciated the prospects I sent him for comparison shopping. I really appreciated that he helped close more deals for me. I finally got together with Hal at an industry event and treated him to a night of drinks, which we both really enjoyed together. I was crushed when I heard he retired.

This is an excerpt from my Amazon.com best-selling book, "Grow to Greatness: How to build a world-class franchise system faster." To order copies, click here.

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