Selling More in A Slow Economy

Your best close starts with your opening

Take control at the outset of your selling process and you'll accelerate your recruiting success. It sets the stage for your entire relationship. Sales pros agree your first session with qualified prospects who have sent their applications is the ideal opportunity to begin closing. It can make the difference between celebrating another franchise sale - or losing another candidate who drifts from your reach.

Set expectations early and establish ground rules for investigating your franchise opportunity. This proven approach empowers you to assume leadership with qualified candidates. Otherwise, if you don't take control they certainly will! Include these five deal accelerators and you may boost your franchise closing percentages.

1) Define your role in the process -- "My role is to educate you about our franchise, and explore this opportunity with you to see if we're the right fit for each other. This is a franchise partnership, and we're interested in candidates who can be successful, satisfied owners. I am not here to sell you. My responsibility is to facilitate the investigation process. Our executive review committee makes the decisions on offering our franchises to qualified candidates." (This helps puts your prospects at ease in knowing this is a mutual decision that has to work for both parties.)

(2) Introduce the Review Committee - "If you want to be considered for our franchise after completing our investigation process, you'll attend Discovery Day and meet our Review Committee, who awards our franchises to qualified candidates." (This builds the credibility and importance of your approval system for screening qualified buyers.)

(3) Require open communications - "Anytime in the process you have a question, concern or want to stop, let me know!. Just 'wave the red flag' and we'll address the issue. Out of respect for you, I will do the same. If this franchise isn't the right one, we certainly don't want to waste each other's time. Does that make sense?" (This rule allows you to directly confront and 'straighten up' or disqualify prospects who make excuses or break appointments.)

(4) Agree to a timeframe for decision-making - "Candidates we work with decide within four to five weeks whether this is the franchise they want and are ready to make a commitment. Can you? (Most prospects agree to this timetable, since it is logical and they have no reference point on how long it should take.) "Okay. Now, forward we'll schedule conference calls that work for both of us in our investigation." Prospects are looking for this guidance to decision-making which you have now defined with a specific time table. Disqualify individuals who can't commit to an acceptable decision time. If it's a military person considering a franchise down the road, ask them to contact you six months prior to discharge. Or, place them in a future follow-up file. Too much can happen in between for them to be classified as "a prospect."

(5) Explain your process for reviewing the program - "We have five-steps for exploring our franchise opportunity to determine if we are right for each other. These are the Program Review which we are conducting today; Franchise Disclosure Review; Franchisee Validation; Discovery Day; and Awarding of the Franchise. Discovery Day is the meeting at our headquarters at which time you'll visit with our support team, tour our operations and local franchise locations, and get final Committee Approval for securing the franchise. Does this investigation process make sense for you?" (Most systems award the franchise after Discovery Day, while others award the franchise and agreements at the event. It can work well either way, depending on how you set expectations and what's most effective for your development program.)

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