Challenge the Pros: Keys to Building a Great Sales and Development Team
What are the keys to building, training, and retaining a great sales and development team at your brand?
Vice President of Franchise Development
The process of hiring, training, and retaining qualified individuals for sales and development is a necessary company practice that should not be taken lightly. Having a great sales and development team as the backbone of your business is critical to company success in both the immediate and distant future.
Hiring the most qualified people for your company can be challenging, but if you take the time to work diligently in the early stages of seeking out a potential employee, there is great long-term payoff. At PuroClean, we first identify which candidates can fit in with our company culture. It's important to seek an individual with experience in franchise development, but if a person can't fit in with the dynamic of the organization, the hire will simply not work out. When you have people who know and understand company culture, you will develop your brand with the right franchisees on board.
The ideal candidates will have past experiences that match the company profile. During the interview process, ask questions that will have them demonstrate their hands-on experiences and show they can be prepared for any situation. You should also invite final candidates to attend a discovery day, spend time with the corporate team in the office and socially, and give them an opportunity to meet franchisees. Finally, before making the hire, always view the candidate's online profiles, including LinkedIn and Facebook, and call their references for second and third opinions.
After hiring, proper training is critical. It is vital that your new hire knows what messages need to be expressed when selling and helping develop the company. PuroClean outlines employee expectations from the beginning and continues to work with new hires for several weeks before letting them set sail, including partner work in person and over the phone with the franchise development team, franchisee training academy, and meetings with key members of the operations team. The more comfortable the business is with the new employee, and vice versa, the greater chance the employee has to succeed and stay with the company. When a franchise development employee successfully comes on board and hits their stride, the results will be the proper development of your brand and a celebrated employee.
Without a determined, eager sales and development team, a business cannot grow. If franchisors take the time to seek out the people who best fit their company culture, they will see the most achievement and success.
Director of Franchise and Real Estate
In building great teams, I always look back at teams I was fortunate to be a part of. When I was with Burger King in the '80s, we accomplished some seemingly insurmountable tasks in a relatively short time. What we did, how we did it, and what I learned in the process has carried with me to today. Through the years, the following time-tested principles, when implemented, usually translate into great results and happy people.
- Love what you do. I love doing deals. Hiring like-minded people in sales and development is crucial. I often think of a quote from the chair and CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi: "Whatever anyone says or does, assume positive intent." This changes your perspective in any of your dealings and elevates your approach to any problem-solving.
- Keep the long term in mind. In sales, we are always about deadlines and sales goals. These are important, but we must not sacrifice by giving in to something we know won't stand the test of time. This applies to selectivity of candidates--particularly in franchising, where we're dealing with major financial and personal investments from people, in what may become a lifelong business for them or a legacy for their families.
- Training and development. Love of learning fosters new ways of thinking and strategies. With the pace of change so constant, we must keep educating ourselves. Supporting teams and encouraging them in this pursuit provides additional value to team members.
Equally important is to follow the Golden Rule, give feedback, schedule one-on-one time, and provide tools to help them succeed.
At Applebee's, I was fortunate to have an experienced team that I learned from every day. My role was more support and helping them get through roadblocks, whether with corporate, franchisees, or landlords. Communication and honesty, especially with a large field team, were integral to success.
Today at Bar Louie, we have a unique culture that is carried throughout the organization to the restaurants. It's hard to describe, but you can definitely feel it. The idea of being "supportive but truly entrepreneurial" allows us to be creative and think outside the box--to be "more than ordinary." We have the freedom to look at things from an owner perspective and design deals to fit the franchisee or the location to its environment. This is different from other organizations and one of the keys at Bar Louie that keeps our sales team happy.
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