Note: This is part 2 on how to qualify franchise prospects more effectively. To read part 1, click here.
"Dreamers" love the idea of owning their own business. They envision themselves as happy proprietors of a fun ice cream store, socializing with smiling families raving about their scrumptious hot fudge sundaes in their Ben & Jerry's franchise. Gracefully disqualify these passionate individuals before they soak up your selling hours. Since they often are raving customers of yours, let them down gently. They just don't realize the difference between eating at and owning an ice cream store. Share the hard realities of working 80 hours a week, fixing broken machines with 10 people impatiently waiting to be served, and two employees on the busiest shift not showing up for work. Early on, I tried to convert these well-meaning souls and failed every time. The American Dream of franchise ownership is just too much for most people.
How about the "professional lookers," those distinguished elite who turn franchise investigation into career hobbies? Have any of you franchise veterans run into the same prospects attending franchise shows three years in a row? Or what about the "armchair entrepreneurs?" I once had a tennis buddy who bought the complete $3,500 library of Entrepreneur magazine's more than 80 start-up business manuals. He bragged about reading every manual cover to cover. Bill confessed he had explored owning a business for the past 15 years. Amazed, I asked him why he hadn't done anything yet. He certainly had the money to invest. He enthusiastically responded, "The timing hasn't been quite right, but I'm still looking!"
In short, weed out the dreamers and work only with the "doers" motivated and driven to commit to a business they can operate within the foreseeable future. They are engaged in your franchise model and are ready to say "Yes" if the match is right. Separate the chaff from the wheat and focus your sales efforts on the real prospects.
Robert was a franchise broker who was exceptional at keeping prospects in line with the sales process. One time I was working with one of his candidates, who skipped our appointment without notice or apology. When I told Robert I was stood up, he contacted the perpetrator and blasted him. "You forgot the appointment? How can Steve seriously consider you for their program after flaking out on your conference call? He certainly let me have it after I presented you as an ideal candidate for their system. This doesn't make me look good as a trusted consultant. Egg's dripping down my face and I should drop you from their selection process. What do you have to say? I'm not about to present you to other franchise opportunities if this is what's going to happen!"
Robert put this candidate "in jail," told him to call him back in a week if he promised he would never commit such a "crime" again. It sounds a bit humorous and harsh, but it worked. Tail between his legs, the guilty candidate apologized profusely and marched perfectly through our process after that.
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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