Grading Your Sales Effort: How Will You Match Up in 2013?
Are you making the grade? Is a "C" okay for your company? Are your competitors scoring higher?
With 2013 already trending to be one of the best years in the recent past, we need to make sure we are prepared to take advantage of the new year to grow our franchise brands. We need to take a look at our systems and procedures and create a "scorecard" for success. Today's franchise buyer expects the best in marketing materials, in systems, and in professional sales consultants who can guide them to a franchise that can meet their financial goals.
The franchise systems that will be most successful in the upcoming year will have taken the time and invested the capital to implement the critical changes they need for success. They will also have tracked these five key components to franchise development success (and more):
- A profitable franchise system with happy franchisees.
- A franchise development marketing program targeted for success.
- An FDD that delivers a clear message to the candidate.
- A CRM system that allows you to make informed decisions on marketing and sales consultant training.
- A trained and informed franchise development team of professional consultants.
Profitable franchise units are the foundation of a successful development plan. When the franchise system is operating efficiently and the majority of the system is profitable, it allows the brand to move forward with the development effort. Too many franchise systems haven't taken the time to develop the proper systems and procedures that allow them to create the reporting systems needed to assist franchisees; these systems should not invest in franchise development marketing until they are confident these components are in place.
Understanding 1) the profile of your target franchisee, and 2) the geographical area you want to develop is the beginning of your marketing process. Once you have an understanding of whom, what, and where, you can then implement a targeted franchise development plan. There are several marketing strategies to help you focus your marketing budget wisely and not invest in areas you are not seeking expansion.
The FDD has become even more important as a tool when working with sophisticated franchise buyers. The FDD allows you the opportunity to present important information such as company experience, sales income, operational information, and many other key points to informed buyers in a legal format. The correct and legal disclosure of this information also will allow the franchisor to share this information in marketing materials, providing interested buyers with a faster, more organized document they can use to make an informed business decision.
A contact management system is critical for a franchise system committed to franchise development. Without gathering the information about advertising media results, sales team pipelines, and individual sales consultant results, it is difficult to determine what step (or steps) in your process is not working and needs attention and additional training.
The franchise sales team is the conduit through which all information is conveyed to the candidates. The franchise sales consultant is the face of the franchise company with prospective candidates researching the concept. The role of the sales consultant has always been 80 percent of the reason that a candidate chose your franchise concept over a competitor's. Professional relationship-building is a key.
During the past five years, my company, Kiekenapp & Associates, has conducted the mystery shopping for attendees at Franchise Update's annual Franchise Leadership & Development Conference. The results each year are shocking as we experience the same lack of professionalism, lack of follow-up, and lack of enthusiasm. In most cases, there's not even a simple, scripted first conversation with a candidate to assess their interest level and financial capabilities. While the same 15 to 20 companies score well year after year, others don't seem to improve.
We've made the investments in websites, CRM systems, and marketing plans to attract new franchisees--all without addressing the biggest key to success, our sales team. What are you doing to help your franchise sales team do a better job? Are you doing any or all of these five essential things?
- Weekly sales meetings
- Pipeline reviews
- Training seminars
- Role playing
- Mystery shopping
Mystery shopping can be a positive exercise and help your system in granting more franchise units in 2013. Invest in your sales team, and the results will bring more qualified franchisees into your system. A customized training program can be effective only when you know what your team requires to do a better job. Help your team of sales professionals be the best they can. Institute your training program today!
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