As the "franchise world" turns toward technology that allows us to respond automatically through emails, send links to articles, and educate customers through "mass information" emails, we may be looking past a simple premise of selling such as "building a relationship."
People buy from people they can relate to and like. Technology can't bring that to the party, it can only enhance what we do during the sales process. Most candidates don't read or look at all the "fluff " until they have developed a comfort zone with the sales professional. The sales professional needs to transmit the feeling that they care about the future of the candidate and then create a sales process of "mutual exploration."
Initial contact should start with a phone call to the franchise candidate, not a series of emails asking them to complete forms or call you. In my 28 years in the franchise business I've yet to award a franchise to someone I've not talked with in person or on the phone. Technology-driven emails are a cold greeting for someone who is looking to change their life and risk a large portion of the family's savings.
Blending voice mails with emails during the first five to seven days is critical; don't just send emails.
Once you've made contact with the franchise candidate, it is time to set yourself apart from the competition by taking a personal interest in your candidate's success. Yes, you can be a "consultant" even if you have only your brand.
The best close is a good opening and taking the time to create a relationship.
Demonstrating to the candidate that this will be a "mutual exploration" will be a much different approach than that of most other sales professionals. People don't care how much you know until you show them how much you care about their future. Gathering the following information during this phone appointment is important. Focus on the major factors near and dear to your prospect:
F = Family
O = Occupation
R = Recreation
M = Money
Building this type of relationship early in the process will allow you to ask the "hard questions" in a soft way.
You cannot help the candidate until they are willing to give you good information to help them. As most of us have experienced, a candidate will not share information on their financial position in regard to other franchises they are investigating, even if they have family support. As you build an environment of mutual exploration, the candidate will feel your "intent" to help them. Once the candidate understands your intent to help, good information from the candidate will start to flow.
This process takes great discipline on the sales professional's part. I have found over the years that the number of franchises you award will be directly related to the number of questions you ask and the information you gather.
The bottom line is getting to know the candidate, their needs, wants, and desires.
This will allow you to qualify the fit with your franchise concept. If candidates don't discover franchise owners that remind them of themselves and discover the key elements they are looking for in your concept, they will move on. If candidates are unwilling to engage in this process, you most likely are spending time with the wrong candidates. Find candidates that are willing to work with you on this process and you will award more franchises in 2008.
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