We asked Larry Flaherty, director of franchise development at Pet Supplies Plus, what he looks for in a salesperson, and what the critical elements are in building a great sales and development team. Here's what he had to say.
If you ask five different franchise development professionals this question, you'll get six different answers. When recruiting salespeople, I look first and foremost to their integrity. I want a team I can trust to do the right thing, make the right decision, and not simply make a sale. I expect our sales team to look at each candidate and anticipate how they may or may not fit within our pet-centric culture. I look to them to provide me with their honest recommendation based on their observations. Next, I look for someone who has all-around sales qualities, such as a strong sense of urgency and assertive personality, and who looks for solutions, not problems.
Once you have a group of great salespeople, the next stage is the establishment of a strong sales and development team. To develop a first-class team you need to have clear objectives. Our objective is to be "America's Favorite Neighborhood Pet Store." To accomplish your objectives, you must have internal alignment, from the CEO to each store leader to your franchisee community. To achieve success, everyone in the company needs to inherently support the franchise expansion.
The next step in the establishment of a great sales and development team is the three "Ts": Training, Technology, and Team. It is important to provide the time for the sales and development team to "keep their saws sharp" through seminars, networking, and conferences. Additionally, it is important to provide the sales team with the internal and external technological tools and resources necessary to accomplish their jobs and measure the organization's effectiveness.
Fostering the development team's culture is critical. Many franchisors use salespeople who work remotely. It's important to bring the salespeople together regularly to bond, share experiences, and to understand the operational side of the business. This is done in conjunction with the exhibition of best management practices, leading by example, positive recognition, and two-way open communications by the development team's leadership.
In today's recruiting environment it's apparent that there are no silver bullets. A multi-faceted approach to recruitment is critical. You should not invest in a sales team unless your company is financially committed to develop the leads for them to close. Not only does the organization need to have the desire to grow, it has to be fully committed to investing in the people, the tools, and the marketing resources needed to successfully accomplish the franchise development plan.
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