Shift from Telling and Selling to Asking and Listening in Franchise Sales
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Shift from Telling and Selling to Asking and Listening in Franchise Sales

Shift from Telling and Selling to Asking and Listening in Franchise Sales

If you are successful selling franchises, chances are you’re following the standard approach: qualifying customers and presenting what you have to offer by discussing your system’s advantages and benefits. We all know benefit selling is key. You get the customer excited to buy. This works. Yet, there is another level of selling that produces far greater results.

Having your prospective customer tell you why they want to buy is much more powerful than you telling them why they should buy. It is much more powerful for your prospective customer to self-discover why they want to buy from you. People naturally distrust sales people. They will trust and believe themselves.

A practical process for “evoking”

You evoke ideas by asking powerful questions that get prospects to think and self-discover. It’s a much more effective process than telling people what they should be thinking about.

Evoking might sound abstract. It’s not. In fact, evoking is a practical process you can quickly learn to use. Even more important, it will produce rapid improvements in your ability to sell. At the center of this process simply is this: Instead of telling prospects the benefits of owning your franchise, ask questions to help them discover those benefits for themselves. This will result in your prospects becoming more invested in their reasons for joining your system. Here are some examples of evoking questions:

  • “What is most important to you right now in making this decision?”
  • “How do you see our franchise system helping you achieve that?”
  • “What is your greatest hesitation about owning a franchise?”
  • “Why would our franchise system help you get past that hesitation?”
  • “Why would you want to buy our franchise?”
  • “How would owning help you achieve your goals?”
  • “If you decide to invest in this franchise system, where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
  • “Does that match your goals?”

These questions will start conversations that could lead you back to telling and selling. Resist the tendency shift back to providing answers and continue to evoke.

Four-step process

The new process can be broken down into four steps:

  1. Develop rapport, create a personal connection.
  1. Evoke their needs and goals. Prospects qualify themselves through your powerful open-ended questions. Be curious, but always be evoking.
  1. Make presentations with evoking check-ins. This is where you review the concept. It is your normal selling process, except you check in with evoking questions throughout such as, “What do think so far?” and “What do you like so far?”
  1. Evoke the sale. Ask powerful questions that result in the customer telling you why it makes sense for them to buy. When you’re in this step, here are some questions that can help you make that happen: “What do you like best about what you have seen?” “Can you see yourself running this business?” “What do you think your friends and family would think if you invested in this opportunity?” (This question is powerful as it enables the prospect to share their true feelings about buying as they see it through the eyes of someone else.) “What are your steps to moving forward?”

When that happens, you will feel the excitement grow within your prospects. They will be more energized and will continue to ask more questions.

And what if this doesn’t work? Not every prospect is the perfect buyer for your brand. Your goal always must be to match your opportunity to the right person. By evoking, you might quickly realize that your opportunity isn’t the right one for them. Remember that in sales, “No” is the second-best thing you can hear!

Closing the sale

If you evoked well, closing the sale is simple: “I think you made a good decision. Let’s get going.”

As your prospects close themselves, the likelihood of buyer’s remorse goes down dramatically.

The power of evoking is a game changer. As you try it out, you’ll become more and more comfortable with it. You’ll get better at asking questions, listening, and following up with more evoking questions. But be patient. It will take time to shift from telling and selling to asking and listening.

Evan Hackel, a 35-year franchising veteran, is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company, and principal and founder of Ingage Consulting. He is a speaker, author of Ingaging Leadership, and host of “Training Unleashed,” a podcast covering training for business. Contact him at, follow him at @ehackel, or call 781-820-7609.

Published: November 16th, 2021

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Franchise Update Magazine: Issue 4, 2021
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