Show, Don't Tell: 'Ingage' Your Prospects and Boost Your Sales
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Show, Don't Tell: 'Ingage' Your Prospects and Boost Your Sales

Show, Don't Tell: 'Ingage' Your Prospects and Boost Your Sales

Let's start by describing two people who are thinking about buying a franchise. Which one do you think will be more likely to buy?

Potential Buyer 1 attends a sales presentation. She comes home with a pile of printed material and says to her family, "They told me about their products, about the cost of buying a franchise, about their marketing, and showed me some ads. It was interesting."

Potential Buyer 2 attends a sales presentation. He comes home and says to his family, "I get why you buy a franchise. They have all these tools to make me successful. I signed up to take the training course for new owners and took a few lessons. I also did a videoconference with two franchisees, and we're going to stay in touch. Then I got a sneak peek at the company Facebook group and toured their internal portal and saw their business operating systems. I am incredibly excited and can see why I would be smart to make this investment."

The answer is clear about which prospect is more likely to buy. The takeaway I have for you is that if you want to sell more franchises, remember the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, it would be better to say, "An experience is worth a million words."

While the difference is obvious, what do many of us do when we are trying to convince prospects to buy? Mostly, a lot of talking about how wonderful our franchise is. The result usually is that the people we are talking to, like Buyer 1, come away and say, "It was interesting."

But you don't want people to say it was "interesting." You want them to say, "It was incredibly exciting! I want to know more, and I'm thinking I probably want to sign up." Having people touch and feel your business, which I call "ingaging" them, is the difference-maker. Why do I call it ingagement instead of engagement? Because in ingagement, the "i" stands for involvement.

How to ingage prospects

Most of the time, franchisors show the cool, fun things they think a prospect would be excited to see. If the franchise is a scoop shop, they show a franchisee selling an ice cream cone to a smiling child. If it's a tire store, a franchisee is showing cool tires or rims to an eager customer.

That's all fine, but I would argue you should go deeper, much deeper. Whenever possible in the sales process, show, demonstrate or ideally let potential buyers experience what you do in a tangible way, a way that lets them see and feel something about your brand and how it works. Let prospective buyers see inside your organization. Here are some examples of how to do that.

  • Give them temporary access to let them explore your intranet and experience how you communicate. While they are taking this virtual tour, watch them and answer their questions. There is a huge difference when they drive their own experiences versus having you lead them.
  • Let them explore the private Facebook group you've set up for franchisees.
  • Host a Zoom or other video meeting, stand back and let them experience what it's like to meet and interact with your current owners.
  • Show them a company-wide video meeting; play them some video clips.
  • If you do online training, set them up with passwords and limited access. Let them take some classes to experience what your training is like. Ideally, select courses that cover what your brand is and what it stands for--and what it means to be a brand steward.

When you let future franchisees see how your processes and training work, they will get a much better feel for your organization. They will be "ingaged" and much more likely to buy.

The power of time

Herb Cohen, in his classic book You Can Negotiate Anything, makes a great point. He writes that the longer people spend in a process, the more committed they will become. There is tremendous value in having prospective franchisees spend a lot of time learning about your system and understanding how it works. It will increase their likelihood of joining your system because they've invested more time and will want to get a return on that investment.

In conclusion

Remember that when people buy a franchise, they are buying a system, a proven methodology they believe will work for them. When you let them "ingage" and get under the hood to experience how your franchise really works, you are providing proof, building excitement, and showing them you have the tools they will need to succeed. And if you connect them with current owners and encourage them to get to know one other, you are building the kind of trust that can close sales.

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

Published: July 13th, 2019

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