Objective: Candidate gains insights and understanding of the opportunity from owners
1) Review the results of your candidate's conversations.
"Tell me about the owners you spoke with. What did you learn from them? Any surprises? Who did you identify with? Who did you feel most comfortable speaking with? Why? Were franchisees satisfied with our support services? What were some of the benefits they were enjoying as owners? Can you see yourself achieving your goals in our business?"
2) Know how to respond with assurance and conviction when a prospect dwells on a particular franchisee who is facing problems, unhappy, and falling short of financial expectations.
"As discussed, we have star performers as well as a few struggling. Unfortunately, this is the case in every business. There's no getting around it. Why do you believe the franchisee is having a hard time? Remember, the key is who you relate to. Is it this bottom producer, or the successful owners you spoke with? We provide the training, guidance, and tools for you to build a successful business. But it's still up to our franchisee partner to make it happen."
Note: If your system is dealing with issues affecting franchisee performance at the time, be straightforward and recognize the situation. Before they speak with owners, prepare the candidate if you are experiencing temporary product distribution problems, construction delays, or staffing shortages. Most important is knowing you have solutions in place so these objections are minimized should a franchisee bring them up.
3) During this franchisee validation step, also verify your candidate's status with potential lenders to insure they've received preliminary pre-approval at this stage of the process. If they're working with one of your recommended financing companies, you'll already know this.
Their responses to your probing questions at this stage will help qualify your prospect's interest and commitment as a serious buyer. Mentally, they should be thinking as franchisees and be prepared to move forward. "As you know, Discovery Day is the next step. Let's schedule you now and make sure you are well prepared for the event." With their confirmation, let them know what opening(s) you have available and coordinate with their schedule.
You are now preparing your candidate for the close. If they hesitate, raise the red flag and find out why there's an issue. Didn't they fully agree to your timetable in the initial Program Review? Move 'em to the next step, Discovery Day, or move 'em out if their excuses are unacceptable. If they can't follow your investigation process, how well will they follow your system? Decision-making time is here, and now's the time to take the final step toward franchise ownership. It's your responsibility to properly prepare them for the event to ensure a successful outcome on their behalf.
Often, new or mediocre sales people experience recurring problems getting people to Discovery Day. If your process works, they simply haven't executed properly, established the ground rules, or set the correct expectations with candidates. The process naturally flows to the Discovery Day event. Executed properly, it doesn't need to be sold. It just evolves. Remember, the best close starts with the opening.
Length of conversation: 30 to 60 minutes
This is an excerpt from my Amazon.com best-selling book, "Grow to Greatness: How to build a world-class franchise system faster." To order copies, click here.
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