The Six Steps to Selling Success: Step 5 - Discovery Day, Part 1

Objective: Attend Discovery Day at your headquarters for executive approval of the franchise

Discovery Day is show time! Whether you have one franchise or a thousand, this special event propels your sales process to a crescendo. It's "Confirmation Day," where serious buyers come to you ready to join your franchise with the blessing of your approval committee. It's always my favorite stage of the process, when everything becomes real for your candidate and you. The journey of rigorous courtship has led both candidate and franchisor to your altar of consummation.

To ensure success, your Discovery Day must always meet or exceed the buyer's expectations. Anything less, and you must clean up your act quickly. Invest whatever it takes to make this event work.

There is wide variation in the preparation and professionalism of home office presentations for qualified franchise candidates. Some companies focus their entire recruitment process toward scheduling the Discovery Day event, while others view it as an optional trip for potential owners who want to know more about the franchise.

Surprisingly, a few franchisors have eliminated their Discovery Day. I know of an automotive franchisor who decided, "It slows down our sales process because of travel preparation and scheduling. We now try to take care of this without the home office visit." A food franchise executive explained to me, "It drains our resources by tying up our executive staff for the day. We can't afford to take the time."

Wow, I thought, you can't afford not to take the time! I spoke to a successful founder of fitness centers in the southeastern U.S. who was trying to upgrade the quality of her franchisees. Her first 30 owners had never come to her headquarters or met her staff. I asked, "Would you ever hire any corporate or field employee without meeting them? Yet sight unseen, you are awarding 10-year contracts to individuals who will operate and market your brand throughout the U.S.!" The founder realized the hard way this was not a good thing and changed to mandated Discovery Days.

Home office visits are anything but an option in the sales process. They are a must for franchise candidates. High-performance franchise organizations know this event is critical in successfully qualifying and recruiting franchisees. It also is an invaluable experience for candidates to gain firsthand information, meet the staff, see the culture, and validate their expectations of the system. For franchisors committed to building a quality system, the days of waiving Discovery Day are over!

Length of meeting: 1 to 2 days

Next time: Discovery Day preparation and checklist.

This is an excerpt from my best-selling book, "Grow to Greatness: How to build a world-class franchise system faster." To order copies, click here.

Published: April 15th, 2014

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