The Six Steps to Selling Success: Step 6, Awarding the Franchise, Part 3

Objective: Grant the franchise to qualified buyers on Discovery Day or soon after
Length of meeting: 30 minutes to 2 hours

Timeline for selling process

Twelve weeks is the average length of time in awarding a franchise, according to franchise companies surveyed in Franchise Update's Annual Franchise Development Report. Selling hotel franchises and other million-dollar- plus concepts certainly takes much longer. On the lower investment end, some franchises costing less than $100,000 can close in 6 to 8 weeks.

Legitimate time-robbers delaying franchise signings include life's realities of family vacations, sickness, dealing with partnerships, legal and CPA reviews of franchise agreements, or scheduling conflicts with Discovery Days. There are no excuses for delays resulting from individuals skipping appointments or stringing out decisions over several weeks. When this happens, wave the red flag, because this means your investigation process is not properly developed or isn't being executed by your sales team!

"Our franchise buyers are more sophisticated and they would be insulted if we pushed them to make decisions. This is why our signings take seven to eight months, and really can't be shortened without losing quality candidates." This is how a sales veteran with a successful, $400,000 technology franchise greeted me when I asked about her selling experiences. Her new vice president had just hired me to review the company's total recruitment process and see if there was an inkling of truth to this saleswomen's belief.

Shortening their selling cycle was a critical issue, since two more sales people had come aboard and the old-timer's influence could create problems in training the new sales reps. After mystery shopping the sales veteran several times, we discovered she was clearly not following the process. Too bad. Her passion, enthusiasm, and relationship-building skills were quite impressive. But she always put the prospects in the driver's seat, allowing them to take control and proceed at their own pace. She was afraid to present a timeline for decision-making. Instead, she would say, "When would you like me to get back to you?" or "Give me a call back when you are ready to take the next step." Of course it took her 8 months to bring new franchisees aboard! And since time kills, how many more did she lose?

Here's an example of a selling process with an 8-week template for working with franchise buyers from initial contact to signing, assuming all the stars are aligned and there are no time delays:

Closing Schedule for Concepts Under $100,000 Investment

  1. Jan 2: Prospect Inquiry
  2. Jan. 3: Pre-Qualification
    • Jan. 6: Materials sent and received
  3. Jan. 10: Program Review
    • Jan. 13: FDD sent and received
  4. Jan. 20: Disclosure Review
    • Jan. 21: Franchisee list emailed and received, and funding preliminarily pre-approved
  5. Jan. 27: Franchisee Validation
    • Feb. 5: Franchise agreement sent and reviewed, and personality profile(s) completed
  6. Feb. 15: Discovery Day
  7. Feb. 16: Awarding the Franchise
  8. Feb. 23: Franchisee Closing
    • Feb. 25: Franchise fee received and signed franchise agreements

Next time: A summary checklist of the Six Steps to Selling Success

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: July 15th, 2014

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