The Top 7 Reasons Franchise Sales Teams Fall Short
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The Top 7 Reasons Franchise Sales Teams Fall Short

The Top 7 Reasons Franchise Sales Teams Fall Short

Over the past 3 years, the world has changed drastically, starting with franchise buyers’ attitudes and expectations. If you want to survive in this dynamic world, you must be open to change. Here are seven areas to consider in 2023.

1) Sales personnel give up on new leads far too soon. The data we’ve aggregated and anonymized on franchise sales results from more 700 franchise brands has shown that many franchise sales programs have an unspoken “three strikes and you’re out” program. This is problematic given research showing that a potential buyer must see a message at least seven times before they’ll be provoked to take action. In fact, to get a prospect to the finish line, the number of touches can easily escalate to 20+ omnichannel exchanges (phone, texting, email, etc.). The call to action is to sit down with your marketing team and come up with an omnichannel series of outreaches and campaigns combined with content-rich material you can use to nurture a prospect.

2) Your sales content is neither timely nor relevant. Providing great content isn’t enough. Instead, it’s necessary to have the right content unveiled at the right time. So many franchisors have content designed to bring the prospect to the initial call, but as discussions progress it’s necessary to have content specific to each stage of your sales process. This content should include how to read an FDD, preparing for discovery day, how to conduct due diligence when speaking with current and former franchisees, etc. This also will help you understand how engaged your prospects are by looking at their open and read rates in your CRM or marketing software.

3) Franchisors must put themselves in the prospect’s shoes. It’s important to understand the emotional state of a buyer from their initial discovery/research phase to the evaluation/comparison stage and finally to the decision/purchase stage. Each stage brings its own emotional highs and lows, and though brands may differ, prospects’ questions and concerns are often the same. It’s important to ensure that the content you are making available can be found in multiple channels for prospects seeking more insights into your brand.

4) Realign your hierarchy of communications. There was a time when nothing worked better than the telephone. Today’s prospects typically won’t answer the phone if they don’t recognize your number. Conversely, SMS text messaging response rates are 45%—295% higher than responses from phone calls. Email is further downstream, with response rates of only 6%. Text messaging can significantly increase your booked call rates. And,once the call takes place, virtual calls such as Zoom or Teams are the most effective way short of a face-to-face meeting. Virtual calls also allow you to record the sessions, which can provide your prospect with a meeting recap, and your head of sales with a way to evaluate sales effectiveness through these “game tapes.”

5) Stop throwing good money after bad. According to Franchise Update’s 2023 Annual Franchise Development Report, franchisors have recruiting budgets that average $225,240 with a median of $143,000. With the average cost of a lead at $155, and the cost per sale reported at $10,086, it’s critical that you know your cost per lead and cost per sale by source—so you can starve things that don’t work and feed those that are working. FranConnect’s Annual Franchise Sales Index Report breaks down and ranks the top lead generation sources based on their individual lead-to-sales conversion rates. If you’re not doing this, chances are you’re spending with sources that provide a substandard ROI.

6) Your salespeople are asleep when buyers want to engage. Our research shows that 68% of sales appointments are made outside of traditional sales hours (evenings, weekends, and holidays).Our data also shows that 65% of the franchise sales that did occur were those that were engaged within the first 4 hours of a prospect expressing interest. This means that a franchisor either needs to call upon technology such as AI-driven SMS text messaging, or consider having sales personnel working split shifts. Personally, I’m a fan of going the technology route.

7) Sales executives fail to pay heed to critical KPIs. There are certain metrics that everyone seems to gravitate toward, such as leads generated and sales closed. These tend to be lagging indicators. The most underrated KPIs are leads by source, applications completed by source, and initial booked—and kept—appointments. This can help you starve the sources that aren’t working in favor of those that are. Our data shows that the challenges in lead generation aren’t in the quantity and quality of those leads, but in the fact that they are getting trapped, and even ignored, within the sales funnel.

Many of the best practices discussed in this article are neither revolutionary nor difficult to put into play. The key is to develop “muscle memory” to achieve your best results. It is my hope and desire that your team members are held accountable for using your systems and tools (such as an effective franchise sales CRM) and that you, as sales leaders, “inspect what you expect.”

With these recommendations in hand, I believe that 2023 can be your best year in franchise sales yet!

Keith Gerson, president of franchise operations at FranConnect, has more than 45 years of executive-level expertise creating and building leading franchise systems. His most recent book is “The Franchise Book of Mentors.” To learn more, visit franconnect.com.

Published: February 8th, 2023

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