Editor's note: This is the fifth and final part of a serialized version of a recent e-book from Franchise Performance Group called Why Your Franchise Sales Process Is a Disaster: What a breakthrough franchise sales process looks like. Click here for part 1, here for part 2, here for part 3, and here for part 4.
Franchise sales is a marathon, not a sprint. Highly successful franchise sales people understand the art of deal pacing and know how to leave the franchise buyer in the right mental state for each phase of the franchise buying process.
Franchise sales masters pace the buyer along the following model:
In Phase 1, the franchisor uses a specific content strategy through articles, blogs, and their franchise opportunity research to manage the franchise buyer's understanding of the franchise business model and its long-term sustainability in the marketplace. Each piece of content is designed to increase emotional engagement and break down any barriers to conversation.
Phase 2 is a five-minute prequalification call and sets up the one-hour "Getting to Know You" interview and overview.
In Phase 3, before the buyer and franchise salesperson discuss the business, the salesperson builds trust and rapport by asking questions that allow the salesperson to understand the buyer as a person. Then they show the buyer how their objectives may be met using the business as a vehicle. The skilled salesperson is satisfied leaving the franchise buyer "cautiously optimistic" about the business (40% emotional engagement). If they hear the buyer is "red hot and ready to go" (80% to 90% emotional engagement), the skilled salesperson knows that emotional level will not sustain over 60 to 120 days. They will throw some water on the fire to bring the buyer back to the "cautiously optimistic" 40% level.
In Phase 4, the Winning Formula, the skilled franchise salesperson is educating the buyer in how the model works. They show how the business is unique, profitable, necessary and sustainable for the long haul, and what franchisees need to do on a daily basis to win. While they make an excellent case for the business model, they don't assume the model is right for the candidate. They come from the powerful place of "I know the model is great for the right person," but they do not pretend to know that this buyer is the right person. They raise the buyer's emotional engagement level to 60%.
Unskilled franchise salespeople go for the jugular. They approach the meeting armed to the teeth with slick presentations and pre-planned responses to common objections. They push to elevate the buyer into "red hot and ready to go" status, oblivious to the fact that this level of engagement is not sustainable through the buying process. They end the meeting set up for a major buyer "cool-down" period, rather than leaving the buyer ready to steadily increase emotional engagement.
In Phase 5, the skilled franchise salesperson walks the buyer through the FDD. They don't try to hype them or gloss over potential deal-killers. They confront those issues head-on. They even point out areas that have given past buyers fits and then explain why certain sections of the FDD read the way they do. They leave the buyer thinking, "I may not like all the terms, but I can live with it."
Unskilled sales people take an "If they don't ask, I won't tell" position on the FDD, and just hope the buyer doesn't read it.
In Phase 6, skilled sales people quarterback an information-gathering and validation process designed to reach a logical conclusion, resulting in a "yes" or "no" decision. They check in regularly, asking such questions as, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how ready are you to make a decision?" If the buyer answers "8," they respond with, "Great. Let's identify what's missing and work together to put those pieces in place."
Unskilled sales people try to hype the buyer, hide negatives, and discredit any disgruntled franchisees with such comments as, "They would be more successful if they followed the system." They ignore the fact that "the system" sold them a franchise and is at least partly responsible for the franchisee's results. They also sell discovery day hard. Their process doesn't follow a well-designed series of phases: the front end is designed to get people to a discovery day, and then discovery day is designed to close the deal.
In our process, discovery day is all the way at Phase Seven. There, skilled franchisors enter the meeting with this philosophy: "This may be the only time the buyer will meet one-on-one with each decision-maker. Let's honor their investment by giving them the time to ask anything. Nothing is off the table."
Unskilled franchisors design discovery day as a series of pitches with no give-and-take.
Skilled franchisors know that after discovery day, buyers will be at an emotional engagement fever pitch, from which engagement levels can only go down. Time becomes the enemy. They inform candidates early on that discovery day is the end of the validation process. After that, the franchisor and franchise buyer each take a day and decide whether they will be doing business together. If they both decide "yes," then they sign an agreement and the onboarding process begins.
Unskilled franchise salespeople are so gung-ho to get buyers to discovery day that often the buyers still have to apply for financing, still want to validate with more franchisees, or still plan to bring the FDD to an attorney. Emotional engagement wanes. Deals drag on. The longer they take, the harder they are to close.
That is why skilled salespeople outperform unskilled salespeople by 200% to 300%.
Unskilled salespeople alter the buyer experience in negative or unproductive ways, rendering the process ineffective.
A well-thought-out process will help narrow, but not close, the gap between underperforming sales people and highly skilled sales people. And those highly skilled folks? A well-thought-out process will take them to whole new levels of results. Curious how your current franchise sales process holds up? Start a conversation with us and see if you can learn how to adapt faster to the changes in today's market.
Click here to read or review the entire e-book, or find more articles by Joe Mathews.
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