Franchise development and franchise sales are like any other sales process, you have a product, you should have a defined buyer and you need to get your product in front of this buyer, the difference in a franchise sales process is that you are selling intellectual property, this is different for most salespeople and takes some time to transition to get comfortable with the process.
If you haven’t sold a franchise before, this process takes time and focus. Most franchise transactions take in excess of 90 days and can take as long as a year to complete the sale. There are endless variables in place as to how a franchise transaction will impact the buyer’s life…. family….financial future and lifestyle will all be impacted by this decision, don’t rush it, don’t push the timeline. Buyers need to be supported, guided and communicated with when it comes to buying a franchise. If you do your job as a franchise salesperson, you will be there for the buyer providing real, authentic support, data and information to them as they work through the evaluation process.
Having a qualified management system in place to manage the process, lead flow and communications with buyers is essential. Implement a franchise sales CRM and you can expect better results from the franchise development campaign. By effectively tracking, reporting and evaluating the franchise sales data you can make better decisions regarding your market, business development and franchise sales team. Franchise Marketing Systems has an approved CRM that works well throughout this process.
Define your buyer profile and the characteristics you need to make someone successful in your business
Having worked with a wide variety of different franchises and business models, some industries and franchises require certain skill sets (Sales, business development, prospecting, client management, etc) while others may be completely different (Retail, Food Service, Technical, etc). Create a solid buyer profile and stick to it. Make sure that buyers fill out an evaluation form, that they answer the questions completely and accurately in order for you to draw a conclusion as to whether they are the right fit for your business. Then comes the hard part….say no to candidates that don’t meet your qualification requirements….even when they have the money.
Have a good sales team in place to manage the process
It typically takes in excess of 150 leads to close a franchise sale, you need to have a lot of manpower in place to manage this lead flow and to appropriately call the leads the 6-10 times required to get a candidate on the phone and to appropriately deliver the value proposition. We typically recommend at least 3 stages and people involved in the sales process…. the owner of the company should not be involved until the END of the sales process – build the perceived value in what and WHO they get when they purchase the franchise model. Don’t give them access to the head of the company early on in the sales process.
Know Your Market
Don’t go into the franchise sales process without a complete market evaluation and competitive overview. You can’t answer a buyer’s question of “how do you compare with them?” with….”Well, I’ve never heard of them”, or “I don’t know much about them” and sound like you know your industry. Having the information up front and ready is part of being able to sell franchises effectively. We recommend a good strategic plan and market research program prior to launching a franchise sales campaign.
Have your ducks in a row.
Make sure that your FDD, franchise state registrations and complete franchise legal documentation are in place to effectively and legally offer a franchise. Remember, you can’t even market a franchise legally before you have gone through this process, make sure you cover your bases prior to launching a franchise sales campaign.
Understand the different areas of franchise sales and find strategic partners and employees that fit
It doesn’t matter if you a small emerging brand needing to find and award your first 10 franchise units, a larger established brand that needs to focus on a specific market, region or segment, or a brand looking to expand into the area and master development, you will benefit from building relationships with a specialist in these fields. Understanding the difference between Deal Development, Franchise Development, Franchise Recruitment and Franchise Consulting is the last step in determining how you can find the right strategic partners and employees that can help you achieve your goals.
Christopher Conner has spent the last decade in the franchise industry working with several hundred different franchise systems in management, franchise sales and franchise development work. His experience ranges across all fields of franchise expertise with a focus on franchise marketing and franchise sales but includes work in franchise strategic planning, franchise research and franchise operations consulting. Christopher has worked with multiple International franchises and licensed organizations throughout the United States, Middle East, India and Europe. He has an MBA in Finance and Marketing from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelor’s Degree from Miami of Ohio. For more information: [email protected] www.franchisemarketingsystems.com
Franchising USA is a monthly digital publication bringing you all the latest news, expert advice, and information from the world of franchising. Written with franchisees in mind, Franchising USA is a valuable resource for legal and financial advice, marketing and business information, as well as franchise profiles and in-depth features. This article originally appeared in the April 2015 edition.