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Where does franchise sales come from??

The foundation of your successful selling program starts with your sales process. It's the anchor to embracing, guiding, and closing quality candidates who will help you build your system. It's the Broadway hit performance that every night leads audiences from opening curtain to standing ovations; the World Series champions who mastered the execution of their game plan. Franchise development is no different: follow the plan, the plan works. But where does franchise sales come from ?

Every sales process must be refined to work most effectively for each franchisor's concept, franchise program, and franchise candidates. Establishing your sales process is an evolution that recognizes the changing marketplace, competition, buyer motivations, and current strengths and challenges within your franchise.

So let us start by defining the sales process. Though we often refer to the franchise sales process, it would actually be more accurate to refer to it as the mutual evaluation process. A franchise sales process is simply a systematic way in which interested individuals work their way from inquiry to franchise document execution, as efficiently as possible, and are able to exclude themselves as quickly as possible if they are not the right fit.

A clearly defined sales process ensures that everyone is involved; the prospect, the sales team, and the leadership team, have a clear understanding of what to expect as they navigate the mutual evaluation process. The first key in a sales process is to document everything. You should have initial qualification scripts, a detailed outline for your program review, a list of objections with answers, a list of red-flags, and guidelines to set up for discovery days or in interviews, and location visits. By documenting the process, you are able to maintain consistency and candidate experience as you expand or if key personnel leave the company.

Moreover, understanding where people are getting hung up, or at what part of the process a particular sales person is struggling, will allow you to modify your process or training to react to these issues.

The franchise sales process or mutual evaluation process must be tailored to your unique brand and current market position. When you ask for an application, when you allow candidates to talk to franchisees, and when you provide your disclosure are all affected by your brand strength, investment, and complexity.

There are 4 general steps for a strong mutual-evaluation process:

  1. Qualifications:

This is the initial call where you and the candidate learn precursory information about each other, and make sure that, at least at a high level, there is some modicum of interest in working together.

  1. Program Review:

During this time you will provide your candidate with more detailed information about the franchise, including what a day-in-the-life looks like, investments, potential returns, industry outlooks, etc. You will also be learning more about your candidate through well-formulated open-ended questions, and possibly an application.

  1. Validation:

This process is where your candidate will validate what you have told them through investigation, speaking with your franchisees, visiting locations, and reviewing your disclosure document. You will validate what you have been told by taking an application (if you haven’t already), checking references, and performing credit and criminal checks.

  1. Closing:

This is the final step. The closing process often includes a discovery day at corporate, an executive interview, and a final closing call.

The end goal of your mutual evaluation process should be to allow both you and your candidate to make an informed decision in a reasonably quick time frame. The entire process often takes from 5-12 weeks. It is important to remember that there is no such thing as the perfect franchisee or the perfect franchise model. The goal is to find out if you are perfect for each other.

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