Part 5 of BlastPoint’s IFA Roundtable Roundup Series: Does My Brand Exude a Personal Touch that will Convert Prospects into Sales?

When you set out to recruit new franchisees, remember that competing forces are constantly vying for your prospects’ attentions. The safety and reliability of 9-to-5 employment positions, long-held beliefs (whether positive or negative) about franchising, even spouses and family obligations affect whether a prospect is ready to commit to life as a franchisee.

FranchisePerformanceGroup.com says that, “In today’s strong job market where wages are increasing and advancement opportunities are plentiful (even if it requires people to change companies and relocate), those same first time entrepreneurs view the job market as secure and starting a business looks risky.”

To tug them over the line from a ‘maybe’ to a ‘yes,’ David Brand, President and CDO of Premium Services Brands, says that, during phone calls with prospective customers, “I do 5% of the talking and 95% of the listening.”

Why? He wants to hear them explain, in their own words, what they want to get out of franchising. He’s listening for cues that will signal whether that prospect will connect with the culture and values of his company. And he wants to find out what’s important in the everyday flow of that person’s life, whether it’s caring for young children at home or fulfilling a retirement dream.

In essence, he wants to know what makes that person tick.

That way, he can tweak his messaging to either A) emphasize aspects of his business that might matter most to the prospect—which could include offering independence through franchising or a flexible schedule, for example, or B) determine that that prospect wouldn’t be a good fit after all.

“Don’t be too shy to say no,” Brand says. Which can be hard for an emerging franchisor who’s just ecstatic to make an early sale. But your first three franchises will be critical to your long-term success, so it’s important not to lose sight of the big picture. Establishing the culture of your brand, and staying true to it, is paramount, especially early on.

After you’ve sold one or two franchises, David Brand recommends that candidates hear from existing franchisees directly about what to expect, and to get the real truth about how business is going. He’ll arrange for candidates’ spouses to listen to recorded phone calls between prospects and current franchisees (with permission, of course). He’ll even fly spouses out to meetings, along with prospects, at company headquarters, because he knows that entering into a franchise agreement is a family decision, and he wants everyone involved to be 100% comfortable and confident in it.

Another common tactic that gives prospects skin in the game, so to speak, is offering a financial credit to someone who’s moving closer to signing on. A free night at a hotel, a pair of tickets to a show, or even straight-up cash are enticing perks that make a prospect feel special, no matter how hokey they might seem. But make sure to add a caveat in your offer: “Enjoy this free gift, but we’re taking it back if you decide not to franchise with us.”

Finally, be prepared to guide your prospects by having all the answers to their questions—even before they ask them. Know your numbers. Memorize the stats. One “I don’t have the answer for you right now” could send your prospect straight out the door.

And keep track of these conversations with good recordkeeping so you can plot important benchmarks on your prospect’s discovery journey. This will give you a better picture of how long, generally, it takes a deal to close, what part of the journey makes a person convert, and where you might need to plug in new tactics for better engagement.

Thanks for checking out BlastPoint’s IFA Roundtable Roundup! Let us know what questions you’re grappling with on your franchise journey. We’d love to explore those challenges with you.