Stress levels in franchising are at an all-time high, and franchise development teams are feeling the burden now more than ever. With unit sales slumping as a result of decreased consumer spending, franchisors are putting extra heat on their development teams to sign deals, at the very least to boost cash flow that comes from initial franchise fees.
Along with this heavier-than-usual pressure to turn leads into deals, also comes a dangerously-high risk of over-ambition, and falling into the "sell, sell, sell" trap. Franchise sales teams, feeling the heat from their franchisors to keep the deals flowing in the struggling economy, can easily get lost in the one-track world of closing deals. Unfortunately, too many franchise sales executives strive to earn what they see as the prestigious label: The Closer.
But here's a reality check: Franchise deals involve human beings, real people who are making significant, life-changing decisions. Closing a franchise deal is not like making a final sale for a product or service. Once they sign along the dotted line, you've got them for many years to come, often 20 years or more. It's not the end. It's the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.
As with any important relationship, there should be a real, concerted effort to get to know this person, really get to know him. Many franchise-development teams, brokers and consultants say they are doing so, but is it mechanical, or is it sincere? Are they digging as deep as they can? There is saying you are doing it, and then there's really doing it.
Getting to know your prospects on a deeper level has two benefits. First, the more you pour yourself into getting to know somebody, the more you appear attractive to them--increasing the likelihood of a sale. Secondly, the more you know about a candidate in the early stages, the more you set a foundation for mutual success for both franchisor and franchisee down the line.
This means truly putting yourself in their shoes and gaining deep insight into their perspective. It means knowing them enough to feel their passions, and their pain. In doing so, only then can franchise development teams fairly ask the questions: Can our vision be a solution for them? How can our franchise opportunity be a solution for them and their families? Getting to know a prospect also means learning as much as possible about their families as well. Before they join your family, you must understand theirs.