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The ABCs of Franchise Sales

A quality process yields predictable results, that much we know. And, it’s no different in franchising. Every component of a franchise sales process is designed to fulfill a specific goal, the same as any sales process. The big difference between the two is that a franchise sale has life-altering consequences.

That process starts at the beginning; a step many consider the most important — identifying the candidate pool. The decision lies in whether to move forward with a candidate or bucket them in the inactive pile. Understanding the prospects is critical; so let’s examine the top tips to better guide them through the franchise sales process.

Striving for the “A”

We all loved coming home with a solid block of “A’s” on the report card. We were proud to share, and excited at the rewards that came as a result. That feeling of earning the highest marks never leaves, especially when qualifying franchise prospects. When talking traits, an “A” prospect is one that’s “all-in” from the moment they engage with the franchise brand. They’re responsive and committed to keep the process rolling all the way up to the day they sign. They often return the required paperwork, suck as the Confidential Information Request Form, within 48 hours!

The unfortunate reality, however, is that these prospects only represent about three to five percent of your generated leads. The best franchise sales folks will spend a majority of their time nurturing “A” prospects, allowing them to ask as many questions as they desire, and understanding their motivations for engaging with the franchise opportunity, eventually leading to the close of the sale.

Always “B” Closing

A “B” shows promise, but far too much time is wasted here, and when it comes to franchise sales, moving a “B” to an “A” is paramount. The 12 to 15 percent of prospects that fall into the “B” bucket are willing to partially engage in the franchise sale’s process, but lack the communication and necessary energy to truly take control and move forward.

A “B” can falter for a number of reasons, whether it’s a financial issue, a less than supportive partner, or the simultaneous evaluation of multiple opportunities. Asking probing questions during the initial interaction can help determine their shortcomings, and can inform the franchise salesperson whether or not the “B” prospect is ready to move into “A” status, or slip down in the sale’s pipeline to the …

“C” Ya Later

On the typical grading scale, a “C” is deemed as “average.” In franchise sales, the “C” is a failing grade. The “C” prospect — unfortunately representing over 80 percent of prospects — is financially unqualified, has little desire to engage in any franchise sales process, and is generally unresponsive to any outreach.

As a rule, aggressively pursuing “C” prospects is not recommended, as there are a myriad of variables to contend with to move the prospect along. But, keep them in an inactive file for potential future interaction, perhaps an email drip campaign. Remember, spending time really “selling” a “C” prospect takes away from closing an “A” and transforming a “B,” but it doesn’t hurt to nurture them on a mass basis from time to time.

Consider, even when franchise sales is done right, success comes at close rate of between one and two percent. However, following best practices and being patient will help you accurately assess prospects as they enter the lead funnel, helping your franchise sales team prioritize the “As,” transform the “Bs” and move the “Cs” to the side. As franchise experts know, it’s a numbers game. The more a salesperson can effectively and persistently qualify and work with top prospects, the higher chance of a great sales result.

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Robert Stidham is president of Franchise Dynamics, a full-service franchise sales outsourcing firm. Based in Chicago, Franchise Dynamics currently represents a number of emerging to large-sized franchisors in a wide variety of categories throughout the United States and worldwide.

Robert Stidham President and Chief Development Officer Franchise Dynamics
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