Following a particular call flow is comforting to the candidate as well as helps you assure you’re building a relationship as well as always closing without them knowing you’re closing.
I always start off my call continuing to build the relationship and go beyond rapport. Rapport is the first couple of calls, relationship comes as you are working with them over time. Depending on the profile of candidate will depend on how much time in this call you do this. But be documenting key things they say as you start your calls. What they’re doing for the weekend, things their family are kids are doing right now, the landscaping or decorating project they have going on at the house. It’s a small thing but shows you’re listening and not doing this casually. It will show you’re interested in them. (Obviously you need to be genuine. If you’re not don’t do this.)
Next I intentionally go to my notes and review what we talked about the last time but most importantly I consciously go over any questions they had about specific things in the business. I always say something like “Now you had a couple of questions about A and B. Do you have any other questions in those areas, should we talk a bit more about them before moving on?” I also then ask something like “Now did you have any different questions about these or other areas we talked about last time?” What you’re trying to do be sure you are answering sufficiently all their questions yet allowing them physically or mentally to ‘check off’ their questions and have a comfort level that they’re getting everything answered.
Additionally I track what I call ‘elephants in the room.’ If you’re not familiar with this phrase or concept it simply means that in many relationships, meetings, or even gatherings people often don’t talk about a particular topic. It’s avoided for all kinds of reasons. And that topic is often referred to as ‘the elephant in the room.’ In the context of franchise development what the elephant in the room is will be the 1 or 2 things that you know early on will kill a deal if not completely addressed.
It’s important to stop on this one for both the new and the veteran sales person. This is the kind of thing the majority of us wish weren’t there, wish we could avoid, and IF it comes up we want to answer it once and never bring it up again. Unfortunately it is the kind of thing that will never go away on its own. It will only (sometimes if ever) go away if thoroughly investigated and discussed. And whether it comes out in the end as the reason they didn’t move forward I guarantee you it is.
Let me give you a few examples. Do your candidates need to have sales experience? Some models need it more than others but if we’re all honest we know that owners always have to sell. So it’s a good example. Be prepared with a good explanation and examples of people who’ve been successful in your business without it and what they did to get up to speed. Maybe it’s emphasizing where in your training that you cover this. But whatever the issue be sure you have a great response for the ones you regularly get and then during the flow of your process always bring it up. Always go back over what you said to explain it. Always be getting their confirmation that they’re ok with it now.
After dealing with all that I position what we’re going to talk about today. I tell them what is on the agenda, object of or topics for our call. Then I say “Now is there anything else or other topics you want to be sure we make time for today that have come up or are on your mind that aren’t on my list for today?” What I’ve found over the years is that a candidate will follow a process but reality is that they are usually fixated on other issues or maybe 1 or 2 areas. You want to follow your process because you know you’ll need to cover all that ground one way or the other. However being in tune with what they’re thinking will keep their attention overall. If you’re not addressing what they want to talk about they’ll only be giving you about half their attention on the things you want to cover.
Next on my ‘call flow sheet’ after covering the topics on the agenda for that call will be to do a quick summary of where you are in the process. Ok, we’ve talked through A and B and C so far. What we have left to do is D, E, F, and G. Is that what you have on your list as well? Anything else we still need to be sure we want to cover before being able to make a decision? It isn’t foolproof because something can come up later on that has to be ‘added.’ However overall this is huge in keeping them on track to a decision date. A date they have selected not you. It is great for you but genuinely helps them manage the information and the decision making process. It keeps you in control. And it almost 100% assures you that you will control the timing of the whole process. If you find them always circling back around to a topic you apparently haven’t answered it thoroughly or it is one of the ‘elephants in the room’ that you didn’t pick up on. But it’s a great way to constantly be aware of what they’re thinking and possible hurdles in finalizing a deal.
Along the same lines of reviewing what’s left to do in the process will be to confirm again the decision date or timing they have to start their business. It’s low key and simple but really works in controlling the process and getting them to a decision. In your early scripting (topics for other blog posts) you will want to establish their decision date timing. You can come right out and ask it that way. But what we do in our process is ask If you found the business of your dreams when would you like to be in business? You can then preliminarily at least determine a training class date they would go to, final timing to complete agreements, and come up with a week or two that the decision will need to be made by. Again really helpful to the candidate to put things into perspective. If the timing is too quick they’ll adjust their ‘opening’ dates. But then during your call flow you want to be validating that timing THEY’VE decided. You want to be watching for subconscious delays they may be inserting or occasionally legitimate changes in timing. But you want to be sure that time doesn’t kill your deal and that you’re controlling it all without appearing to be pushy.
Lastly in this call flow is to establish the next topics and book the next call. I repeat, book the next call. Never never never email it or agree to check schedules later or whatever. It will add to the timing of your whole process and if done often will help add time to kill the deal. I repeat always be ready to and at all costs book the next call before you hang up.
Summarizing – so have an overall sales process to follow as we discussed before. Follow the above sales call flow so that all along the process you’re taking small steps that will allow you to stay on time and get to a decision. Following the call flow so that you are closing all along the process and that the big ‘decision date’ isn’t a big deal (adding to their ‘fear.’) it’s a natural place you’ve both gotten to and the decision is obvious.
NOW take some action – write out the above or similar questions and steps into your process! Come back to this topic in my blog in a couple of weeks and let me know how they’re working or ask some questions for some guidance.
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