If you missed my last blog post, Franchise Development Deal Killer – Part 1, please click here before reading this concluding post. We discussed a lesser known deal killer; surprise.
So here’s what you do when you send them to validation. And what you’re going to do for each similar situation where you know they’re going to hear something that may set them off or may be contrary to what they would be expecting. You tell them about it up front before they hear it on their own! That’s right. YOU bring it up. You tell them what they’re going to hear. And you give them some up front explanation why. In this case, poor validation or some poor validation, you tell them about the ‘bell curve’ of franchising and how some franchisees won’t do that well. But really, if they hear it up front and hear it from you they’re not surprised. You also look like a hero and really in control of your business. That in essence actually gives them confidence in joining you and your team.
Let me finish this example by sharing the way I send people to validation calls. There can be all kinds of ‘surprises’ in your business, industry, or process. Always tell them in advance what they’re going to experience. Here are the key points I make so that there are no surprises and that I look like I’m the expert and really know and have control of my business when it comes to sending them to validation calls:
- If you want to talk to 5 franchisees you should send emails to 7 or 8 just to be certain you get your 5 calls in. If you do this then for those who can’t make your time slots, or if any emails are lost, you will still get 5 calls done. If you get more in then it is a bonus! A subtle tip here too! You are projecting that ‘5’ is a good number for them to reach out to. Why? Because one time I actually had a candidate call all 20 that were in my territory! Really unnecessary but fortunately he did become a franchisee.
- I talk about the ‘bell curve’ of franchise industry performance. Depending on how old they are you may have to explain this one. But basically it is the fact that, like in grade school when I was a kid, if there was a hard test the teacher may have graded it on a curve. Bell curve grading has 70 – 80% of the students get an average grade, 10 – 20% get an A, and 10% fail instead of normal grading which may have had 70% fail. We see a similar ‘curve’ in the performance in the franchise industry. (Again I use certain percentages intentionally. Only 10% ‘don’t do well or maybe fail’ aka similar to industry published data. But I say 10 – 20% ‘hit the ball out of the park’ since in many cases you do have a larger percentage do really well.) IF your franchise or your territory is actually doing better then this, TELL THEM! Mine typically has so I describe how MY curve is actually shifted to the right so ‘my average’ is actually higher than the company or industry average. DON’T DO THIS IF IT ISN’T TRUE THOUGH!
- I also tell them that they’re going to hear some great validation and testimonials. But that they may encounter a few not doing well. I tell them I hope they find a little of both (and I mean it!) I tell them that they should ask questions of the person to find out why they feel the franchisee is getting the performance they are. I have them ‘report’ back to me on their discoveries. I also ask them to be honest with me – which type of franchisee do they relate most to? I tell them that if they hear themselves saying the same things that coaches in one of the categories is saying then that’s possibly who they’ll be as a franchisee. NOT a foolproof system here but generally speaking people will want to see themselves as successful and want YOU to think they’ll be successful. So while they might ‘sympathize’ with the poor performer not too many will come back and say they’re like the zee who is struggling or failing.
- I ask them when they’re going to start and how long it’ll take them to get this done. Very important as they can ‘drift’ in this part of your sales process. OR they call the number of zees they set out to, and then think they want to talk to more, and then again a couple more. Control this process! “Suggest” that based on the number of franchisees they said they wanted to speak with it’ll take about 2 weeks to get it done. Get their confirmation they’ll DO IT in 2 weeks. And then set up a couple of appointments during that time period so you can talk and review their progress and the results they’re hearing.
So in conclusion, always position them what they’ll be hearing. Especially, yes especially, if it could be negative because that’s the kind of ‘surprise’ that can derail your sale. It might sound counterintuitive, you may think I’m crazy bringing up something that’s negative or doesn’t reflect favorably on your franchise. Reality and bottom line is they’ll find out anyway! If they find out on their own you have a lot of explaining to do. It’ll sound defensive and like you’re ‘selling.’ Neither of which is good. So tell them upfront. It makes it look a lot less of an issue since you’re willing to tell them up front. It solidifies your relationship and makes you less of a salesman if you tell them up front. Trust me on this one and follow my lead. If indeed it does derail your sale then let them go. You wouldn’t have sold them anyway and you get them out of your sales process quicker giving you time to devote to a better candidate.