Time kills deals. If you’ve been around franchise development or sales for, oh, let’s see, at least 5 minutes then you’ve heard this. So why do I write about it again?
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of 13 years of franchise sales like I am, or in the business 13 minutes, this is one of the 3 top killers of deals. So it never goes without saying that you must learn this and, even for you veterans, you must remember and deal with it for each and every candidate you work with.
Its funny how this will sneak up on you when working with a prospect! His/her son had a problem in school so the candidate had to take a couple of days to deal with it. My out of town aunt became ill at 80 and I had to go see her and tend to her affairs. Yikes, I even had a guy tell me his toilet overflowed one day and he had to take a few days to work on the plumbing in his house! They all seem innocent and plausible too.
They don’t tell you that ‘my wife usually deals with these things’ when the son has a problem, or that he hadn’t seen or visited that aunt in years and she’s sick like this every month, or that the toilet just needed plunged and does this once a week! So what’s up with this? What you’re not seeing is the subconscious effort to WANT to be distracted and take them away from maybe getting excited about a new but scary opportunity. Their subconscious efforts to delay having to make a big decision.
Suddenly you realize this has been the fourth or fifth time something has ‘come up.’ Suddenly you realize you now haven’t gotten much done in the last few weeks with them. They haven’t moved forward very far or advanced in their knowledge or through your process toward a decision. So what then?
Hopefully you’ve created a close, fantastic relationship with them by now. Hopefully you’ve ‘positioned’ them that you can be honest and open with them (I’ll write about THAT another day.) And here’s some practical ways to try to get this back on track.
First, have a “Let’s talk to see where we are” call. Here’s where you remind them of their agreement to be ‘open and honest’ throughout this process with them. Then tell them what you’re observing. Tell them you know they’re not doing it on purpose and its ok, they’re not the only ones. But have them genuinely review where they are in the process with you, are they truly serious about this now or not (and that ‘not’ is ok.) Ask them it they’d like to take a break from it and maybe pick up with it in a few weeks. Or simply agree this isn’t the right timing or the right opportunity for them. Again, all ‘ok’ since it stops you wasting time on a prospect that isn’t going to buy. But hopefully you can get them to commit to refocusing, and then set some very specific action items and dates for completion so they can ‘prove’ they’re serious about this opportunity and not wasting your time. Give them simple and clear things to get done and get their commitment on when it’s going to be done.
Another approach in this call is to do the ‘takeaway.’ Again, remind them of your agreement to be able to be ‘open and honest’ with them. And then lay it on them. Maybe they aren’t ready to be a business owner. Maybe they’re not cut out to be one and should seek employment again or with more purpose since that looks best for them. (If REALLY tough guy) Maybe they’re a ‘wannabe’ and will always be on the sidelines and never make it on their own (AGAIN, use this one delicately and with the candidate that you really need to challenge – not for everyone!) Bottom line YOU are going to ‘stop the process’ and ‘close their file’ because you just don’t think they can do it! This will usually wake them up if they are serious. And if they’re the kind of candidate that likes to be challenged, their attitude will be “I’ll show you…” And then you have a candidate back on track and worthy of your time.
WOW! Takes some guts to do this but if they ARE the kind of franchisee you want, and if the DO have what it takes, and if the ARE serious about your opportunity, they’ll do all they can to convince you NOT to stop working with them! And that’s what you want with the right candidates and when you use the ‘takeaway’ method.
So whether you’re a wily veteran of franchise development or a rookie in your first year, time kills deals. So remember and be on guard for and be ready to act when you see time killing your deal. Don’t waste time on candidates that aren’t seriously going to do something in a few months. The faster you get the non-buyers out of your sales process the more time you’ll have (and fun) with those that are serious.