Hiring the right franchise sales team is vital to a brand’s growth.
by Nick Powills
Franchise sales is tough.
You are trying to convince someone to arguably make the biggest decision of their lives. They are not buying a widget – not even a home. They are investing their life’s savings into a business they believe will change their lives.
However, while franchise sales is said to be one of the most important puzzle pieces of a franchise, rarely do brands truly invest in the success of this department.
I have a friend. Three quarters through the year, he had done $2 million in deposits for the franchise brand that he worked for. He came to me and said the following, “I need more leads. I need more deals.”
Shocked (kidding, of course), I responded with this, “I have a question for you. If I offered to write you a check for $2 million right now, how much would you give me for that check to feel like you got the best deal possible?”
“I don’t know, maybe $1.9 million.”
“OK, so, in order for you to feel like you got a good deal, you would pay me $100,000 less than that check I was giving you,” I said.
I then asked, “Well, you invested less than $200,000 from your franchise sales budget and got $2 million back. Are you sure you need to be panicking about more deals and leads?”
“Yes, our CEO wants more.”
“Well, what was your sales goal?”
“So, with a quarter to go, you are already pacing past that, your budget to get that done was about 10 percent of your goal and those franchisees are good wins because they came as non-broker deals,” I said.
So, here are the problems (in many cases, of course):
- CEOs or leadership teams are not assessing the value of a franchise deal. A franchise’s deal value is not in what it brings in from a fee standpoint; the value is in the royalty.
- Franchise sales pros are typically underinvested in. You are not selling cars. You are selling a life change. The sales team needs to be impactful. They need to be great communicators and relationship builders – and be able to sell the values and positioning of your brand ahead of others.
- 10 percent budget is not going to stand out in many situations. But, sales is not as simple as setting a budget, deploying the budget and getting leads. Other things are sales:Validation
- Web footprint
- Size of brand
- Territory availability
- UNIT LEVEL ECONOMICS
- Strength of operations and support
- Franchise sales will never (or very rarely) be an A+B = C equation – meaning, you can ask the candidate—until you are blue in the face—where they heard about you, but they won’t have the exact answer. Everything we buy in life takes a special number of impressions before we act. Franchise sales – a life-changing decision – definitely takes a lot of consideration.
- Web footprints are weak. Websites are rarely updated and the investment in the digital footprint is mediocre at best. In today’s world, the buyer is spending more time researching the brand.
- Unit level economics are king. Without them, all the lipstick in the world can’t change your pig. Your pig is created when franchisees don’t make money and no longer validate that the life changing decision they bought was worth it.
Now, back to the salesperson.
The sales guy is so important to the sales process. If there is a lack of enthusiasm, they fail. If they can’t make the candidate feel comfortable that this giant life decision is the right one, they fail. If you only incentivize them based on the signing (versus an extra bonus based on the success of the franchisee), they can fail – because they have to feed their families, too.
This hire is vital to your growth. And, there aren’t a ton of great ones to pick from.
This is why continuously investing in this department’s success is critical – sales training, educational training and exposure to winners.
In my own business, I may have overlooked the value of this person. For years, I was the only one selling our services. And I was good. Simply putting a body in place to take that over is not the winning solution. A go-getter who is positive, comforting and has a point of view is critical. And, when growing the department, others have to take on that same persona – willing to go anywhere, pick-up the phone any time and sell based on realistic expectations is a must.
I believe the sales position is undervalued, therefore, underinvested in. I feel that the sales marketing strategy has the same level of support.
If you really want to win at growth, then try taking a holistic approach to your sales team and sales strategy. It may set you up for a higher satisfaction of the job done.