Selling franchises successfully means overcoming a host of hurdles.
I was recently talking with No Limit Agency’s Chief Development Strategist Sean Fitzgerald about the level of “give a shit” that comes from franchise development people. He said that being a franchise developer is one of the toughest sales roles out there because you are trying to intercept future business owners or convince an existing one to expand their portfolio. It isn’t easy. You not only have to convince someone you have the best brand out of thousands of other franchise options, you must also ensure that your lead has the right capital, personality and amount of grit to succeed.
I agree with Sean. Development people do have it tough, and they really do give a shit.
The challenge is that those who are perceived to not give a shit actually do, they just don’t have any idea how to intercept a business person. This is why they still spend money on online portals, because they can at least tell their boss the dollars spent generated leads even when they don’t close the deal. This then creates a pathway for something else to be the blame.
Franchise development has a lot of fundamental issues:
CEOs require more and more deals. Every time they reach a milestone, they immediately want the next one. This isn’t wrong - this is life. But that means the pressure will always be on in a franchise sales job unless you are able to diversify your sales force (through brokers, for instance) or your brand becomes a self-grower (where leads naturally come in because the brand’s buzz is high).
Your website is holding you back and in many cases could be turning off leads. It may tell the prospect you have the best building and the best product, but zzzzzz (sorry, fell asleep thinking about that point of differentiation). In order to win at franchise development, you have to explain your positioning loud and clear. Help the ghost prospect understand why you are a standout brand and that there are tremendous advantages to them investing in you.
Budgets are way too small and poorly calculated. How much is your current cost per lead? And then, how much is your current cost per deal? Let’s say it falls in the $8,000 - $12,000 range. Great. Now, you have to do 20 deals this year. Do you have $240,000 to spend on outbound marketing? If not, how are you going to win? Math will help identify a structure to determine what your budget really needs to be.
The franchise fee is pointless. I get that it was put in place to cover the costs of getting a franchisee open and supported. I also get that because of cash flow challenges, it is hard to sometimes forgive the fee. However, what would you rather be in two years, a 40-unit brand that collected franchise fees or an 80-unit brand that is making money off of royalties and nearing the natural growth projectile? I know I am not in the majority when it comes to waiving things, especially when commissions are paid off the franchise fee, but for those brands stuck in a rut, think about eliminating one more hurdle in the very difficult process of turning a lead into a sale.
And lastly, but most importantly, even if our budget is sound, you may not know where to spend it. No one knows. I’ll let you in on a little secret: The silver bullet is a lot of little. Increase the impressions, be calculated about where you spend the money and constantly increase investments in what works. This is all fundamental stuff, sure, but it’s the path you need to take to win the franchise sales rat race.
At the end of the day, I truly believe everyone in franchise development really gives a shit. There is simply a ton of pressure and not enough ideas on how to relieve it. Think within the box and I bet you can find a lot of small wins.