We know that franchise prospects are attracted to entrepreneurship because they like what the business concept represents. A prospect buys into a pet concept because of their affection for animals, or a wellness concept because they’re committed to health.
We like that our prospects are passionate about our concepts. But we want them to be able to sell these concepts, too. And that’s a whole lot tougher.
Most prospects come with a firm belief in the product or service but a limited strength in sales and marketing. That’s just the way it is.
Yet sales and marketing skills are the very skills they need to sell themselves and their services — the skills they need to keep the business alive. If your franchise prospects and franchisees are like most, they are lacking the “selling gene.”
Fortunately, there are two steps guaranteed to give your franchisees the courage they need to begin getting comfortable with selling, immediately.
Step 1: Be sure your franchisees know exactly who they’re selling to, what it is they’re selling, and what problems they solve for their target markets.
Let’s take the elder-care services sector as an example.
It’s obvious that franchisees in this sector are selling affordable, quality health and housing services to senior citizens. In reality, however, they are also selling viable and comforting solutions to the baby-boomer children of these seniors. So, in the bigger sense, franchisees in this sector are really selling emotionally laden promises to boomers and their aging parents.
These are two very diverse target markets. And each has its own set of problems.
They both have the typical problems that we all have: problems with time, money, and relationships. And because this is the 21st century, they are faced with problems of frustration, isolation, and overload, too.
But on top of that, these groups are dealing with the more immediate problem of finding suitable living and/or medical arrangements — and the even bigger problem of dealing with death and dying. It doesn’t get much tougher than this.
Wouldn’t it be smart if your franchisees could articulate exactly what problems they solve and why they do it better than the rest, so that when they are contacted by a prospect, or attend a networking event, they will be able to quickly and effectively say what they do?
To help your franchisees clearly identify and speak to their target markets, try this:
Have them make a list of every single problem they are solving for their target markets, from the obvious to the less obvious.
- Then have them write the answer to these two questions:
1. What does your business do?
2. How does it do that better than the rest?
Step 2: Help your franchisees to redefine the word selling so that it is comfortable for them and for their customers.
As mentioned, many franchisees do not come to the table with sales and marketing skills. Some of your franchisees will be born extroverts, but just as many will be introverts, or somewhere in between.
It is a fact that many franchisees are uncomfortable with the notion of selling their concept to others. It’s scary enough being the new owner of a business without having to approach prospective customers and sell them on the business too — especially when the business is their own, because then rejection feels more personal.
Wouldn’t it be great if franchisees could understand that selling is nothing more than the creation of a new relationship, and that this is something they already know how to do?
Franchisees can be armed with positive solutions to the selling dilemma. Help them locate resources such as books, seminars, and audio programs dedicated to relationship selling, and then watch their confidence grow.
To help your franchisees take on the challenge of creating a sales process that is comfortable for both them and for their customers, try this:
- Have them look up the definition of the word selling in a dictionary. Notice that there is nothing nasty in that definition at all.
Now have them list every quality and characteristic that contributes to a positive sales experience.
Flo Schell, EdM, is former vice president of Franchise Development for Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. and founder of Franchise Coaching Systems. She has also written a book, Stop Selling: Start Clicking,that explains her successful sales process. To learn more about the services offered by Franchise Coaching Systems, visit FloSchell.com.