It used to be that franchisors would advertise wisely, talk only with prospects who showed a high level of interest, and then award the franchise to the most able. That still happens today, but the rules of the game have changed.
Franchisors (the sellers) are used to seeking out qualified prospects (the buyers). And while they still do, the World Wide Web has changed the game considerably. Now savvy prospects are seeking out the best-qualified franchisors. You might say they have the upper hand because they’re shopping intentionally.
Here’s how it goes: They shop the Web, find the franchisors that seem to have what they want, and then selectively communicate with those franchisors. Then they narrow their search to three or more franchisors, asking something along the lines of, “Here’s what I need and here’s what I want. What can you do for me?”
The prospects then choose the one franchisor that offers them the best fit. In essence, the buyers decide who they will purchase from.
The Intention Economy
Doc Searles, a savvy technology watcher, says this change in the buyer-seller relationship is a result of something that he calls the Intention Economy. “Buyers of the future,” he says, “will pursue sellers, rather than the other way around.”
But the truth is this: the Intention Economy is no longer a future trend; it is already alive in the franchising world. So what does that mean for franchise sales professionals as they adapt to this economy?
It means that now, more than ever, a successful sales process is more about making a personal connection than ever. And the sales professional who wins is the one that the prospect clicks with and trusts the most. While your franchisees are buying your concept, in the end they are just as surely buying your people.
Measuring Your Click IQ
To get an idea of how your franchise sales team is doing with each prospect, see how many of these statements they can answer yes to:
Building relationships is my number one objective with a prospect, and I spend quality time on it.
I strive to create a specific connection with a prospect in the first 15 minutes of the conversation.
I use that connection to build a strong foundation for my ongoing relationship with that prospect.
I strive to create a long-term relationship based on trust.
I act as a strong partner as we move through the ups and downs of the sales process.
I confront problems with ease.
I use problems to strengthen the relationship.
I know that the relationship we have developed will get us through the issues that are sure to crop up.
I follow up consistently and positively.
I close cleanly and surely.
The more “yes” answers you have, the higher your win potential!
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.