You were a successful salesperson — until recently, that is. One day, your boss called you into the office, sat you down and, just like that, you became a laid-off former salesperson. Now what do you do?
If you’re like many people, you’ll polish your resume, start networking with your business contacts, and hope you get job leads, turn them into interviews, and ultimately get a great job offer. But in today’s economy, there’s another option that could be far more profitable: buying your own franchise business.
Sure, sales skills are always in demand — and that gives you a better-than-average chance of getting hired, even in tough times. But instead of looking for a job, why not look for a franchise opportunity that lets you put those valuable sales skills to work for yourself, in your own business?
There are many franchise businesses specifically tailored to the experience and skills former salespeople possess. Take a look at Business-to-Business section in AllBusiness.com’s Franchise Center. Within the Advertising section alone, you’ll find companies that specialize in promotional products, online advertising, direct mail, outdoor advertising, and more. Such opportunities can be a great fit with someone who has knowledge of sales, advertising, and marketing principles.
But even beyond advertising-related opportunities, there are many types of franchises in which sales abilities are a major plus. To match your sales experience with the right type of franchise opportunity, first consider whether you have mostly sold business-to-business (B-to-B) or to the consumer.
If B-to-B is your specialty, in the Business-to-Business section of the Franchise Center, you’ll find options such as business consulting, janitorial services, management training, and more. If your experience has focused on selling to the consumer, this can be applicable to many General Service, Home Service, and Children’s Franchise opportunities, just to name a few. For example, if you buy a child care franchise, you’ll need to be able to market your services to local parents.
Finally, there are many franchises in which both B-to-B and consumer sales experience come into play. For instance, if you start a lawn care or landscaping franchise, you might want to market to residential customers, to commercial customers or to both. You’ll need to use different sales tactics depending on which type of clientele you’re pursuing.
No matter what type of franchise you’re interested in buying, your sales experience will give you an edge in the eyes of the franchisor. When franchisors are asked what characteristics potential franchisees need to succeed, one of the qualities that they cite most often is “sales skills” or “sales experience.” Why? Several reasons:
- Compared to operations and other nuts-and-bolts elements of running a franchise, sales skills are far more difficult to teach. It’s easier for a franchisor to sell a painting franchise to an experienced salesperson and train him to run it than it is to sell the same franchise to an experienced painter and teach him how to sell. And because many people are intimidated by the idea of selling, those with proven sales ability are in high demand as franchisees.
- People who are good at selling also tend to be positive, energetic and enthusiastic. That means they’re generally good at motivating and energizing their employees.
- Good salespeople are goal-oriented and persistent. Starting any business, even a franchise, takes lots of hard work. Successful salespeople are up to the challenge — they’re used to working hard to surpass their quotas and know that they must put in effort to see results.
No wonder franchisors are sold on salespeople-turned-franchisees. Are you sold on the idea of buying a franchise yet?
Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer at GrowBiz Media (www.growbizmedia.com), a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.