C-Suite Network

The New World of Franchise Sales


Why do people buy franchises? Even though everything has changed since Covid struck, the fundamental motivations for buying a franchise have not changed.

  • First, people who buy franchises want to make money. They need to believe your franchise concept is able to provide them the return they need.
  • Second, they want to do something they would enjoy. They would like to make money by doing something they enjoy doing, with a company they love. (Remember that sometimes and for some people, making money is more important.)
  • Third, they want to lower the risk of owning a business. To convince them that owning your franchise carries a low chance of failure, show them that you have systems and processes that have been perfected.
  • Fourth, they want to partner with other owners who will share their journey. When they become part of your franchise, they will be connected to a community of other owners. They don’t want to be lone wolves.

How Has Selling Franchises Changed During the Pandemic?

Everything has changed. People like to say that in six months, we have jumped ahead six years regarding the way people accept and use technology. And that is true. You need to sell to prospective buyers by offering virtual, not face-to face experiences.

Convincing People to Buy in Virtual Settings

Pre-pandemic, franchise sales meetings were expansive, especially in larger franchise organizations. Potential buyers arrived at a central location, sometimes flying in, and checked into hotels. On the evening when they arrived, they would attend a meet-and-greet where they would make personal connections with other prospective buyers, with current franchisees, and with your company representatives. The next day, people would attend a day-long session. Those days were long, intensive experiences.

Now, all that has changed. It just doesn’t work to have potential buyers spend an entire day in an online meeting, and you shouldn’t expect them to. But you can still ingage potential owners around their four fundamental motivations for buying by segmenting the sales experience into shorter virtual meetings.

What is a good way to schedule and organize these shorter sessions?

  • First, replace the meet-and-greet pre-event meeting or dinner with shorter, virtual social time. People still need to connect with each other. Yet simply setting up a mass virtual meeting could be overwhelming. I would recommend having virtual social meetings that include only four or five prospects, moderated and facilitated by a few people from management. Prospects can introduce themselves and say a little about their background. But mostly, they simply socialize. Make them feel comfortable. This really helps them feel that even though they own their own franchise, they are part of something bigger.
  • Second, organize your discovery day into micro virtual meetings where they learn about each part of your company. In these sessions, allow small groups of prospects to meet the key people in your organization. There is no need to schedule these sessions nonstop, one after another. Thanks to the power of virtual meetings, you can spread them out to allow more leisurely, effective learning. The first meeting can give an overview of your history, your products, and your organization, and can feature presentations or videos that feature testimonials given by successful franchisees. Follow-up meetings can explain your training, your marketing support, onboarding, franchise consultants, etc. This part of the process should help the franchisees determine whether they would enjoy running the business and if they can get a sufficient return.
  • Third, allow prospects to take some of your training, so they can see how great it is. This allows them to see first-hand that your company’s training will be there to help them both master your systems and to train the employees they hire to run their locations. This powerfully demonstrates that your franchise is there to assure the success of every owner. It greatly helps with their need to feel that there is greater safety in operating a franchise than being on their own. Additionally, topics you would cover in meetings can be covered not there, but separately via training.

And One More Consideration . . .

If a prospective buyer tells you that he or she would prefer to learn about your opportunity on a phone call instead of in virtual meetings, that’s a negative indicator. It tells you that person is not “there yet” from a technological point of view. As you add new franchise owners in today’s world of doing business virtually, you want owners who are fluent with technology – completely up to speed.

About Evan Hackel

Evan Hackel is a 35-year franchising veteran as both a franchisor and franchisee. He is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company, and principal of Ingage Consulting. He hosts Training Unleashed, a podcast covering training for business, and author of Ingaging Leadership Meets the Younger Generation. Evan is a registered C-Suite Network Advisor. To hire Evan as a speaker, visit evanspeaksfranchising.com. Follow @ehackel or call 781-820-7609.


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