You’re interested in a franchise or two. You want to learn more about the opportunity. Who will you be talking to at headquarters?
If you guessed a franchise salesperson, also known as a franchise development representative, you guessed right. And yes – you are going to get “sold” on the franchise business opportunities that you’re interested in. But don’t worry; it won’t be like buying a new car. (I was in automobile franchising in a past life-so that observation is based on facts.)
Who Are They?
Franchise salespeople are just like you and me. Most of them have families to support. They’re trying to earn a living. When I was in franchise brokerage*, I worked with lots of them – and still maintain relationships with several franchise development personnel.
What Do They Want?
They want to sell new franchises; that’s what they get paid to do. And, they’re professionals – in a good way*.
They want to find the best candidates (franchise industry-speak for potential franchise owners) for their franchise opportunity. And in order to do that, they have to weed through a lot of would-be franchise owners.
Today’s franchise salespeople can’t waste time on candidates who are “dreamers.”
For example, when I was a franchise broker, I talked to a fair amount of candidates who had been “looking for the right franchise” for years. Years.
Now, I don’t want you to feel that I’m being too harsh here, but it shouldn’t take “years” to find and purchase a franchise. There are too many excellent choices around…there are lots of tried and true franchise concepts for the taking.
If you’re looking to become the owner of a franchise, commit to finding one that makes sense for you to possibly buy in less than a year. If you’re at a point in your life that you’re mentally and financially ready to do your own thing, you should be able to find, research and possibly purchase a specific franchise within a three-month time period. (If you’re super analytical, let’s say four months.)
My feeling is that you’re either ready to take some risk and become your own boss or you’re not.
Working With Your Salesperson
After you request information for the franchise(s) that you’re interested in finding out more about, you’ll get an email and/or a call from the franchise salesperson.
This will usually be a simple follow-up call or email, and you’ll be asked to schedule a time for a formal phone conversation. Do it. It’s the only way that you’ll be able to start gathering some facts about the opportunity.
The first few minutes of your scheduled call will usually consist of getting to know each other a bit. The conversation will probably be more about the weather or your local sports team than franchises. This conversation will eventually start moving towards the real reason for the call: your interest in their franchise opportunity.
You’ll get to ask questions and the franchise representative will, too.
The first phone call is really important. Go easy. Save some of your tougher questions for the next call. (Unless of course there won’t be a second call. Sometimes you find out enough about the opportunity to know that it’s just not for you.)
And when you get questions asked of you, be honest. If you’re looking for a franchise and looking for a job, share that with them. It’s okay. They understand. If you’re looking at other franchises, you don’t have to tell them which ones – just tell them that you’re looking at some others. No harm in telling them that. They know that you’re probably looking at other opportunities, too.
Continuing Through The Process
If you’re still interested in the franchise(s), you’ll have numerous conversations and email correspondence with the franchise representative. You’ll really get to know them. That’s a good thing!
Share how you are feeling about their opportunity. Ask lots of questions. Here are five*.
Ask them how they are feeling about you. See if you can find out if the rep thinks that you are a good fit for their franchise concept. But, try not to act too anxious. On the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t hold things too close to the vest.
Like any relationship, the one between you and the franchise development representative needs to be one of give and take. Be nice. Act professional. Expect the same from them.
Your journey towards owning a franchise will have lots of twists and turns. Establishing a good relationship with your franchise salesperson can help keep things straight.
*Non-US Government links