The rise and fall of the Roman Empire has a lot in common with selling franchises.

The Romans built an enormous empire that at its height spanned from Spain to the Middle East. They built great cities and famous aqueducts.

They were able to do this well because they developed an exceptional formula for concrete.

The Romans were not the first to use concrete.  But they improved upon it by using volcanic ash which allowed it to set underwater and the addition of horse hair made it less prone to cracking after the concrete dried.

Unfortunately, with the fall of Rome by 500 AD their technique for concrete was all but lost. The Visigoths were not much interested in building roads.

(The use of concrete not revived until the 14th Century through 18th Century. Modern concrete with Portland Cement and reinforced concrete were developed in the 19th Century.)

We are in danger of losing the formula to sell franchises.  Because technological visigoths who are yelling about "social selling" don't know how to screen and qualify.

In franchising up until the mid to late 1990s inquiries for franchises came in primarily on the telephone. And franchisors trained people to screen and qualify the callers interested in a franchise. Many had fine-tuned scripts to use for incoming telephone inquiries.

On the first call you determined if the inquiring party's area was available for development, whether they had the requisite liquidity and net worth and answered basic questions.

Only if they qualified they became a lead. 

You then sent them a franchise information packet by mail, Priority, NextDay or FedEx. And they were in the top of your franchise sales funnel. 

You followed up in two days to ensure the lead got your package and you could advance the prospect through to the next step. Franchise sellers had an easier time then because they had a good telephone number and that's all you needed to reliably be able to contact franchise candidates.

In the 21st Century a telephone franchise inquiry is a very rare occurrence. Franchise qualification specialists and franchise sellers go to their email inbox or CRM to see who has "expressed an interest" in their franchise. 

The advent of internet and web-based lead generation in franchising means that franchisors have development teams who have never had to screen and qualify candidates effectively at the outset. 

Franchise sellers have to trust the Request Information Form to do the qualifying for them & trust they get the inquiring person's telephone number and email address. 

In the pre-web lead world franchisors had the opportunity to have a great formula for incoming telephone franchise inquiries.

Yet with all the fantastic technologies that the internet and digital age affords us franchisors have lost this formula. 

People who inquire today don't have to qualify and they don't have to use a real telephone number to get the franchisor's information.

All you have to do to get a current comparison of web franchise inquiries to an inquiry similar to the ones we used to on the phone is to look at how franchisors get leads at trade shows. 

At trade shows we talk one on one with people, get to ask qualifying questions, get their telephone number & email and tell the franchise lead what to expect next in the franchising process. 

So what's a franchise seller to do about their formula and make it better?

  1. Re-think the top of your franchise sales funnel
  2. Stop overwhelming inquiries with too much information 
  3. Get inquiries to do something that expresses their real intent
  4. Give your qualified leads reasons to call you

Technology has changed the way we communicate with one another. 

What hasn't changed are the mental operations that franchise buyers must go through before they buy your franchise and you can't sell unless you get the prospect on the phone. 

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