Last year, there was a discussion in the Franchise Executives group on LinkedIn with the posted question, “Who is using outside franchise sales groups [brokers]?”
Below are some interesting responses from group members that are not franchise consultants or brokers:
An experienced franchise executive stated: “Why wouldn’t you develop your own small sales group? Using a service that sells multiple franchises diminishes your quality control to some degree. I have been a part of 2 franchisors for 25 years and neither has ever used any of these groups and we have had lots of success. What are you trying to achieve by using these”groups”? Lower cost of acquisition, less hassle, expecting more leads, more foot soliders?”
The president of a national franchise concept wrote: “We do not work with an outside group. In talking with our prospects it seems important to them to know that our development staff are part of the company and experts on the concept they are selling. We even have a dedicated sales team for each concept. My advice is to talk with some of your new franchisees to see if it would have made a difference in their decision making process.”
A franchise attorney posted his response: “…if you use an outside broker in the true “sales” role, they can lose credibility if they appear detached and not knowledgeable about what they’re selling (often happens when your brand is only one of many in the broker’s portfolio). That should factor into your due diligence process when you’re looking at outside brokers. But when the relationship stays between the franchisee and the sales person, the prospect’s going to be let down when that sale is done and the sales person is on to the next prospect.
Besides, I always wanted my sales person’s relationship with the prospect to taper off once the sale was done – the franchisee’s relationship should be with someone on the development then someone on the operations team. Two points – first, I always caution my clients to use brokers more as “matchmakers” rather than “salesmen.” What should really “sell” the franchise is not the sales person (internal or external) or the broker, but the confidence that the prospect has in the brand and in the ability of the management team; and, second, if my clients use outside sales people, I always make sure the outside sales team attend the same training I give my client’s internal team and do so at the same time.
That way the outside sales folks get entrenched into the company’s culture, they know what to expect from management, they see how to use management to “sell” the franchise, and they know what management expects of them.”
A Vice President of a national franchise concept went on to write: “For a variety of reasons I’m personally a big believer in building sales teams from within the company. But then again I’ve had the luxury of working for established franchisors and had resources to either develop salespeople from within the company, or rely on referrals to hire from outside and train them to become franchise salespeople.
Both methods take time – generally about 12 months for a franchise salesperson to really “hit their stride”.
Many franchisors don’t want to wait that long, or can’t wait that long, or don’t know how to train franchise salespeople. In those situations it may make sense to bring on outside franchise sales groups.”
So, that’s what franchise professionals were saying a year or so ago… but what about today? Please, let us know your thoughts!