The quality of franchise sales has decreased over the last twenty years. And I know some of the reasons why & what can be done to reverse the trend.
First, we have to remember that there is no specialized franchise sales training or coaching available to many franchisors. Everyone agrees that coaching the sales staff is of paramount importance.
In contrast to Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Xerox, there is no sales as process, no question based selling or no consultative selling training offered to franchisors. Despite having to sell a complex product with very large price tags, franchise sales is often treated like a consumer sale. "Here is our franchise agreement, one price fits all. Buy my stuff." Doesn't work well.
Second, there has also been an unfavorable growth in technologies - first CRMs and now web portals. The aim is to displace the salesman. CRMs and web portals are sold with the promise of making the machine or website eliminate the need for the consultative based sales force.
But, the end product is not a commodity and we cannot reduce the sales process to a mere transaction.
Finally, many sales departments have forgotten their ability to sell.
Let me tell you about a little test I did, some years ago.
I gathered our top 50 franchisees in terms of gross revenue. I also found their initial applications. I then redacted their names from the applications, but nothing else. (Back then, we weren't collecting a lot of personal information.) I distributed the applications of what would be our top 50 performers to our sales staff.
How many of those top 50 performers would our sales staff identify and process acting only on the very incomplete application?
We would have missed all 50 - because we were now more focussed on the demands of the CRM rather than selling. We now demand too much information before we begin the sales process - and most of the information is not needed. What is needed isn't asked for.
We have forgotten how to sell. We aren't mentoring our younger sales forces, the way I was mentored.
So, take a look at your online application. Ask whether you really need the candidate to fill out all the information just in order to start your sales process.