When an enquiry is made to you as a franchisor to learn more about the franchise opportunity available, the natural course of action typically results in the arrangement for a meeting with the enquirer (prospective franchisee). As first impressions go, this first meeting between you and prospective franchisee could make or break a potential franchise arrangement. In other words, what happens during the pitch could lead to whether a prospective franchisee becomes an actual franchisee.
So, during this first meeting, you should be aiming to deliver a pitch to strengthen interest and clear any doubts. But sometimes, the opposite happens and the prospective franchisee leaves the meeting feeling even more confused or loses interest in taking negotiations further. Then you start to wonder how it all went wrong…
1. You Didn’t Have A Pitching Structure
Going into a meeting unprepared gives the feeling of a lack of professionalism — not exactly how prospective franchisees will feel safe spending their money. Instead, you should be focused on a clear delivery of (at least) these messages:
- The philosophy and beliefs of the business and products and/or services.
- Why your franchise concept is special and different from others in the market.
- What it takes to become a franchisee, along with the entitlements and benefits that come along.
If after all that and the prospective franchisee didn’t go ahead to take up your franchise, it has to be because they didn’t think it was a good fit for themselves, and not because they were confused and didn’t remember what you presented, or simply had no idea what you were talking about.
2. You Provided Too Much Information
While you need to structure your meeting to provide the necessary information to prospective franchisees, it doesn’t mean you throw everything and the kitchen sink at them. Providing too much information might compromise clarity and obscure your major pitching points. Rather than that, focus on your key arguments and avoid getting sidetracked, however easy and tempting it might be.
3. You Didn’t Know Who You’re Talking To
With today’s Information Age, looking up someone online is as simple and straightforward as going to your chosen web browser and entering in a name. Besides, the meeting could result in a very profitable outcome for you if the prospective franchisee decides to join your franchise system so there really isn’t any reason to be lazy. Learn about who you’re meeting with — their background, current line of work, and even more if those information are available. You never know what might come in handy when the exchange turns serious and you’ll also know what landmines to avoid too, if any.
4. You Didn’t Prepare To Answer Tough Questions
The truth is prospective franchisees are not just trying to find out about the good, but more importantly, they are also looking for reasons why your franchise would not be a good investment. Before meeting with you, chances are they would have done their own research and might have stumbled upon some previous bad press, controversy or complaint, and you can be sure they will definitely bring it up. Anticipate what tough questions could be asked and figure out how to best provide an acceptable response. Having no answers at all or even trying to avoid it completely would likely result in you looking ignorant or untrustworthy.
5. You Went In With (Overly) Optimistic Expectations
While it is good to be excited about meeting with a potential new franchisee, you need to have realistic expectations when dealing with franchise enquiries because a large portion of enquiries will be from people simply fishing for information. If you’re thinking you have an awesome franchise sales process and will be experiencing a “one shot, one kill” ratio, you’ll be in for a rude shock because the reality is closer is “20 shots, no kill”. Being overly optimistic then meeting with constant rejection could eat away at your confidence and morale, and this frustration would likely lead to a negative attitude towards future enquiries. So be prepared to be turned down very, very, very often while keeping your socks on.