Sales: The Lifeline for Franchise Growth | International Franchise Association

Sales: The Lifeline for Franchise Growth

 

Tips on how to maximize your franchise development efforts.

 

By Ray Titus

 

During the past 30 years, I have been a part of building and growing the United Franchise Group’s nine franchise brands. We have grown exponentially in that time, and with that growth comes countless additional responsibilities. As the CEO, there are literally hundreds of important tasks that I could dive into each day. However, there is one task that always stays at the top of the priority list: growth!

 

Any franchise company has a responsibility to their system to build brand awareness by adding more franchises. Selling franchises is important to both franchisor and franchisee.

 

Focus on Sales

 

As you train and coach franchisees, you should often warn them about the danger of “shop lock” – the concept that an owner can get so focused on the day-to-day aspects of working in their business that they fail to get out of their “shop” and drive the most important thing: sales! A similar phenomenon occurs within the leadership of franchising companies. They get so focused on the day-to-day tasks of running their organization that they neglect one of the most important: growing their system through franchise sales.

 

To stay focused on franchise sales, here are a few best practices that have worked in our franchise system, that can work for yours as well:

 

  1. Set goals for franchise sales. Not merely overall company goals, but specific targets for every salesperson involved in the sale of franchises in your company. Once you agree to those goals, bring up the goals, often. Drive your sales team to achieve these goals. It’s natural to feel pressure if they are falling short, but it’s important to celebrate when they achieve. Clear goals – and your intentional engagement with those goals – can be a backbone of success.
  2. Lead by example. I know the sales presentations as well as any of our sales team – for each brand, and you should do the same. You can find me at tradeshows that UFG attends – I am actively involved. It’s essential to be very intentional about being a resource for your team as they move a prospect through the process. This means being available to take calls from any member of your sales team to guide them through a specific situation or to speak to a prospect. Set the pace for your organization, and value your entire team.
  3. Prioritize Discovery Day tours. Tours are so important that my calendar is built around them. You should try to meet with every prospect, because you want them to know that you value their time and are available to answer any questions they have. As an organization, if a prospect does not buy into the top executives or build a relationship with a local salesperson, then franchise sales will suffer.
  4. If you want to grow, you have to go! You can’t expect to sit back and watch international growth happen on its own. You are not going to continue to grow by sitting behind a desk. I cannot overstate how important it is to go! Go meet your prospects, attend expos – both domestically and internationally – prove to your potential franchisees that they have leaders who are all-in to make the brand grow.

 

Value Franchisees

 

At United Franchise Group, we have one customer – our franchisee. When they are successful, we are successful. Weave this into your company mission statement – it’s the first thing a prospective franchisee sees when they walk into your lobby, and it’s the most important thing that you hope they’ll remember when they leave. It’s a culture that cannot be created behind a desk – it’s modeled at franchise shows, on Discovery Day tours, through countless phone calls, and through clear goals and accountability.

 

If you are a CEO or franchise executive that wants to grow your brand, then day-in and day-out you must be committed to the process. Building relationships with owners starts in the beginning, before they are ever open, with that first phone call or email. The earlier the brand’s top leadership gets involved, the more credibility is gained down the road.

 

Ray Titus, a life-long entrepreneur, is CEO of United Franchise Group. You can hear him talk about the role of the CEO in franchise development at the Selling Franchises Bootcamp, Jan. 22-23 in West Palm Beach, Fla.