Are You Listening or Merely Hearing What Franchisees and Prospects Are Telling You?

I recently attended a function where I met several people who had recently invested in a franchise. Hearing them express their happiness with their decision made me question how well I had been listening to franchisees in the past. One person in particular caught my attention as he shared with the group how happy he is to be away from his previous job. He said: “I hated that job. It was a terrible situation. I love what I do now.” In the past such a statement would have been an opportunity for me to rejoice with the franchisee; if he was happy, I was happy. However, I now hear these statements in a different light. I am driven to know more. Five questions come to mind:

  • Does this franchisee think that the business will bring him happiness?
  • What are the conditions that made him so miserable in his previous job?
  • Can the same or similar circumstances manifest in this business? How?
  • What is he running away from?
  • What is he running towards?

I think we tend to be too quick to grasp on to the misery a prospect shares with us as the “pain” that will get us closer to the sale of a franchise. We miss the point that if we don’t really learn more about this “pain” instead of just using it, it can show up again once the prospect signs up; and this time it can lead him or her straight to failure. We also seem to fail to see that if we don’t address these issues, they may interfere with the selling process and appear in the form of the fear that prevents a person to move forward.

Franchise recruiters and others executives involved in the franchise sales process must learn to really listen and ask the critical, even if sometimes difficult, questions right from the beginning. These issues must be further investigated when the franchisee joins the system whether or not they were asked during the sales process.

Success can only be achieved in a state of mind conducive to it. Coaching candidates and franchisees to gain awareness of these states is a must if we want them to succeed.