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Tales From the Investigative Process – How Does Your Method Match Up?

In what is commonly known in the industry, the investigative process is defined as the series of activities which bring a turnkey approach to buying a franchise. There are countless examples of how this process is achieved and during this week’s Proven Match blog, we’re going to discuss how to get from point A to completion. How a franchise approaches its own investigative process should constantly be reviewed for efficiency, matching technique and effort against real sales figures.

Regardless of how a franchise approaches its proprietary investigative process, there are several stages common to the facilitation of information going to the prospective franchisee.

The first stage, of course, is the arrival. A prospect may come to a franchise brand on their own, or possibly be directed there by one of many nationwide franchise consultant groups. At this initial stage, the prospect has zeroed in on your franchise concept and agrees to go further in the process.

The second stage generally involves the rundown—a review of all franchise brand data points, the least of which is the all-important FDD, or franchise disclosure document. It’s the Bible for every franchise brand. If a prospect is still in the game past this stage, we move on to the ground game. 

Introduced through calls or visits, the ground game is often the convincer. Once an interested franchisee prospect sees the operation in full swing, it can have a dramatic effect on decision-making. In most cases, there is simply no substitute for seeing the franchise brand in action as a thriving operation. Validation, over the phone or in-person, gives the prospective franchisee unfettered access to existing franchisees and can bond a candidate with a brand. It’s typically at this stage where operational support from the franchise brand is most telling.

The final stage typically includes the paperwork, negotiation and decision. Will it be a sale or not? Setting up a memorable meet the team or discovery day allows the prospective franchisee to mingle with the brand’s executive leadership. Final opinions are formed and key decisions loom.

The last and final act of the investigative process is the dotted line of a contract. If all has gone well in what typically takes two weeks to a month, a brand will sign on a new franchisee. If not, the previously interested party simply “walks”. It happens to the best of brands and many a franchise’s director of sales could tell tales of woe about the big one that got away. But that’s not always the case. 

After reading a most generalized version of the franchise investigative process above, in what key areas might franchisors look to improve their processes? The answer may lie in a survey or review effort. Whether or not your prospective franchisee becomes your next real franchisee, an effort should be made to evaluate your team’s efforts. It takes a desire for self-reflection, but would your prospects (whether they signed on the dotted line or not) be interested in answering the following questions?

  1. What was your favorite part of the investigative process? The least favorite?
  2. If you had one complaint to lodge about the process, what would it be?
  3. At what stage were you impressed with the process?
  4. If you had some advice to provide our investigative process, what would you say?
  5. How would you suggest certain improvements in our investigative process?

That’s it. Five easy questions. They can be answered in an email, an online survey or even over the phone. If you get this kind of feedback, it needs to be looped in to the entire sales team for evaluation. Think of it as a sharpening exercise. Perhaps you’ll find out that one or more of your techniques isn’t having the desired effect on prospects as you’d hoped.

Better to find out and correct it rather than continuing down the same path.

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As a franchisor, you’ll want to know which existing and potential franchisees best fit your business concept. Proven Match is the proven solution in determining those factors. Through our proven behavioral assessment techniques, predictive analysis becomes predictive success for your franchise concept. If you’re ready to show your leadership by getting started, give us a call and we’ll put you on the path to a more productive year in 2017.

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