In this Franchise Chatter Q&A, we talk to Diane Emo, Vice President of Marketing, Coverall North America, Inc., about the art of selling for smaller franchised businesses.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What are the main differences between selling for smaller franchised businesses and larger companies?
Diane Emo (DE): As a smaller franchised business you are part of the local community and are representing yourself on a local level. Selling your services to local customers is more personal than selling for larger companies. You are not anonymous. You are a local business owner building a reputation within your community. Referrals are paramount because word travels quickly within local communities.
FC: What trends have you seen in franchisor support, particularly when it comes to sales?
DE: New franchisees are looking for turnkey operations complete with financing, training, marketing, advertising, equipment/supplies and optional business support services.
One trend in franchisor support is offering an optional sales resource to help franchisees find and secure new customers. Some franchisees are uncomfortable selling on their own or want to outsource the sales function instead of hiring their own salesperson.
Another trend is local support from the franchisor in each market where franchisees do business. Franchisees want a relationship with the franchisor and that is difficult if the franchisor’s support is far away in a headquarters office.
The commonly used franchisor tagline, “on your own, but not alone,” has greater meaning when the franchisor has committed to provide local, accessible support in each market.
FC: What level of support should franchisees expect to receive from his/her franchisor in a smaller franchised business?
DE: Every franchise system is based on a brand, so first and foremost, franchisees should expect the franchisor to work diligently to promote, build and protect the goodwill of the brand for all franchisees.
Also, many owners of smaller franchised businesses have no prior experience in business ownership, so training and support on how to run an independently-owned franchised business are important – not just learning the day-to-day skills and activities needed to deliver the service or produce the product, but education and suggested best practices on business ownership.
FC: How can franchisors help train franchisees who need to market and sell their own services?
DE: Beginning and advanced sales training programs, marketing and sales tools, and pricing/proposal support are tools for helping franchisees market and sell their services. But, helping the franchisee build confidence is key. Selling may be a new skill to the smaller franchised business owner. Role plays and coaching are important ingredients for building a franchisee’s sales confidence.
FC: How does Coverall provide support to its franchised business owners when it comes to selling?
DE: Coverall North America, Inc. includes fundamental sales training in its Initial Training Program and offers a sales training program called “Customer Next Door” to provide more advanced selling skills and tools. (Sometimes a franchisee’s next best commercial cleaning prospect is in the office facility next to their current customer.)
We couple that with training on how to identify sales opportunities by keeping their eyes open, especially with their current customers who may need additional services such as carpet cleaning, windows or floor refinishing.
Last, we encourage them to monitor their customer satisfaction and ask for referrals from their current customers.
FC: How can we learn more about Coverall?
DE: Visit www.coverall.com for information about Coverall franchised business opportunities and the Coverall® System. Our blog is an excellent resource for people considering franchised business ownership in the commercial cleaning industry.