Many new entrepreneurs don’t come from sales backgrounds and don’t have sales teams to rely on. The thought of selling is daunting. In fact, one of the most asked questions of me by those considering the franchise business model is, “I don’t have to sell, do I?” Of course we’re talking about capitalism here, so somebody’s got to sell something to somebody to make the world turn, so to speak. And if you think about it, in any job you’ve gained or held, you had to sell your manager that you were the right person for the job. Most of us conduct sales related actions each day to influence or motivate behavior and/or actions; and we don’t even recognize that it is happening.
How do you define selling?
When I ask new clients, “How do you define sales, or selling,” they often say, “It’s cold calling.” They’re referring to getting on the phone, making appointments and asking strangers to buy their product or service. They are terrified of the traditional “cold calling” process. What they don’t understand or acknowledge is that cold calling is only one tool in an arsenal of sales activities. There are many other ways to build sales and the people that aren’t particularly gifted or excited about cold calling should not be discouraged from being an entrepreneur.
It’s problem solving, not pushing products
The more knowledgeable clients will describe sales in a more comprehensive manner. They talk about how a business, like a franchise, is an enterprise that helps people solve their problems or gives them something that will make them happier or takes away an obstacle in their life. They clearly have a better understanding of the total business-marketing concept. They’re concerned more with serving customers than the fear of selling. I suggest that a new entrepreneur see their sales role as business development, client relations, problem solving, client consulting or other terms that acknowledge the benefits they can bring to their customers. This enlightened vision will go a long way towards helping a franchisee be successful.
How can a Franchise Model help?
The right business model draws customers in. It does much of the selling for you. A solid franchise company will provide a tremendous set of tools and assets to help this business development or “sales” effort. They may have a superior brand promise, or reputation, which naturally draws customers to the franchise operators. The right franchise business model will have a strong marketing communications program that builds the brand through:
- Traditional Advertising
- Online Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Direct Marketing
- Event Marketing
- Special Promotions
- Public Relations
Whether your selling low-cost, short-cycle items, like fast food, or long-cycle items, like accounting services, the franchisor’s marketing support will allow you to have a known and respected brand. Cold calling becomes warm calling, and often the brand trust creates a sale without a sales pitch at all. Centralized marketing support is one of the most attractive foundations of the franchise business model and is central to a franchise owner’s success.
Modern marketing techniques create warm sales opportunities
Perhaps the biggest change in marketing has occurred in the last decade or so. The ubiquity of the Internet has put information and power in the hands of everyone with a device, such as a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet computer or a smartphone. People expect to find you online and if you do a good job with your digital marketing (website, email, social media), you’ll be found through what is referred to as inbound marketing. Pre-sold customers will come to you with knowledge and a strong likelihood of buying.
Sales training can further bridge the gap
Franchise operators should expect their franchisor company to provide quality training and ongoing assistance in the operation of the business. Sales training may be part of the package and it can go a long way to bridge the gap between initial training/onboarding and long-term business development. If a franchisor doesn’t offer sales training I often recommend a sales training program appropriate for the particular entrepreneur.
It’s normal to worry about sales and selling skills. Very few people actually enjoy cold calling and fortunately, modern marketing tactics have reduced the need for it. Most importantly, don’t let a fear of selling keep you from reaching your entrepreneurial dream. There are many successful franchise models that are available that will help support and overcome this concern on promoting and selling your products and services.
If you’re highly motivated to be your own boss and want to be in charge of your own future, you may want to start your own business. There are many ways to do that, including starting from scratch, buying a business or obtaining a franchise unit. If you’d like to learn more about business opportunities and how they may fit your vision, just call (913-338-1840) or email me today.