I love the process of connecting a fantastic franchise candidate with a great brand. But nothing is more frustrating than when a promising prospect falls through the cracks because of problems with the franchise sales process. At the end of the day it’s not enough to produce leads. Marketing and Sales need to work together for a campaign to be a success.
It’s important to keep in mind that a franchise sale is a big ticket item with a relatively long sales cycle. We are, after all, dealing with large investments and life altering purchase decisions so the sales process is quite unique and requires perseverence.
Knowing how challenging this can be, I was overjoyed to learn of my colleague Darryl Sangster’s course Franchise Expansion Academy because it is full of excellent information and resources for handling franchise sales AND it’s quite affordable – with various optional add-ons for extra support. This is something I truly believe many franchisors could benefit from so I knew I had to interview Darryl to share some of the great content he has put together.
Hope you enjoy our interview!
Darryl Sangster – Former Franchisor and President of Sangster Franchise Group
Darryl works 1-on-1 with Franchisors providing assistance and education on franchising and franchise system optimization to help strengthen and expand franchise systems.
He is highly regarded as an experienced former franchisor, entrepreneur and mentor within the franchise industry in addition to being an Influencer, Author, Speaker, Coach, Consultant, Tri-Athlete, Pilot and Father to 3 Daughters.
Darryl has recently built a new course called Franchise Expansion Academy that helps Franchisors systematically create franchise investment sales funnels. Click here for more information.
Juliette Schmerler (00:01):
Okay. Hi everyone. I am very excited today to have Daryl Sangster with us.
Really great to have you with us today. As a team that has developed a lot of marketing for franchise expansion we just know how important the sales piece is in terms of working with marketing. Marketing and sales really work together as a team. So we need a good sales system to make our marketing and lead generation work and vice versa. I just think this is such an important topic and, you know, after seeing your course, I really felt strongly that this is something that is, is really important for franchisors to learn more about.
Darryl Sangster (01:26):
Well, yeah, absolutely. And thank you very much for having me on your show here.
Juliette Schmerler (01:30):
Yeah, my pleasure. Okay, so let’s jump into the questions and a lot of this information that we’re going be talking about is covered in your course. I’m just going be touching on some different areas that you talk about in the course and kind of have you expand on those a little bit. So the first question I have for you is about the mindset of your prospect. And I think this is such an important thing, and I know when we do marketing, you know, when we’re putting ads together for, say, franchise sales, it’s so important to understand like, what is the prospect that’s interested in your franchise thinking about when they’re thinking of buying a franchise? And I think that sometimes franchisors miss that piece because they’re focused on all the technical aspects of what their franchise offers. But, you know, a lot of times there are core reasons that a person is actually looking at a franchise. Tell me a little bit more about the mindset of your prospect and overcoming obstacles.
Darryl Sangster (02:31):
Yeah, you know I agree a hundred percent that the mindset portion is very important. It’s often neglected as a piece of the puzzle. I’ve often related it to the dating world. So I’m an ex-husband, so I’m familiar with that. In that concept of dating, if you relate a franchisor to the dating scene, if you went out on a first date and it was all about me, me, me, me, and how great I am and how perfect I am to be dating, you’re never going to get that second date. And in the franchise world, it’s exactly the same. And a lot of franchisors make that mistake of just talking about all the reasons why their franchise is so great, which of course, you know, they are good reasons, but it’s not the time and the place. The mental side and understanding where the lead is at and how emotions tie into the decision making process and making sure that the lead understands that it is about them and it is about achieving what they want, which is their first objective is not to buy your franchise.
Their first objective is to solve a problem in their life, which might be job security or wealth creation or generational wealth, or, you know, a steady income. There’s a tremendous amount. It could be balance or freedom of time. There’s a lot of reasons why. And that’s where the mental side between the subconscious and the conscious mind, which I go over in the course, you know, pertains to explaining that so that as a franchisor you can understand where the lead is potentially coming from.
Juliette Schmerler (04:24):
Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, it’s all about listening, right? And you know, when somebody first is looking into a franchise, yeah, they’re trying to gather information, but I think it’s important from the sales point of view to kind of understand their motivations, right? And to touch on that at first and see if there’s a fit. And then, you know, you can get into more about the actual franchise itself.
Darryl Sangster (04:49):
Yeah, absolutely. You know the prospect needs that time to process and that time to understand what it is. So nobody wants to get sold to, no different than you or I. And especially in the case of franchise sales, we’re not selling $30 items. These are hundred of thousands of dollars worth of products that, you know, require time and, you know, compassion in that sales process.
Juliette Schmerler (05:26):
Yeah, absolutely. So that kind of leads me to my next question. One of the things is very that’s very important is for a franchise or a salesperson to understand the process a prospect goes through when they’re considering a franchise opportunity. Because there are stages, right? It’s not just a one and done thing, as you were saying. What are the stages that a prospect goes through when they’re considering a franchise opportunity?
Darryl Sangster (05:55):
Well, what I look at and what I’ve developed, and I guess what I see is, the two main pieces of the puzzle that the prospect requires is time and education. And the education component comes in many forms. So, things from your brand, what it stands for, the opportunity that’s on the table through to the education component of the finances. How does your business and your franchise actually make money, because at the end of the day, they’re investing in a return for their investment. So, you know, these are aspects of the education. And of course, time is the second piece of the puzzle, which I’m a huge advocate for because I hear from a lot of franchisors, “well, you know, I was talking to a guy and he was responsive and, you know, we were having weekly meetings and then he just ghosted me and went silent,” and stuff like that.
But what the franchisor or the client is not understanding is that everyone has a personal life. So you don’t know what’s happening. You don’t know if their son or their daughter broke an arm and has stepped away. I get it that the franchisor wants to sell a franchise. But you have to remember that the investor is interested in talking to you about becoming a franchisee, but it’s not the only aspect in their world. So that’s where the time component, being able to read that lead and understand that this lead might not make a decision in 90 days. It might take them six months, and that’s okay. Don’t get offended when they ghost you because you know their mother was in the hospital or had a fall. Right. That kinda stuff.
Juliette Schmerler (07:52):
Yeah, absolutely. What do you think is a normal average amount of time to expect a sale to go through? I mean, you know, that’s something that we also kind of struggle with when we’re working with clients who want to see results quickly. And it’s like you were saying, you know, these are huge decisions. These can take a long time for someone to go from initial interest to actually going through with the purchase. So what do you think is an average amount of time someone should expect to wait?
Darryl Sangster (08:31):
Within two to three weeks you should be able to financially qualify and know whether or not this person can in fact execute on this. From that point forward, it becomes a transfer of time onto their shoulders because now it becomes the education component. I would say that within 90 to 120 days, three to four months is a typical span that you can cover off, you know, everything from your opportunities to your FDD meetings. When you get into the FDD and the legal side and the contracts, that can easily chew up a month worth of time. And a lot of conversations and a lot of video conferences explaining different clauses. So, you know, that portion can easily chew up a month.
And then there’s the discovery and the execution. I would say that a typical or an average would be 90 to 120 days from start to signing. But I see a lot of franchisors make the mistake of pressuring that potential when they don’t know what’s going on in the background. And if somebody needs to step away, it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. They’re still interested. And, you know, hopefully and likely you have a hundred other leads to follow up with and maybe 10 real hot ones to talk to anyways. So it’s not like you’re desperate and just banking on this single lead.
Juliette Schmerler (10:16):
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, you need to kind of give people time. I mean, I think it’s important to be persistent to some extent. Like keep following up with people, but not necessarily give up on a lead when somebody is just taking some time to kind of deal with whatever they need to deal with to make a decision.
Darryl Sangster (10:32):
Juliette Schmerler (10:35):
Great. So in terms of the process of awarding a franchise, what are some steps that a franchisor should develop to go through that process with a prospect?
Darryl Sangster (10:49):
I guess what I’ve done is, over all the years in franchising, is I’ve put together a five stage awarding process. And that’s everything that is designed and lacking in the franchisor world that I see more often than not. Because a typical franchisor creates their business has a number of franchisees, has 10, 20, 30, 40 franchisees, and they have all these systems developed, but they, they don’t have an internal system for themselves. They have the perfect way to serve the perfect amount of food and, you know, great systems for service type industries or, or supplement type industries or anything like that, sales systems. But they don’t actually have internal systems so that their investors can go through a journey that is expected. And so my five stage franchise awarding system is, inquiry is stage one, qualification is stage two, FDD interviewing is stage three, discovery is stage four, and awarding is stage five.
And each of those stages has very different objectives and strategies because the underlying piece of the puzzle that we have to maintain as franchise developers is, we have to maintain the excitement and the interest of the lead all the way through. Because, you know, at the very beginning inquiry, they’re very excited. They’ve likely reached out to you. They’re all excited about buying into your franchise. But there’s a trick to maintaining that interest and that excitement all the way through, even in boring stages of stage three when you’re talking FDDs and legal documents. So, you know, understanding that it is a complete sales cycle and it is a complete journey that all these aspects have to be put together in order to successfully expand.
Juliette Schmerler (13:02):
Yeah, absolutely. And I know, like for example, with Discovery days, that’s fairly far along in the process, but a lot of times that piece really builds up the excitement for a prospect where they get to experience something firsthand, meet people. Their franchisees see the business in action, and meet the franchisor. So I feel like that even though that happens kind of later on, that’s a great stage for really solidifying their excitement about the opportunity.
Darryl Sangster (13:33):
Yeah, absolutely. And in my opinion, I’ve seen franchisors make the mistake that they try to use Discovery Day as a teaching or a training type day. It’s got one objective, and that’s to wow the franchisee. They haven’t signed, they might sign tonight in their hotel room and they might sign tonight at supper or they might take the document home and sign next week. But the point is that that the Discovery Day is all about making them feel that they can picture themselves in your franchise, part of your team and excitement around all of that.
Juliette Schmerler (14:16):
Right, yeah. I mean, there’s time for training once something has been decided. And so at that point, they haven’t signed the dotted line yet, so it’s just about sharing that experience with them.
Darryl Sangster (14:27):
Juliette Schmerler (14:29):
Yeah, that makes sense. So as far as lead generation, when we work with clients, we talk a lot about creating an ideal franchisee persona. So an ideal franchisee persona is putting together a profile of who your ideal franchisee could be. So it could, it could be anything from their professional background to their skills to their experience, financial situation, et cetera. And, you know, we try to kind of come up with these personas of people to really help understand who we want to target. So how important is it to define who you are targeting for your franchise sales?
Darryl Sangster (15:14):
Critical. It is absolutely critical. My course has eight modules. I have one module just on this topic where it’s all about creating the avatar. At the end of the day, you have to know intimately who you’re speaking to before you open your mouth and start speaking. And that starts all the way from the lead generation. If you can’t emotionally touch your lead with your words, you’re never going to get the leads to even click or to call or to text or download whatever you’re trying to get them to do right from the start. So yeah, I’m a huge advocate for taking the time to really define who is your ideal franchise investor. And not to say that every franchise investor will fall into that category, but the majority of them will. So then when you’re speaking to them and they’re reading your social posts or watching a video, they can relate because they can see themselves and they can hear themselves in your description. So I think it’s critical and yeah, so many people don’t invest that time.
Juliette Schmerler (16:37):
Yeah, I totally agree. And I like, even when we’re doing ad creation and lead generation, I really like to create maybe like, say there’s two or three personas that a franchisor might be interested in pursuing. I like to create different ads that speak specifically to the pain points of that prospect. So if, for example, say a franchise in the educational system really wants to go after teachers. Well, what is it that the teachers are looking for? Maybe they would like better pay. Maybe they’re ready to kind of semi-retire and this is a great side thing for them or what have you. So the ad could speak to their specific desires that the franchisor knows from experiences, what attracts them to their opportunity. Whereas somebody who’s got more of a general business background might be interested in the understanding numbers and owning their own business, which they’ve always wanted to do, but wants some assistance. So I think it’s so important, if you understand the persona right from the start, then you can kind of speak to that, those personas and like you said, connect with them on their level in terms of where they’re at.
Darryl Sangster (17:45):
Yeah. And, you know, there’s that saying in sales, solve the solution. Solve that problem. The personas allow you to understand your potential investor so that you can speak to them, you can push the buttons that require them to go, “yeah, you know what, I don’t feel really secure in my job right now. This investment, we can afford it. I can be the main employee. It’s not going to turn me into a multimillionaire, but that’s not my objective. My objective is to spend the next 10 years and never get fired and sleep at night knowing that.” And if that’s my objective and those personas draw that out so that you can see, “okay, you know what, that type of person is my ideal franchisee.”
Juliette Schmerler (18:44):
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s so important. So let’s talk about capturing and tracking leads. What systems do you recommend for that part of the lead generation process?
Darryl Sangster (18:59):
Yeah, so again, this is an important one. I have a lesson just on this. So my approach is a three part system. So I’m a fan of the visual, the digital as well as the paper. So, a visual system is a whiteboard, some quick references around you so that you can see what’s happening in your lead world around you, what is relevant right now in today. And I guess the reason I recommend all these, especially the, the whiteboard or the visual portion, is because when a franchise lead picks up the phone and calls you, it’s more often than not, sporadic and unplanned and in their world and their eyes, they are the only lead in your system. And you are challenged with the recall mechanism of ensuring that you’re not sitting there going, who are you, John?
Are you John in Calgary? Are you John in Vancouver? Like, you have to come across as being able to know exactly who you’re talking to right away. And, and a lot of times it wasn’t a planned phone call. The digital system that I recommend is something simple like Pipedrive. I’ve used it a lot. It’s inexpensive. It allows you to build some good funnel systems so that you can track. And more importantly, I use Pipedrive or the digital system to act as a journal so that I know exactly what’s going on and what my next step is in this process. Like is the ball in my court, or is it in their court? And where am I at along my journey with them? So that it’s very easy to recall that information.
And then of course, the paper filing system is the third piece of the puzzle for all of your legal side as well as the information that you might obtain about their wife’s name or their children or different things like that, that is personal to them. I use that to document in their file so that when we do have those future conversations it is part of building that trust and having that ability to connect with somebody and say, “you know what, you were talking about your children’s soccer game. How’d they make out on the weekend?” That kind of stuff.
Juliette Schmerler (21:41):
Yeah, absolutely. And I think if you are dealing with a lot of leads, which hopefully you are, you know, it does become difficult to remember every detail of every person. So it’s a nice way to kind of refresh your memory when you’re talking to somebody, “oh yeah, that was the person we were talking to about their kids, and let’s, let’s touch base on that.” And also, like you said, you know, where are you at? Like, were you waiting for them to call you back or were you supposed to follow up? And it’s harder, the more leads you have, the more difficult it is to stay on top of them. And like, again, as people who specialize in lead generation, we really want the client to be successful in terms of turning our leads into a sale. So all those little tools are so important to help the process kind of keep moving forward.
Darryl Sangster (22:28):
Yeah, absolutely. It is. In my experience a little bit of everything on that three part system has been successful in my world and for their own reasons.
Juliette Schmerler (22:41):
Yeah, absolutely. So we kind of touched on this a little bit in what we were just discussing, but trust is a really big part of decision making process. And I mean, I think trust is important in any business transaction, any sales process. I mean, a lot of times it’s not just about the actual opportunity, it’s about how a person feels about you or your brand in terms of how they trust you. So how can a franchise build trust with prospects?
Darryl Sangster (23:09):
Yeah. So on this one, I agree with you. A franchisee is not going to invest with a franchisor they don’t trust. And the question of how do you build that trust, I believe it falls into the category of the personal branding, your social footprint, stuff that a potential investor can look at and see who you are. So, I’ll just use an example. Darryl Sangster as a franchisor. They might see a suit or they see me talking at some presentation up on a stage. But that’s not entirely who I am. Whereas, you know, if they check out my Instagram or different things like that, they’ll see that I have daughters and grandkids. And so then all those little values that make up a relationship come into the trust factor of franchising, in my opinion. Because, yes, your model has to be good and it has to be profitable as a business model.
But in saying that, there’s a lot of business models that are profitable and out there, so, you know, they obviously like yours for a reason. They conceive by the numbers that it’s profitable. Now, you know, why should I invest with this company? Who is this person behind the company that’s running this thing? And so I think that allowing and working on building your digital footprint through your social media profiles is very important. If you’re a franchisor or a franchise developer, you’re asking for a lot of trust and they want to know who you are as a person. And so if I’m out there and on my social feeds, it’s just me drinking beers and smashing beer cans all over the place, I’m going to lose a lot of that trust. And they’re going to say, “well, I’m not sure if this is the person that I want to get into business with.” Right? So, you know, that’s an extreme example, but that’s the power behind the social media personal branding, I believe.
Juliette Schmerler (25:25):
Darryl Sangster (25:26):
I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn. LinkedIn in the franchise community is huge, in my opinion, because that’s where a lot of your investors live. And again, even if they themselves aren’t investors, they’re typically influencers in their circles. So a lot of people that are seeing your content or your offer, your franchise opportunity, on LinkedIn, even if they themselves are not interested, they’ll pass it on to their buddy on the golf course or their cousin out in Peterborough. I found that’s a big factor. So, making sure that your presence on your social platforms is trustworthy.
Juliette Schmerler (26:18):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, one of the things I’ve heard is that they’ve done research to show that a serious prospect will often look you up online and look at every touchpoint possible in terms of what you’re doing on social media, not to mention the actual franchise website needs to look really professional, have testimonials and all that. So that image that you put across on the internet, whether it’s through your website or through your social media channels, is something that a real interested prospect is going to look at. And if they see like, “wow, you’ve got this, you’ve got your stuff together, everything looks professional, I see testimonials, I see you have fans, I see you have happy customers, you’ve got good reviews.” All of that really plays into the trust factor of building up their confidence in your opportunity. So Yeah. I totally agree with that.
Darryl Sangster (27:13):
Juliette Schmerler (27:14):
Okay, so let’s just say a new lead has come in. The goal is to get on a call with them and see if there is a fit. What kinds of questions should be asked during that first exploratory call?
Darryl Sangster (27:29):
Well, in my opinion, I’m going to reference the dating analogy again. Make that first call all about them. The objective is to find out their why. It’s not to convince them that you have the best system in the world or to ask them for their social insurance number. You know, I see that people come out of the gates hot and heavy and ask for all those details and it just doesn’t work. And you haven’t even built any trust. This person literally just clicked one of your links and scheduled a call with you. So, you find out their why, find out why it is that they’re on the phone with you. Find out what aspects of them are causing them to look at franchising with you right now, today.
So is it because of job security? Is it because of wealth creation? Is it because of balance? Maybe, their spouse is working away from the house and they don’t want to be away from the house anymore or whatever. Maybe it’s a home-based franchise, who knows? But the point is, when that first call takes place, it’s all about them. And the objective becomes why — why are they actually on the phone with you? And then once you determine that why, that sets the foundation for your entire sales process all the way through.
Juliette Schmerler (29:01):
Yeah, absolutely. So do you think that on that first call, once you’ve gone through those questions to understand their motives and their why, do you think on that first call you should also be doing a little presentation about the opportunity and keeping in mind their why while you’re doing the presentation? Or should that be on another call?
Darryl Sangster (29:19):
Yeah, no. I don’t. I recommend that that first initial call to be short, 15 minutes. It’s them selling to you. There’s an analogy of, they’re the one who’s on stage doing the dancing, not you. So, you’re grabbing some information finding out who they are. They’re already excited, they’re already interested because they’ve already picked up the phone and are on the call with you. There are of course, part of this whole process, there’s opportunity. There’s set meetings in stage two, for example, for the opportunity meeting, which becomes a full hour long presentation and conversation all about the opportunity at hand. Because at each stage and each meeting, you want to find out whether or not they are still in fact interested.
Maybe they weren’t sure about your franchise and they had a different ideal of what it was. And then once you tell them that they have to drive around in a pink truck, they might be like, why? I didn’t realize that, I’m kind of not interested in doing that. And that’s okay. But it’s better that we find out at that stage. And then of course, there’s finance meetings and different things like that. So in my opinion, the first call is all about the exploratory call. It’s asking a lot of questions that are just directly related to their why.
Juliette Schmerler (30:53):
Yeah. I think that makes a lot of sense. I mean, also, if you’re going to invest that time in doing a presentation and taking it to that next step, it’s nice to have that first call. Like you said, you can make sure that it’s worth continuing on. The first call, oftentimes they’re a stranger. You need to figure out if it’s worth taking the time to explain the opportunity in more detail or not.
Darryl Sangster (31:19):
Yeah. I teach franchisors to use the NDA. And the reason why, it’s a very simple NDA, but at the beginning process, so in that initial exploratory call and we’ve had a quick 10 minutes and eight minutes talk about their why, I’ll explain to them what this process looks. And that there’s stages and that this is not just your decision to join our franchise. And it’s not just my decision. So at each stage, we both have to be willing to move on to the next one. So that it takes any of that maybe false belief that well, they need me. And that has to be removed from the table. And at the end of that exploratory call, I’ll let them know that an NDA is coming out and that our system is amazing and we have a lot of trade secrets in it. So, you know, the NDA is a good, formal way to say, keep your mouth shut.
Juliette Schmerler (32:31):
Yeah. No, makes sense.
Darryl Sangster (32:33):
We have a lot of stuff to share and I want to share it with you, but let’s have some professional respect towards one another. Sign the NDA and then let’s move forward. I’m going to open up my system to you and explain how it works.
Juliette Schmerler (32:46):
Yeah. I think all this content, everything you’re sharing is so important. And, you know, as someone who works with a lot of franchisors at different stages, you know, whether they’re new to franchising and it’s an owner who’s trying to kind of do sales themselves or they have brought someone in who is only focused on sales, but not really understanding franchising and the whole process of franchising, which is a very unique sales process. I just think everything you’re sharing is so important. And that’s really why I wanted to have you on today. Let’s talk a little bit more about your course, because I know we’ve kind of just skimmed the surface of some of the topics that we’re talking about today. Your course is called Franchise Academy Expansion. So tell me more about the course and how our listeners can find out more and potentially get into your course itself.
Darryl Sangster (33:39):
Yeah, so the course is Franchise Expansion Academy. And it was designed based on the concept that the reality of the franchise industry is that not every franchisor can afford a consultant and might not have the cash flow to afford a consultant. Somebody like myself or there’s, you know, 20 others that are very reputable in the industry. So knowing that, I was a little upset when I was talking with franchisors at the beginning and we got to the conversation point of costs and they were honest and said, “you know, I’m sorry Darrell. I just can’t afford that.” And I get it. As a former franchisor, I get it. There’s periods of cash flow where it’s tight and you might not have those extra dollars.
So the course was created with that in mind to take my consulting, which is one-on-one, and convert it into a course environment, which is a lot more affordable for a franchiseor to download and learn on their own. Now in my course, I do offer three different platforms. Of course, there’s the self-learning solo platform, download the course and learn. And of course that’s the least expensive one and the most attractive if finances are the factor behind it. But again, you get access to everything. The second component that I offer as an option is the group coaching portion. So it’s the course and group coaching. And I have another one starting ON March 7th of this year, uh, for the next one coming up in a group coaching.
So then there’s weekly touchpoints with myself to go through in a group atmosphere. We can go through the previous week’s lessons, we can go through the upcoming weeks lessons and answer any of the questions from the students at that time. And then the third option is the private coaching. So there’s the course with the private coaching option, and these are all just different variations of the course as a whole. The content is all the same. It’s exhaustive. It’s eight modules, 37 lessons. There’s hundreds and hundreds of pages of downloadable content, from templates to roadmaps to scripts to discovery day outlines to everything, in order to successfully learn how to take a lead from inquiry all the way through to signing.
Juliette Schmerler (36:42):
That’s fantastic. I think there’s such a need for a course like this out there, and I love that you have your different levels of engagement because, I know for myself, sometimes when you do you purchase an online course, sometimes you still need a little bit of accountability or a little bit of interaction with an expert or colleagues that can kind of help move you along in the course and keep you focused and committed to doing it. So I think it’s great that you’re giving people different price points so that they can use those services as they need them. So that’s fantastic. Thank you so much for joining me today. I think this information is really important. We’re definitely going to put some links in our article to your course, if anybody wants to check it out. And we look forward to touching base again with you soon.
Darryl Sangster (37:36):
Yeah. Well, and thank you again. And yes, the course can be found at sangsterfranchisegroup.com. And yeah, Juliet, I really appreciate this time here with you today.
Juliette Schmerler (37:49):
My pleasure, and I’ll talk to you again soon.
Darryl Sangster (37:51):
All right. Thanks a lot. Bye-Bye.