Archive for category Negotiation

Customer profiles

There are customers and there are CUSTOMERS! it can be very useful to know who you are deailing with so you can figure out the best way of working with them so they are influenced to purchase and deal with your organisation.

there are personality profiles, psyche profiles and marketing type profiles here is one we can explore.

1. Deal Makers,
2. Price Seekers,
3. Luxury Innovators
4. Brand Loyalists. 

There are other ways different ‘schools of psychology’ describe  these but for this is one way.

Lets start to build a profile of these and see what descriptors we can come up with to fill in the gaps (its one thing to have a title, and another to have the depth of understanding to make it useful). Some sales people run into the trap of imposing their own profile on customers, e.g. price seekers, just because  you might like to buy on the cheapsest price, does not mean all customers want to, so talking price only is of little value. Being able to relate and connect with the various buying types is therefore very useful.

Deal Makers – They want to negotiate – They want the thrill of pushing and pulling and thinking they have got good value for money – They may not want the latest release of an item because it might not have much bargaining power for them – They are not fussed about brands too much.

Price seekers – Is it the cheapest? – Will I have buyers remorse if I see it cheaper elsewhere? – Not interested in the latest technology, they know it’s expensive in teh start up phase of it coming on to the market – Brands are almost meaning less, its more of a back up to a ‘wise purchase’.

Luxury Innovators – “I only buy high end luxury items” – They buy the latest for its show off value – Price is often a secondary or lower value – they want their friends to notice – They know the top brands but are not loyal to any one of them they want the latest and the more luxurious it makes them feel the better!

Brand loyalists -  These guys stick to brands they love in all products – They belive they are getting value becasue they know that quality is important and the right brands seem to produce quality that lasts.

Using these profiles you could figure out the types of customers your offerings might attract and therefore how you might lure or influence them to buy from  you.

The “easy in” franchise start up.

For the Franchisor: How do you make the start up phase easy for the Franchisee?

For the Frachisee: How does the Franchisor make the start up phase easy for you.

This is the sort of question both parties should be asking themselves and for the Franchisor reviewing it often to make sure they have the best systems in the business.

Lets take a look at perhaps a usual scenario… the Franchisee joins the business, signs up and does the training, they start the business and pay the usual franchisee fees in the first month or so… it’s baptism by “deep end” immersion!

Lets step back a bit further and take a look at what really happens. For some this business opportunity is a start up, no business experience, and while there is probably great support systems in place after the training, some may not know how to use them, or perhaps might feel as though they would be embarrassed to use them. Although the Franchisee is keen to start there will probably be a range of issues they have to contend with, a new start, a change of work habits, new systems, training to learn… and the list could go on… and ON!

It might be suggested that the Franchisor’s role (in part) is to make this transition phase as simple and easy as possible so they can build the esteem of the Franchisee (vital really). So here are a few suggestions that could make a solid point of difference to the way your franchise business starts its new recruits (remember to use these as selling points!)

Fees – Consider not having the first two or three months of fees, and or making the fees a low start option (e.g. they pay an increasing percentage in the start up phase) To redeem the loss you include it in the start up fee for buying the franchise.

Income – During the training period and the first few weeks of set up, there is probably a loss of income, if you do not have an income guarantee, include a short term one to take the pressure off. Let the franchisees focus clearly on the training and getting things right.

Support – coaching – mentoring – training – Training is usually a given, the coaching, mentoring and other forms of support may be voluntary, or the onus put on the Franchisee. The aim being to ensure the Franchisee is a “happy camper” your role is to make these aspects more robust and easy to implement. If the new recruit is thrown in the deep end, how can you provide ‘services’ to ease the pain and ‘stop them from drowning”? Lets face it there are too many Franchise horror stories and the time stop this is at the start. If you have support staff in contact with franchisees how well do they coach, mentor and support?

Advertising – A vital part of the business mix, advertising can make or break a start up business. How many ways can you build extra value into the start ups advertising to ensure added value and possibly more customers? Show them the Press Releases you have sent out to their local media, then scour their local papers for articles that have been printed and show them, look for opportunities in the local media and utilise those to ensure the start up phase is happening with a lot of interest. Perhaps consider teaser adverts to build intrigue. Of course all the extras are in the price of the franchise.

List – Frequently asked questions for new franchisees (perhaps in an intra-net) and provide a whole range of support materials for them, from simple short video examples to PDF type documents or power point presentations they can get answers with very quickly. give the peace of mind in knowing the answers are there 24/7 so they do not have to wait for an “Area Manager” to call them back with an answer on Monday and it’s Friday night!

Family – A little touched on area of business… but the family support is vital to how the new franchisee feels. What material can you provide to raise their awareness of this new change to their lives? How it might effect things, the rewards it might bring later on… and so on. Most of all though provide something, even a brochure or leaflet is better than nothing and encourage them to get involved. For smaller franchises it might be as simple as inviting them to help out with the bookkeeping (if they have those skills) or delivering pamphlets in the territory. Any way they can help out can be very useful to the family stability in the early phases.

Thats the list for now, but keep searching for ways to help the new recruit. For Franchisees, look for franchises that offer as many of these support devices as possible and ask existing franchisees about how well these worked in reality.

For more franchise info…

Open the floodgates!

Who is blaming whom? In the failed business stakes there are those with the crushed ego from the fall who want to blame anyone but themselves. They will claim the system failed them, customers failed them, area supervisors and suppliers failed them… then of course the franchisor failed them!

In all the blame game generally gets people nowhere and often it happens too late.

No one wants a business to fail, so what happens? really it’s a simple cycle, born out of the old adage resistance, resentment and retaliation… lets take a stab at a possible scenario.

A franchisee gets started and is niggled they can get a support person to call them back from the main Co. (its been a busy time for the Co recruiting and starting a bunch of new franchisees). the franchisee gets miffed and start to build a sense of resistance, and becomes standoffish despite the supervisor apologising profusely.

In some people this resistance clears up and in others it festers in the background.

If this and other things continue the franchisee starts to resent the situation and the hollow they now find themselves in… (Often though these things start from a small issue though.) The retaliation when things have multiplied out of control becomes a range of finger pointing and blame and before long a hostile situation looms and any issue seems to push things further into a downward spiral. The flood gates have opened and Voom the rush of water knocks over everything in its path.

Seriously it does not take much to see this happen, in a franchise, personally run business or in general life!

Here’s the aim for the franchisor, stop it happening before it multiplies.

Herea re some simple points to make things happen more effectively…

Open the Company communication floodgates – Make the franchisee see that everything is being done to assist them, pester your team to find out who they contacted in the past few weeks, and if they haven’t why not.

Open the family communication floodgates – successful businesses have family support, its important that you know if a franchisee has this support if not find ways to boost it and get the family interested, supportive and involved.

Make it a great start up – Before the business gets started make sure the franchisee has the right mindset and attitude to run the business and is willing to learn ways to build their skills in all areas.

Train them and train your people, to be exceptional communicators – To do this, find ways to get them together to really get to know each other (and don’t wait for the next conference to make this happen.) for people to REALLY communicate effectively they might need to work more like a family.

Make BIG! promises – And KEEP them. If you say you will jump, make sure you tell them how high it will be. Hollow promises cause a lot of problems. To make sure they happen set up simple and effective systems so your team can ensure they are done.

If you make these a major priority for your franchise business you will form a positive foundation to really set up a caring company that shows it is interested whole heartedly in its members. That’s my view on ways to make the 3 R’s that can damage any relationship (in this case business relationships) and make it less of an issue. Hopefully this is enough to calm the madding crowds!

More franchising articles

The hard yards of franchising

When it comes to buying a business or starting out in a brand new venture, it is vital to do your “due diligence” so you can know if the business is right for you. In franchises its the same, however it is reasonable to expect the franchisor should be able to supply you with more information beyond the usual sales pitch so you and your support team (accountant, advisor, mentor, business coach etc.) can make a rational decision on what’s possible. It should alsoguide you to see if there is a suitable match between your skills and attitudes for the business. In an earlier post on franchising I gave a broad outline of the major things to look for, now lets go deeper and see what else you might do before you make a “leap of faith”.

You will have found a few franchises worth looking into and now you are about to come face to face with their sales representative. Sure they will make it sound all nice and rosy, but you can cut to the chase once they have done their presentation and give yourself more info to work with if you ask a few poigniant questions. I have listed a few questions and some likely resposnes so you can second guess their responses and get greater depth. (That’s the theory!)

Is there growth potential in the market? – The usual response might be “Oh sure we have doubled the amount of franchise businesses in the last 12 months and it’s growing from there.” This may well be true, your aim is to find out how many were sold in the last few years so you can compare, then ask about how long people stay in their franchises, e.g. how many get out at the end of the first contract period? And what statistics do you have that you can show me the customers are growing, not just the franchise numbers? (It’s one thing to project to sell x franchises and entirely another thing to actually do it! And another thing to have the customers to buy what’s on offer. They should have clear statistics showing the amount of sales in existing franchises.)

What opportunities exist? – “Oh there’s lots, things are going ahead in leaps and bounds, let me show you a map of your suburb” You may be looking at an area to explore, however do the right thing and ask to see a map of where they currently are and where they want to be, some have maps of the country with different coloured pins in the various territories and you should be able to see the sold ones, and the one’s up for grabs. For you this gives a big picture view and lets you see what other areas might be available for expansion later.

Tell me about the competition? – They will no doubt tell you about other franchises in your area, some may even “bad mouth” them to build themselves up. What you really need to know is if there are many smaller players that could eat into your business, if they have done the research they can tell you more, if not they might be at a loss to know more about your region or territory and the actual customers you can expect to see through the door.

How long did it take for the average franchisee to get a return on investment? – “Of course this varies and its so hard to tell.” But they should be able to do a model of the AVERAGE so they can give an indication of the return. Imagine putting $200k into a business but not getting a return on that investment for 12 months, that could be very alarming… better to know now than later. If the franchisor does not know the answer, then ask some of the franchisees, if they don’t know maybe the training and support team can tell you… or maybe they have no idea, remember the aim of buisness is to make a profit, so they should be abel to tell you when on average that might happen.

Does the business develop into a passive income stream? – Who wants to work all the time, if you can get a return on your investment to the degree that you do not have to work, then that might be useful… so ask how many have achieved that, then get their details, if you sign up they should become your mentors! or if nothing else a great point of research info on the company in question.

What hours does the average franchisee put in to make a real go of the business? – Again it’s profit, and the how hard do I work question. It’s not a job you are buying, it’s a business system, it would be ludicrous to go from working a 5 day week to a six day week for the same return or even a lower return! Sure the change might be great (sick of the old job?) but how long will that last?

Staff, are they easy to get and train in this industry? – Back to the passive income section, you will need people to do it for you right? So lets make it easy to do, not a struggle. Some franchises will have people queing up to work for them whle other will avoid it due to the hassle.

This list of questions is a starting point to choosing a suitable franchise, its up to you to develop a longer list of questions but these ones will probably be the key ones in time. Enjoy the hunt for the right business for you, I ope the list makes it a little easier at least.

Here is a link to a checklist on franchising questions (Australia) a prospective franchisee should ask. Franchise Checklist

The ideal monkey

No this is not about Homer Simpson getting a helper monkey! it’s about the ideal clients we all want to chase, but hey there are issues about going for gold, its time, money and often our attitude.

Firstly the ideal customer “monkey” is at the top of the tree, try to climb it too fast you might scare the monkey (not good!) Those that have wooed the monkey in the past know that once they are off the ground and climbing, they have to entice the monkeey (influence it if you will) with the right food, if you have things right the monkey may even come to you!

Secondly you have to be aware that the non ideal monkeys don’t like to work so hard to get to the top of the tree, and therefore they stay to the lower branches and on the ground, they are lazy and want you to go to them, enticement or not, they cost time and money in the long run, but they help to pay the bills. These monkeys create a hard bond to break.

Okay, so it would be good if you could climb the tree quickly and quietly and be back in time to look after the monkeys on the ground, but the top monkey wants to be courted on their terms, not on yours, so what to do?

In an ideal world your sales rep could be trained to court the monkey in the right way while you keep the lower end monkeys happy, but until that happens not much can happen, and note how the lwer level monkeys keep you too busy and not earning enough to hire a sales rep?

Its an age old conundrum, if you take the slow path, costs can overrun you, but once the top monkey is in the giving mood you can then free yourself up to look after more of them and jump readily from tree to tree as the other top monkeys can see you coming at their level and are often more welcoming.

To get to the top monkey takes a strategy, and an action plan to ensure you have the steps in place to get to the right monkey at the right time. This is called a sales process, its a step by step method of research, sending info, and building up to the final presentation. Then and only then if they are happy with what your offer, will they give a little.

Some monkeys are a pest, but a top monkey can be a sought after leader in the pecking order of business, If you want to get the “monkey of your back” you have to find ways to get to the top monkey.

The attitude or the money?

In business there are many things to consider, but one of the most overlooked is the fact that you have to deal with people, staff, customers, suppliers, partners and support teams (accountants coaches and the like). The factor that makes or breaks the relationship that’s built is your attitude. But what is it, and specifically how does it fit to a business context.

Here are a few points to consider that go some way to making up your overall “business attitude.”

– Service orientation

– Persistence

– Practical and direct business skills (or lack of them)

– Planning and organisational skills – to set achieveable goals

– The ability to achieve

– Creativity and innovation

– Desire to succeed

– Honesty, intergity and sincerity

– Communication and leadership skills

– Motivation and drivers

All of these have a bearing on your attitude and if you take one or a few of them away or skew them poorly the money vanishes, or at best fades. In business profit is king, therefore you should be finding ways to enhance your “attitude” so you can attract more of the “right stuff” into your business and personal life.

Your aim is to have a Positive Mental Attitude and avoid a Permanent Bad Attitude!

Your magic business…

Today you are doing what SPECIFICALLY…

– to make your business more profitable?

– to cause the staff to LOVE you?

– to cause the customers to LOVE you and your team?

– to cause your suppliers to jump through hoops to give you great deals (and LOVE you)?

– to ensure your workplace is the best place to work, form both a safety and aesthetic perspective?

– to cut down on red tape?

– to create more elegant systems?

– to ensure your business is growing well?

The list can be as long as you like, with out this kind of input your business can stagnate and fade, in short it can shrivel up and die… So do something today to make it thrive.

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