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Posted on Jun 07, 2011

How Listening Shapes Franchise Recruiting

During a recent conversation with a well respected franchisee recruiter, we discussed the qualities of an excellent listener.  We came up with four different levels of listening.  This franchisee recruiter explained that as he moved up in listening levels, he increased his results exponentially.

Listening Pyramid - Four Levels of Listening - Franchise Help

Assume you are a recruiter looking for someone to invest in franchise opportunities. In a conversation with a potential candidate, you ask, “What's the main reason you want to start a business?”  The candidate replies, “I would love to be more independent and set my own hours.”

At this point, a low-level listener will give a short reply and move forward in the conversation, and the outcome of the discussion is anyone's guess. Opportunity lost! A good listener presented with this situation would approach things quite differently, however, with much different results.At this stage in the conversation, a good listener would pause and consider why a particular response was given.  A good listener would ask follow up questions such as, “What does ‘more independence’ mean to you?” and, “If you did have more independence, how would you utilize it?” In addition, the good listener may also ask about what they did not hear. For instance, one might say, “I noticed that your financial objectives are similar to what you earned before you were downsized.  Does that mean that quality of life right now is more important to you than an increase in earnings?” At this point, the good listener would would most likely move on.

The excellent listener, on the other hand, would delve even further into the conversation. This listener would peel back and ask questions such as, “Why is having more independence so important to you at this point? And what made this become such a high priority for you?”  Excellent listeners seek the opportunity to get into the candidate’s head and try to see their point of view through their eyes. Only once they have accomplished this goal do they begin to move on from the conversation.

The most skilled listeners -- masterful listeners -- would take this conversation a step even further. They might repeat what they heard to communicate to the franchise candidate, implying, “I hear you loud and clear and I get you.” This communication with the candidate will leave them feeling like you get them, and a bond is created.

So -- why is this important?

Just think of how many conversations you have during the day. When was the last time you felt so completely understood, you said to yourself, “Wow, this person gets me!”

Michael Mudd is the recruiter I was referring to earlier and he told me, “I love to play back what candidates tell me. Something magical happens to our relationship when I do. It’s like sprinkling pixie dust on our conversation.”

If you were a candidate in the market to find a franchise or business opportunity, which of these four listeners would you trust with your financial future?  Who would you want to do business with? Who gets you?  Who has got your back?

Joe Mathews is the founder of the Franchise Performance Group and has over 20 years experience with national chains such as Subway, Blimpies, Motophoto, and Entrepreneur’s Source.  Mathews specializes in the area of franchisee recruitment, sales, and franchisee performance.  He is a regular presenter at IFA conferences and is an instructor with the ICFE (Institute of Certified Franchise Executives).  Mathews is author of two books, Street Smart Franchising with Don Debolt and Deb Percival and Meaning of Life Project.

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