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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.

How Franchisees Can Grow Their Sales

However, once the ribbons come down and time passes, franchisees begin to recognize the challenge ahead and that, in many ways, they're on their own: regardless of the amount of support their franchisor provides, the franchisee is ultimately responsible for generating sales for his or her new business.

Before Buying a Franchise Identify Your TRUE Investment

Your approach as a potential franchise buyer is to identify the real investment dollars you’ll need to get the franchise to profitability. The initial source of this information is Item 7 in the FDD. Item 7 is a schedule that details the estimated investment in the franchise. This schedule includes the cost of various items, including: the initial franchise fee, training related expenses, rent, insurance, professional fees for legal and accounting services, supplies, equipment, licenses and permits and additional working capital. Depending upon the specific franchise, there may be added categories. When reviewing the Item 7 schedule it’s important to know that franchisors are not required to list every type of fee or expense that might be part of the investment in the franchise but rather the likely investment needed to start the franchise. As you work to establish your investment number keep in mind the words “estimated” and “typical.” Item 7 is a guide, and as such, you should use this information accordingly.

Talking with Current Franchise Owners

Reading through a FDD is a key part of your research, but it can’t answer all the potential questions you might have about how it is to actually operate a given franchise. The best way to do this is actually to start talking to current franchisees. The best way is to this is to call or visit a franchisee, don’t just email them. You might need to be a bit persistent, but if you are then you can get all of your questions and concerns answered.