When a franchisor sells the rights to be part of their brand, there’s risk on their end, just as there is on the side of the franchisee. They want to be sure they’re selling what is, for all intents and purposes, their local reputation, to the right person: somebody who will fit in and, if possible, even improve the company's standing in the community.
If you want to be that person, you have to make the most of the limited opportunity you will get to present yourself to the franchisor.
Before you apply
Every hour spent doing your due diligence will pay you back tenfold at the negotiating table, so do your homework. Specifically, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the franchise organization, how their business model works, and how you can support it successfully.
If you're hoping to merge an existing business with a franchise opportunity, or to have your location rebranded as a franchise, focus on identifying all the qualities your current business and the franchise share, such as reliability, quality, and human resource management. Of course,you can only really pinpoint common strengths by researching the franchise thoroughly.
Organizing your pitch
You will likely need to pitch your proposal to the franchisor in the form of a presentation. A successful presentation will let the franchisor know how accepting you as part of their franchise family will benefit the existing structure. This is where your research will pay off as you can highlight all the factors you know they look for in a franchisee.
Be brief and to the point, but paint them a vivid picture of their company’s future as it will be enriched by what you have to offer.
Practicing your pitch
As is the case at any job interview, the more relaxed and well-informed you are during the presentation, the more convincing you will be. The key to poise under the circumstances is preparation: if you’ve prepared your presentation to the point that it requires almost no effort, you’ll be able to save some of your mental and emotional faculties for maintaining a calm and confident demeanor. To give yourself time to accomplish this, you should write the presentation well ahead of your appointment, and go over it repeatedly right up until that day.
Of course, you can’t take practice to the extreme by memorizing the entire presentation word-for-word. You need to be able to field any questions that arise without completely losing your train of thought. The best option is to learn your main points inside out, but don’t try to memorize specific words and phrases. That way, you’ll be able to smoothly discuss all the points you want to cover, but if one of them is covered in the answer to an unexpected question, you can move on without repeating yourself.
Dos and don'ts
For a strong franchise presentation,
- Be specific about how you can add value to the franchise.
- Be honest about your achievements and abilities.
- State your case briefly and coherently.
- Making relevant points without repeating yourself or relying on hyperbole.
- Provide adequate context for any claims and assertions you make.
- Rely on your notes too much. (Believe it or not, achieving verbal perfection by sacrificing strong eye contact and naturalness can actually detract from a presentation, giving the impression you’re not really that familiar with the franchisor’s or your own business.)
- Neglect your appearance. Dress to impress, without going overboard.
- Use unprepared statements to fill silences. The franchisor will interpret this as anxiety, which can make them worry about how you will cope in a crisis.
- Go into excessive detail about contracts or operating procedure. These are the purview of the franchisor and and be discussed in greater detail if and when they decide to move forward with you.
When researching a company, you’ll be able to determine if it’s right for you and whether you’re right for it. If you truly believe that to be the case, you should have very little difficulty getting that conviction across, and that level of confidence is contagious.