ghost·ing / ɡōstiNG/ The practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.
Spend any time working franchise development leads and you know all about “Ghosting.” You have a conversation with a candidate, invest hours sharing the franchise story and then Poof! They disappear. You call, text, email, even check social media to see if they’re still alive. (Are they a ghost?) They probably even remain in your database as a “warm lead” as days turn to weeks and weeks to months. You convince yourself that this was a serious candidate and they will be back.
They ghost you.
Bad Timing or No Money Ghost
Business ownership is the American Dream.
Not to mention sounds romantic as hell. But let’s begin with the fact that becoming a first-time franchisee/business owner is a monumental change in most people’s lives. It’s an emotionally charged, fear ridden process. Many people start an investigation because of a bad day at work, the dream of a better life, wishing to leave a legacy or a multitude of other reasons. Maybe it’s just an escapist fantasy for them that they simply pursued further than they had before. But when it comes down to it, they don’t have the money, grit, family support or determination to make the change. If the timing isn’t right, the timing isn’t right . Don’t overthink it.
Most savvy franchise development pro’s can identify the dreamers from the doers by asking pointed questions about financing and readiness. But if you are highly skilled in relationship building, there’s always a potential (even it’s a longshot) that you will be their first call when the time (or money) is right. Leave the door open for them to return to you should their situation change.
Comparison Shopping Ghost
(Or they are verifying data because they're really working with your competitor)
Comparison shopping has been going on since the beginning off franchising. With almost 4000 franchise systems across the United States, you should expect your candidates to be investigating other opportunities.
Try this – your first question to the candidate should be, Why today? Then (this is KEY) - Don’t stop at typical responses. ("looking for a change, tired of working for the man," etc.) You must truly be interested and curious. Keep digging and ask another Why question such as Why this moment and not months ago? This line of questions will get you to their “True Why” much faster.
Maybe they’re days away from signing a franchise agreement with your competitor and comparison shopping them?
Somewhere along the way the candidate lost confidence and faith in the process.
The first contact your candidate is likely to have is with your website, social media or a location and they have already formed an initial opinion. As the franchisor's representative, you are responsible to develop trust quickly then maintain it throughout the life of the relationship.
You must balance questions with insights. This is a consultative sales process and you must earn the right to continue through each step of your process. And never forget that your process is much more than the “6- or 8-step process” that every other franchise is promoting. it certainly doesn’t guarantee success.
The Pro’s that lose deals, usually know the reason why. They don’t typically get ghosted. Maybe it’s because they know that being an all star developer requires skill beyond reciting from a script or following the “steps” advertised on the company website.
It’s like dancing. Just because you know the steps doesn’t mean you can dance with the Bolshoi or Beyoncé. Because more than the dance steps are required. You have to know how to move to the unspoken rhythm and beat. Of the music or a consultative sales process. I can show you how.