Who do I hire next: a Franchise Salesperson or a Business Development Coach?

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Welcome to the 3rd part of our series on who should be your first key hire to help you scale your franchise business.

In Part 1, we went through what you, as the franchise founder, need to think about in terms of what you should not be doing inside your company as you expand.  In Part 2, we covered which tasks that you as founder, should do in your company to help you grow and scale faster.

Today, we dive into the details of which specific role to hire for next. Why didn’t I start here? Because as a founder, you need to know (for your own happiness and your franchise brand’s success) with great accuracy, where you excel and where you lack, and that will guide you in building your team. Now that we are clear on this, we can zero in on the specific hire that will help your company the most.

At this early stage of your franchise business, the question inevitably comes down to a decision between two positions: Franchise Salesperson or Franchise Business Development Coach?

Back when I was scaling our franchise system, it turned out I didn’t really enjoy either job, so for me, it wasn’t clear which of the two roles I should assume in the short-term.

My advice to most founders – take on the franchise sales role yourself. Why?

Unless your lead generation is cranking (and I rarely see this with emerging franchisors, except for the ones who adopt our Lead Generation System, franchise sales aren’t usually coming fast and furious at this stage. So, to spend $100k all-in on a person to run your Franchise Sales, you will need to be doing 6-10 deals per year just to pay for the role. Your money is FAR better spent in the areas of lead generation.

If you aren’t on this kind of trajectory, most founders can get by with a combination of a great franchise sales process, good automation strategies, and the founder themselves taking care of Franchise Sales. There are also some great outsourcing options available, including a service we provide to a few emerging franchisors that we call our Back Pocket Chief Development Officer service.

For me, when I first completed the exercise outlined in Part 1 as we were hitting that inflection point of growth, coaching franchisees kept rising to the surface.

So, we hired a guy named Patrick Wyness to take care of it for us. Patrick had come from the franchise world and was a Business Development Coach (“BDC”) at 1-800 got junk. We brought him in to do everything related to our franchisees: take their calls, coach them on a weekly basis to grow their sales, train the new franchise partners, onboard, and hold their hands through the roller coaster ride of starting a new business.

And all of a sudden? I was able to focus on what a founder should be doing at this stage – growing my business. I was finally free of the day-to-day issues; free from the franchisees riding the roller coaster of building a business.  I remember distinctly what my top goal then became – grow Franchise Sales. And so that’s what I began to focus on – without distractions.

For many founders, the BDC is almost always the first hire.

In fact, just this morning I was on a call with a client who is enrolled in our Hartify Method for New Franchise Launch program. We were building the final stages of their franchisee training program, and were reviewing the 6 stages of a franchisee. During that call, the founder, a passionate, dynamic entrepreneur, realized just how every up and down, every challenge of the franchisee will impact her personally.

My comment to her was: understanding the 6 stages is your first step to depersonalizing some of this for you. Your second step? You will need to hire someone to coach and guide your franchisees to shield you from these ups and downs.

So,  what makes a great franchise Business Development Coach?

The mission of the Business Development Coach role is to champion your franchisees to help them maximize their success as fast as possible.

You are looking for these key traits in this hire:

1. Prioritization – Can they juggle all of the balls in the air and determine which need the most attention and are the most important before they drop? Your franchisees will always have way too many things to do and not enough time to do them. A huge part of this role is to sift through all of those must-do’s and help them prioritize.

1. Great at building relationships – This just has to be part of a Franchise Business Development Coach’s DNA. Your BDC has to be able to get along with many different personalities who are under constant stress. They may naturally be a great relationship person, or they take a highly systematic approach to building relationships. The BDC is on the front lines with your franchisees, and so the relationship your brand builds with your franchisees is largely dependent on this person.

1. The ability to have fierce and crucial conversations yet still maintain a powerful, connected relationship. This is hard to do and not everyone can achieve it. If your BDC has this ability, they will be able to shield you, the founder, from many challenges that are going to distract you from growing your business.

1. The ability to view issues in a non-emotional, matter of fact manner, providing clarity for all parties involved. I also like to call this one “being able to see both sides of the coin.” The franchisee /franchisor relationship is one of interdependence. That means there will be conflict, and you won’t always be right. Your BDC needs to be the level-headed person inside your organization who can sort through the challenges.

1. Natural coaching ability to get the most out of people. You need your coach to improve and push your franchisees to perform, which isn’t an easy job. The best BDC’s blend a likeable approach of consulting (telling), and coaching (asking questions) to help their franchisees hit maximum performance.

1. Resourcefulness. This is my favourite trait in any hire. It is so important for an emerging franchise system because your systems will always be in a state of evolution; and you won’t have all of the systems down to a “t.” Problem-solving on the fly is key.

1. Goal Driven. Remember, the ultimate goal is to have high-performing franchisees, so helping them set and achieve goals is a requirement for this role. You want a BDC who is superb at setting goals, and accomplishing them.

The problem is that finding a person whom you can afford that has experience coaching franchisees and operations is extremely difficult. There aren’t that many out there.

Where do you find them? If you are lucky, they are already working for you. They know your business, they are super-organized and they know which levers of your business drive sales. They can manage a lot of balls in the air at the same time and they have more patience than you do. They may even be a current franchisee: someone who has been in the system long enough to have grown a successful business, who has become a true brand ambassador.

If so, all you need is the system. Exactly how are they going to coach your franchisees to success? This is why we built the Hartify Method for Coaching & Support. We spend 6 months layering in the systems for you from on-boarding to franchise communication to weekly coaching calls to scorecard and metrics management, so that you will have a full system to scale past 50 units and give you the flexibility to hire anyone who has these traits I’ve listed. 

The 10 Habits of Best in Class Franchisors

The Only Framework You Need To Scale Your Franchise System

Mockup for Franchise Consulting

John built one of the fastest growing and best operated franchise systems in the country before he exited in 2019 by being highly disciplined in using Verne Harnish’s Rockefeller Habits checklist. Through his experience and his learnings from other best in class franchisors, he adapted this list specifically for the franchise industry. 

The Top 10 Habits checklist provides the 10 most important functions that should be on autopilot for your franchise business to grow and scale predictably  and smoothly.

The 10 Habits of Best in Class Franchisors

The Only Framework You Need To Scale Your Franchise System

John built one of the fastest growing and best operated franchise systems in the country before he exited in 2019 by being highly disciplined in using Verne Harnish’s Rockefeller Habits checklist. Through his experience and his learnings from other best in class franchisors, he adapted this list specifically for the franchise industry. 

The Top 10 Habits checklist provides the 10 most important functions that should be on autopilot for your franchise business to grow and scale predictably and smoothly.