I recently participated on a development panel at a well-attended franchise show. The panelists were all bright, young—in my case everyone is young—high-energy development directors, sitting before a roomful of veteran franchise sales directors.
I can tell you I wasn’t surprised by what I heard—it was loud and clear and more of a whine: “We’re spending too much for leads.” “The quality of leads continues to decline.” “I can’t keep my franchise development managers busy.”
I sat and listened. I bit my tongue. And, when I’d absolutely heard more than enough of the same old message, I took to the podium and asked, “How many of you are hearing from your development managers that they’re not getting enough leads? Please raise your hand.”
Well, I didn’t have to count. All hands shot up as if they were reaching for floating $100 bills. There was a lot of head nodding, reluctant smiling and a good amount of mumbled chatter. I couldn’t make it out. I didn’t need to. Everybody was in the same situation with their development managers…Complaining about no leads.
I stood and waited till the room quieted. Then for a few seconds I looked around the room shaking my head. A few of the franchise directors smiled waiting for confirmation, or empathy, or a ready answer. I had one. It’s one of my Tannerisms for Franchisors.
“If your development managers are complaining that they’re not getting enough leads, fire the bastards!”
The room went eerily silent. You could’ve heard ice melt. A few directors looked around. Then the mumbled chatter started again, as did the reluctant smiling and head nodding.
“Your well-paid development managers were hired to develop leads, not as order takers. Leads that come in over the phone or through the web, those are my leads. Get off your ass and go out and get your own leads.”
(Even if your managers are working with franchise brokers, fifty percent of their leads and sales should come from their own development efforts.)
Your develop managers should be attending franchise shows, working with outplacement firms, networking through LinkedIn, conducting webinars, emailing targeted lists, and plain ol’ pressing the flesh.
“Don’t tell me you’re not getting any leads. Tell me what you’re doing to build your pipeline. Now go and get out of here.”