For good reasons, entrepreneurs realize that there are many advantages to a proven franchise system, to be “in business for yourself and not by yourself.” With hundreds of options to choose from, the process can be overwhelming and daunting. That’s where a franchise consultant can help. Working with a franchise consultant can be beneficial to prospective franchise owners by guiding them through the process, from discovery to selection, saving significant time and effort. Together with Bonnie Beinhorn, MBA, Certified Franchise Consultant at Franchise Finder Solutions, we discuss how consultants can provide value to their clients.
What Is the Role of a Franchise Consultant?
A franchise consultant, sometimes known as a franchise broker, helps streamline the process by being a “match-maker.” Consultants should not charge any fees to clients for their services. They are compensated by the franchisor once a placement is made. Franchise consultants do not “sell” franchises, rather they provide relevant information and guidance, and identify specific franchises that are aligned with their client’s goals, preferences and investment level, so the client can decide if there is enough interest to take the next step in exploring the opportunity.
The goals of the franchise consultant should be “to make the discovery and selection process efficient and enjoyable by taking away the confusion,” says Bonnie. A franchise consultant is most helpful by “presenting concepts and options that someone would not have likely found on their own and showing how they are a good fit.” According to Bonnie, “A consultant should be client-centered and not allow their own preferences and biases to affect their search.”
Franchise consultants can be helpful at every step of the process, as the client desires, usually until their agreement is signed with the franchisor. According to Bonnie, franchise consultants can “guide clients through Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) review, validation calls with existing franchisees, and provide tools for assessment and referrals to funding sources and franchise attorneys.”
Qualities and Skills of an Effective Franchise Consultant
According to Bonnie, the most important quality of an effective franchise consultant is strong interpersonal and communication skills. This includes listening well and conveying information in a simplified way. Bonnie says that also having business experience, knowledge of franchising and federal/state/industry regulations adds value to the client discovery process.
To make an informed decision, having a diverse franchise portfolio is needed. This includes a breadth of business types and categories at every investment level. In addition to knowing the right questions to ask, a consultant should be able to search quickly for franchise opportunities that most align with your goals.
Questions to Ask Your Potential Franchise Consultant
When you decide to work with a franchise consultant, you’re looking for someone who has the expertise and skills to guide you through the major decision of buying a franchise. To determine if the franchise consultant is a good fit for you, some suggested questions to ask include:
- What is your background and why did you choose to become a franchise consultant?
- How long have you been a consultant?
- Do you have any franchising experience?
- Are you affiliated with any franchise consultant organizations?
- How do you stay current with industry changes and trends?
- What is your process to identify and present options?
- After the introduction is made, how involved are you until the agreement is signed?
- How available are you? Can you take calls in the evenings and on weekends?
- If I prefer (texting/emailing/talking on the phone), can you accommodate?
- What expectations do you have of your clients?
- How many franchisors do you represent?
Next Steps in the Franchise Buying Process
“The more the consultant knows, the better the consultant can help determine opportunities to present that are a good fit” says Bonnie. The first step in the franchise search process is to have a clear understanding of your goals, preferences and any ‘must-haves’ before reviewing specific franchises. By asking the right questions, a consultant will learn about the type of business model you prefer, your skills and interests, desired territory and timeline.
Bonnie concludes, “Remember that as the client, you have the option to choose who you want to work with. We are professionals who can bring knowledge and expertise to what is otherwise a very time consuming and overwhelming experience. Find someone who you connect with and let them get to work for you!”
To connect directly with Bonnie, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-418-0609. If you are a sales/marketing professional looking for a franchise ownership opportunity, learn more about BirthdayPak.