So you want to become a franchise kingpin!?! Well, there’s only a handful of people in the world that can really coach you how to do that. Fortunately, one of them is my friend and cousin, Dominic Rubino (Dom). A little while back I had Dom (who runs zorbusiness.com) on the negotiations.ninja podcast and we chatted about what it takes to negotiate like a franchise veteran. The episode was amazing and there were a few gems of information that I drew out of it that are really valuable.
Dom started a great blog and coaching site called zorbusiness.com . This blog came, really, out of frustration. And the frustration was that there was nothing available for franchisors to be able to draw on in terms of business education and how to make franchise operations better. The franchisor business is always different than that of the unit franchisee and there’s lots of information for the unit franchisee out there but there’s very little for franchisors.
In that blog, Dom distills what it takes to become the best franchisor you can be. And throughout his time as a franchisor and business coach, he’s come up with 3 key skills that will help you negotiate like a franchise veteran.
3 Key Skills You MUST Master to Negotiate Like a Franchise Veteran:
- Patience – The power of patience cannot be understated. It is really important in negotiating because in complex negotiations, many times, it’s your long game that counts. Complex negotiations can take a REALLY long time to close. I’ve worked on several negotiations that took longer than 6 months to close (not from the first interaction – the actual contract negotiation). So understanding that it can be a long game is critical. Don’t force decisions, allow them to be made. In this age of instant gratification, we’re very used to getting whatever we want as soon as we want it. In negotiation, this can be a trap. Negotiations can be emotional and stressful situations, but if you are patient, you allow yourself the ability to slow the pace and think about your decisions and your strategy. When you are patient, you allow yourself the ability to think about the offer, think about the risks, and think about the ROI. And, of course, when you show patience and composure at the negotiating table, that patience and composure exudes confidence and control. And when you exude confidence and control, the other party lowers their expectations of concessions, you give yourself time to extract more information, and allow yourself to make better decisions.
- Ask Great Questions – The questions you ask are critical to extracting the information that you need for your negotiation. Question funneling (asking open-ended, then probing, then closed ended questions) will generate the right information that you need to a well structured negotiation and agreement. But just as important as what you ask, is how you ask it. You can ask anything you want as long as you use a question softener. For those of you who remember the days of Seinfeld you remember question softeners. “I’m just saying”. “I wonder if you’ve ever given any thought to”. Doing a little I do a little prelude, just a little thing, and then putting the question out there softens the impact of the question. Question softeners are important because they allow you to release tough, probing questions without the deflection that you’d get without the softener.
- Preparation – I spend A LOT of time dwelling on the power of preparation in the classes that I teach and the people that I coach. Preparation is EVERYTHING in a negotiation. How many of you have actually thought about what you want from a negotiation before you go into a negotiation. Have you thought about whether you want to increase/reduce price, reduce risk, enter a new market (and the price you’ll pay to do it), grow an account, fire a customer, or whether the negotiation aligns with your business goals. The more well prepared you are, the better your negotiation will go. Understanding your market, the party you are negotiating with, the risks in the deal, the math behind making the deal work, etc. All of that is a MUST HAVE REQUIREMENT in every negotiation you do. Yes, every negotiation. Even the small ones you don’t think are that important. Negotiation is a disciplined, strategic, formulaic approach to business and you should be treating it as such. The more you understand about the deal and the ways it could go (prior to getting into the negotiation), the better prepared you’ll be and the better deal you’ll get.
These 3 skills will take your negotiating ability to the next level. And even if you only focus on getting really really good at these 3 things and nothing else in negotiation, you will see dramatic differences in your negotiations and the results you get out of them. If you want to be a franchise kingpin, spend more time developing these 3 key skills.