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Is Your Development Team Always Thinking About The Next Step?

All businesspeople need to have the next steps on their minds. 

Even if that next step doesn’t mean a sale, what matters most is taking forward looking action. Creating value for your customers, building long term relationships, and when it’s possible, using modern communication to do so.

As a hypothetical case study, today we’re going to pretend you’re the head of development for an emerging fitness franchise brand called Knockoutz. Your new boxing gym opportunity offers individual and group boxing, cardio kickboxing and training classes. We even designed a fake logo to get you into the mindset:

Recently, you opened your first location in Philadelphia, and you’d like to open more stores next year to grow the brand footprint in the northeast.

Here are how the steps play out in the arenas of sales, service and growth, and what actions you can take to create value along that process.

The Next Step in Sales

Once someone fills out the lead form on your website, the major next step is to have a real conversation with that person. To do so, you’ll want to have text messaging automation in place in order to create an instantaneous connection between the lead and Knockoutz

At FranFunnel, we have the benefit of years of data across hundreds of businesses that text, and thousands of real conversations. This asset gives us a deep understanding of the intricacies of what it means to use messaging as a tool for success.

And since we know what compels your leads and customers to take action, and what does not, here’s how you can create value in the sale next step of your imaginary fitness brand: 

  • Introducing yourself and explaining why you’re texting about Knockoutz.
  • Asking a short question that’s easier to answer: “Which time works best for you?”
  • Avoid putting any links in intro texts (don’t want to be flagged as a text spammer!)
  • Including personal touches by customizing initial outreach (“Time to punch up!”)
  • Communicating proactively and prolifically during the complex discovery process

We also recommend that you run simple tests for your outreach messages. FranFunnel has a feature called Text Message Testing (TMT), which helps you learn which of your texts are performing best, and from then on your sales process will be stronger. Make sure to look at your average contact rate, see how it measures up, and take actions accordingly so you’re thinking about optimizing your next steps.

Lastly, we recommend reading FranFunnel’s Inaugural Text Message Beauty Pageant, with use cases, to give ideas for what the various types of good texts look like and which will make you better at the next step in selling Knockoutz.

The Next Step in Service

Once your lead has become a franchisee of your boxing gym (which they will, since you’re such a rock star salesperson), the next major step is to help them become a successful franchisee. 

This is where your franchise has a chance to add educational value to new owners. Once again, we recommend using the powerful and personal medium of texting to deliver a surplus of support to help your Knockoutz franchisees thrive:

Several more (minor) next steps at this service phase might include:

  • Making sure other team members including franchise business directors, regional marketing directors, and operations specialists reach out via text to connect as well

  • Assuring newly awarded franchisees know that you’ve got their backs and commit to providing reliable, timely information about relevant information on fitness trends

  • Helping new business owners adapt to rapidly changing circumstances that could affect their fitness studio, i.e., evolving CDC safety guidelines during the pandemic.

  • Reminding customers about upcoming managers about your parent organization's training programs, regional roundtable meetings and new digital resources.

Remember, just because a lead already signed a contract doesn’t mean you’re done with them. You have to think about customer lifetime value. Like the waiter who keeps refilling your ice water even after you’ve paid, it’s all about setting a foundation to prepare for the next stage of a deeping, long term relationship. Restaurants thrive on repeat business, and the fitness industry is no different.

The Next Step in Growth

So far we’ve discussed thinking about the next step in sales and customer service. But once you have an ongoing relationship with franchisees, those brave small business owners must know you’re committed to providing ongoing support so everyone can share in Knockoutz’s success.

Juice It Up, a smoothie, bowl and juice franchise, exemplifies a successful brand that is always thinking about the next step. They published a terrific article about how they help their franchisees stay positioned to win. 

According to their director of operations, they have five operations managers that are on the support team that are available to the franchisee seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and work with franchisees on several different aspects of the business. 

Whether it’s understanding a profit and loss statement or getting involved with the local community, they’ve got somebody with them and for them in every area of their business.

Are your franchisees receiving white glove support like that? And if so, how are you using text messaging to help them do so? 

Imagine how comforting and valuable it would be if your Knockoutz owners had someone they could send a bat signal to during difficult situations to help triage the inevitable problems of running a fitness franchise. That’s added value. 

Naturally, the goal here is expansion. If you want to grow your chain of specialized boxing gyms around the country, then you must equip your owners. If they are going to feel comfortable expanding to more locations, this is precisely the kind of forethought required.

There is no such thing as multi-unit owners who don’t have regional support to provide them with ongoing business coaching.

Remember, all businesspeople need to have the next steps on their minds. Even if that next step doesn’t mean a sale. 

Today we’ve brainstormed three next steps in the sales, service and growth of a hypothetical fitness brand, Knockoutz, but that business could have easily been a restaurant, cleaning company or automotive franchise. 

The question is, what forward looking actions you’re prepared to take to create value along that process, and what modern medium of communication you’ll use to do it.

Scott Ginsberg is Head of Content at FranFunnel. His favorite fighting movie is 1991's The Best of the Best, staring Eric Roberts.

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