Look out, there’s a comedian about

I’ve never worked with such a mixed group of new franchisees as I have over the past couple of days.

Let me give you an outline of the group I’ve had on my sales and marketing course:

Bono.  Yes, Bono.  Or, more accurately, a professional Bono look-a-like.  Now, this was no ordinary professional look-a-like… mostly because he did actually look like the said celebrity!  No, seriously, he really did.  He had a picture of him and Bono together and I couldn’t tell them apart.

The young jack the lad.  Well, jack the lad was my prejudice and turned out to be completely unfair.  He was young (I got that bit right), only 20, and he looked like a jack the lad.  But he was conscientious, hard working and recognised that he had a great opportunity to build a proper business.  What I really liked about the guy was that when he ballsed up one of the video role plays we were running, he was really annoyed with himself because he knew he could do better.  In fact, he was so annoyed, he asked if he could put himself through the whole traumatic experience again.

The twenty year sales and marketing veteran who knew everything about sales.  (He didn’t say that, it was another one of my prejudices).  The issue was that, whilst was very good: fluent, credible and experienced, much of his experience was fifteen years out of date.  Nothing major, just a little manipulative on price and closing.  You know the sort of thing: I’ll increase my price by 20% so I can immediately bring it down if I’m challenged and using pre close questions like ‘Is there anything that would stop you signing up today?’

But, fair play, the guy was very good at analysing himself and striving to do better.

No, the real issue came with the comedian who didn’t take the process seriously.

It was a laugh for everyone to begin with, but I could see it was wearing a bit thin with those who hadn’t been in sales before and were trying to learn… after all, their livelihoods were at stake.

The problem was the comedian had a willing straight man and this made him worse and I made the somewhat catastrophic error of putting them both together in the role play.  The upshot was a very funny video, but one that, ultimately, probably didn’t help the guy too much.

I was reflecting on the course before writing this blog and I’m prepared to lay a bet that the comedian will be on the ‘phone in three months wondering why he’s not making the sales he should be.

My other reflection was this: thank God for franchising and the variety it gives me… it don’t ‘alf make my life interesting!

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