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Buy the Right Franchise for You: Don't Get Fooled by These 8 Underhanded Sales Tactics

A good franchisor wants to make a deal that works for both parties -- but a lot of them just want to make a quick sale.

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Buying a franchise is a big investment -- and that's why I always encourage my clients to complete a thorough due diligence process when deciding whether to buy one. You want to take your time to make sure that your decision is a good one and that you are likely to reap the rewards of your hard work.

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Sometimes, however, those who sell to franchise prospects are interested in just the opposite; they want a quick sale, which in turn, makes them a quick buck. It's important to be wary of these people because they do not have your best interests at heart. They are trying to fool you into a bad deal.

Don’t get fooled. Here are eight signs it's time to look elsewhere:

1. High-pressure sales tactics

One of the most common quick-sell tactics you will encounter is the high-pressure sale. This is a situation in which the salesperson makes you feel that if you don't act immediately, you will lose out on a great opportunity.

If you find yourself in a situation where you feel pressure to buy, take a step back and think about why you are feeling this way. Is there a genuine reason why a decision should be made quickly, or is it a pressure tactic? A good franchisor will want to make sure it is a good fit for both parties. If your franchise discovery process is starting to feel like a used car lot, it's time to get out.

Related: 5 Affordable Franchises You Can Start for Less Than $10,000


2. Promises of success

At least one thing is certain in life: Nothing is certain. Anyone who guarantees success when trying to sell you a franchise is lying to you. Entrepreneurship takes hard work, dedication and lots of due diligence. If someone is making you promises they can't keep, they are trying to make a quick sale.

3. Limited options for due diligence

One of the most important parts of the due diligence process is calling other franchisees. Once you finish the initial calls with the franchisor and reviewed the franchise disclosure documents (FDD), it is time to speak with franchisees. 

If the franchisor tells you to only call franchisees on an approved list, beware. This is a sales technique called steering. When a franchisor steers you toward their songbirds, they are hoping you will be satisfied and choose not to speak with all the other franchisees. As we discuss in The Educated Franchisee, though, the only way to understand a franchise system is to speak with a wide variety of franchisees.

4. Wide net

One quick-sell tactic involves appealing to as many people as possible in order to make the sale. If you are invited to any kind of seminar or webinar designed to inform you about a franchise opportunity, my advice is to stay away.

These people do not care who buys their franchise or if the sale is a good fit for both the franchisee and franchisor. All they care about is the sale, and their strategy is to get enough people in a room that, hopefully, at least one of them will take the bait.

Do not take the bait.

Related: Just How Much Does It Cost to Own a Fast-Food Franchise?

5. Amazing claims

If the salesperson you are speaking with continually brags about how much money their franchisees are making or how much profit the business pulls in, you are most likely dealing with someone trying to make a quick sale at your expense. A true entrepreneur will know that only their hard work will make the business what it is, and success stories are simply shiny distractions.

Stick to your due diligence, look over the FDD, interview franchisees and decide on your own terms whether or not the franchise is worth your investment.

6. New models

One of the best sales tactics in any industry is to make your customer feel special, and franchising is no different. If a franchise salesperson tells you that even though the franchise has a high failure rate, but it's okay because you're better than other franchisees -- or that now they have a new business model -- don't listen to another word. If your due diligence is telling you this isn't a financially sound choice, move on to other opportunities.

7. Promises that it won't take up much time

Most people love the idea of making as much money for as little work as possible, and can you really blame them? In a perfect world, this sounds like an awesome deal. But we aren't in a perfect world.

Anyone who promises you'll make extra money in your spare time by becoming a franchise owner is using a quick-sell tactic. Business ownership is perfect for some people, but it certainly isn't easy, and anyone who tells you otherwise is only trying to make a sale.

Related: 5 Low-Cost Franchises You Can Start for as Little as $4,000

8. No-brainers

At the end of the day, YOU are the one who is making this important decision. If a franchise salesperson is trying to convince you that buying his franchise is the obvious choice, it's time to back away. Trust your due diligence, not the person whose job it is to sell you a franchise. Only you can make this investment, and therefore, only you can be the one to decide what is the right franchise for you.

Rick Bisio

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Rick Bisio is the Amazon-bestselling author of The Educated Franchisee, a leading franchise coach with FranChoice, the co-host of Rick Bisio's Franchise Focus, and the creator of the FDD Exchange and the Franchise Glossary. Since becoming a franchise coach in 2002, Bisio has assisted thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs nationwide explore the dream of business ownership. Prior to joining FranChoice, he was the director of international development at AFC Enterprises, the parent company of Popeye's Chicken, Church's Chicken, Seattle's Best Coffee and Cinnabon, establishing locations in more than 30 countries.