A three-step strategy that helps business owners and salespeople sell more, sell easier, sell differently, and have the competition sleeping with the fishes (see what I did, there?)

A good friend of mine, client, and owner of an emerging restaurant chain just started franchising. He asked how he could sell franchises more effectively – especially since his brand isn’t well-known outside of Southern California yet. 

I shared this strategy – called The Godfather Technique (after reading this, I’m wondering if you can figure out why). And although this advice is tailored toward franchising, it’s relevant to any sales situation. 

First, make a list of all of your service providers – past and present. Even if it’s not related to your business, if you’ve ever gave a vendor payment for any services or products, they go on this list. 

In my restaurant owner friend’s case, it included his:

  • Food distributor(s)
  • Paper goods supplier(s)
  • Cleaning supplies company
  • Cleaning companies
  • CPA
  • Financial advisor
  • Insurance agent(s)
  • Attorney(s)
  • PR company
  • Marketing firm
  • Payroll processor
  • Merchant services processor
  • Franchise development company
  • Retail real estate agents (for both his corporate and franchised locations)
  • Banker(s)
  • Construction company
  • Landord

I recommended that he go through his Quickbooks and find where his expenses went. 

Next, remind those vendors and ask for a favor. Send them each a message that you are glad to give them business, and ask if they could do you a favor (and mention this favor will probably give them more business).

Ask if you could host a virtual talk, podcast interview, and/or write a case study – and distribute it to their audience – covering topics of relevance and value.

In my friend’s case,  he would talk about how he handled COVID, lessons learned, and tips for his fellow small business owners. He would also talk about his decision to franchise, so that he and his franchisees could be of service during the downturn and build wealth when everything is at a discount – real estate, construction, and so forth. And he would also offer a free gift for attending and providing an email address – like an anti-recession checklist, or free catering for local businesses. 

Seven things happen, here.

  1. When you ask your service providers for a favor, the word “favor” subconsciously shows them they have value and and gives them power. Naturally, they want to exert their power – so might as well use it to help you. That, and people want to help. 
  2. You get to subtly show off that your company is a strong, recession-proof business.
  3. You get to teach and overall help people. In this case, the audience was small business owners, and who would be perfect candidates for franchising.
  4. You get people interested in learning more about your business, and how you are the best solution or opportunity. 
  5. You can now access your new audience member’s sphere of influence, too. 
  6. Now you have video and digital content for future use – be it PR, social media posting, getting onto other mediums like podcasting, magazines, etc.
  7. Your service providers would love to get more business, and it gives them a reason to reach out to their customer base. In this case, my friend’s real estate agent has tenants of other businesses who might want to expand. His CPA or financial advisor knows who has capital available to deploy. His food supplier will absolutely like to get more accounts. You get the picture. 

Finally, eat the elephant, one bite at a time. To prevent yourself from being overwhelmed, schedule to talk to one service provider a day. And choose one day out of the week to create the case study or talking points for your talk. 

And if you haven’t figured it out by now, I call this strategy The Godfather Technique, because since you’ve already given these service providers your business – in effect, doing them a favor – it’s now time for you to come around and collect a favor. They owe you. 

AND, if you communicate this proposal effectively, it’s an offer they can’t refuse, because it helps them look like a heroic value-adder to their network, as well as give them a chance to earn more business.

Go forth, and make a movie masterpiece of your business!

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