A letter from the founder of FBA & FTI
Long ago, when I was looking for a franchise to purchase, I came across the opportunity to become a Franchise Broker. I had never heard of a Franchise Broker or Consultant before so I was intrigued by the profession. I enjoyed looking for franchises to buy and when I found out how much the referral fees were for matching qualified buyers to great franchises, I became very interested. I love business and thrive in the face of opportunity, so I knew this was going to be something I would enjoy.
I was right. Franchise Brokering has all the components of a great business, flexible schedule, high dollar transactions, professional, low competition, new enough that there are many channels of opportunity untapped and yet not so new that there are impossible barriers and testing to overcome. I, like many before me and after me that were searching for a franchise, decided franchise brokering was the best opportunity out there for me.
I dove head first into the business and was met with immediate success. However, I was spending an inordinate amount of time doing research, testing the market and working with candidates who would suddenly disappear. I got very little help from the group I joined. I was a bit surprised by that, but I am someone who people call a “fixer”. Whenever someone tells me they have a problem, I “obsess” about it until I come up with a number of solutions to fix it.
The tools and resources in which I had access to conduct business were so basic, boring and useless, I decided to create my own. I’m not trying to be negative. I just have very high standards and I was dealing with sophisticated buyers. I wasn’t about to give them information that would quickly destroy my credibility. So I built presentations, a database, and a total back end system to help me be more efficient and impress my buyer. I also assembled a team of well-known franchise professionals. I used that team to not only help my own business but to also offer extra services and benefits to my buyers.
I made a name for myself very quickly. Any time I was at a Franchisor’s training event, I would be surrounded by brokers asking me questions about how I was getting effective results in conducting this business. I started helping those brokers and spending a great deal of time supporting them.
I loved being a franchise broker, but I hated seeing so many other brokers struggle.
I also experienced more and more franchises not wanting to work with brokers because they were getting a name and a phone number scribbled on a napkin as a referral. They were frustrated that the brokers weren’t helpful and were not giving them quality referrals. Franchisors had almost no reference material when being introduced to buyers and consequently, they didn’t have much success in the calls. After repeatedly hearing this, I decided I loved this industry too much to see it be damaged by improperly trained brokers. I didn’t want the reputation of brokers to be negative so I decided to do something about it. I pulled together my team and the Franchise Brokers Association was born.
We filled in all the gaps the franchise broker groups were missing. We built the FLS, a resource center and a full professional back end system. I was so excited and proud when I brought it to the groups. I was looking to partner with them to help improve the brokers and franchisors industry-wide.
I was a bit naive then because instead of embracing the idea of improving the industry and giving me a big hug, they shunned me. They didn’t want to change. They were content the way things were, doing as little as possible, as little as they could get away with. They didn’t take me seriously and didn’t think I was going to affect their scheme.
But they didn’t know who they were dealing with.
So, I persevered without the broker networks’ support and built the Franchise Brokers Association. Every year since then, we have made huge strides and advancements in the industry. Eventually, brokers asked us to do the training for them so they wouldn’t have to associate with the other groups at all. So we did. We offered an educational course on effective franchise brokering.
The thing that we are most proud of is that as we started to develop better tools, the other groups had to do the same in order to compete. I don’t believe their tools are anywhere near the quality of ours because it takes considerable time, creativity, money, and effort to make these tools and training exceptional. From their track record, they aren’t in this business to do that or they would have done it already. But We Are!
With the new threat to improve, they were at least doing something to make it marginally better for their brokers. Even a little bit is a help. But, we are doing what we set out to do. We are improving the industry, setting and raising standards and making this a better experience for everyone. We are a living example of how FREE MARKETS do work. Competition creates better products, services and businesses.
Not all broker groups are included in this story. Two of the major ones are included; we call them broker mills. One has since closed and renamed itself to avoid negative publicity under its old name. The broker groups that are franchises do a great job, the rest… buyer beware. We have created a combination system that takes the best elements from the franchise systems, without all the fees and expenses associated with it, and still gives the broker the freedom to control their business while being supported.
To wrap up this story, I need to add this. Recently the federal laws changed and stated that our initial training educational course was now considered a business opportunity, so we broke out that portion of the business into a company called the Franchise Training Institute. We did this in order to stay compliant with the federal and state laws, ultimately protecting our brokers. We wanted to keep the Franchise Brokers Association neutral so that our growth trajectory would be greater. That’s our story…..The honest, nitty, gritty story. I hope you liked it.
~Sabrina Wall CEO Franchise Training Institute