Jargon Busters: Understanding the Most Common Sales Lingo in Franchising

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Whether you’re a franchisor planning to sell business units or a new franchisee targeting customers, understanding sales terms can help you communicate effectively. Here are some of the most common sales lingo terms you’ll come across in the franchise industry. 


Even if you prefer to avoid sales jargon, knowing the key terms will help you avoid misunderstanding colleagues and business partners when it comes to running a franchise. Keep reading if you want to know how to understand sales speak. 

Sales lingo - key terms explained

  • BANT - An acronym meaning ‘Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline’. Unless someone has all four, they probably won’t buy your product. 

  • Bluebird - A metaphor describing an unexpected yet high-quality sales opportunity.

  • Business to business (B2B) - A method of describing a franchise if its key customer base is made up of commercial entities.

  • Business to consumer (B2C) - A method of describing a franchise if its key customer base is made up of individual members of the public.

  • Buying signals - Indications suggesting someone is ready to invest in your product or service, including verbal and non-verbal cues. 

  • Churn rate - A calculation measuring a business’s customer retention levels. It takes into account the proportion of people who stop buying from the company within a specific time period. 

  • Conversion - Someone who takes a specific action, such as buying a product or subscribing to a newsletter. 

  • Conversion rate - The number of people who take a specific action out of all the people who visit a website or webpage. For example, you might try to calculate a conversion rate when you want to know the proportion of your website visitors who fill out your contact form. 

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC) - The amount of money you spend in the process of encouraging someone to buy your product. The lower the cost, the better. 

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software - A digital solution to help businesses keep track of customer data and nurture relationships. Certain products can process information, analyse buyer behaviour and distribute data through a business’s various departments. 

  • Deal flow - The rate at which a business identifies sales opportunities - not to be confused with conversion rate, which refers to people who actually make a purchase.

  • FAB - An acronym meaning ‘Features, Advantages, Benefits’. Some people find it useful to use this phrase as a reminder of their product’s key selling points when pursuing leads and talking to prospective buyers. 

  • Forecasting - Using accurate data to predict a business’s future performance. You can use this method to determine customer behaviour, sales patterns, revenue or franchise growth.

  • Gatekeeper - A term used to describe someone who acts as a go-between for the seller and buyer. In practice, a sales professional might resent a gatekeeper in the form of a personal assistant who prevents them from speaking to a business owner directly.

  • Lead - A sales opportunity for a business. In other words, a franchise becomes aware of a ‘lead’ when a person or organisation makes them aware of their interest in buying a product.

  • Land and expand - A phrase describing a business’s ambition to grow its customer base. A franchise ‘lands’ a sale when they convert a lead into a customer; then, it ‘expands’ that sale by getting them to spend even more with the business.

  • Mark-up - The difference between the cost of providing a product and the amount it sells for.  

  • Marketing qualified lead (MQL) - A person or company identified as a potential customer by the marketing department after they indicate an interest, such as making multiple website visits or completing a contact form.

  • Non-sales-related activities (NSA) - Tasks completed by a sales team or other worker that don’t directly lead to sales, such as admin or market research. 

  • Pipeline - A metaphor describing potential sales; some people like to picture a pipe continually drip-feeding the business with new leads. 

  • Puppy dog close - A phrase used to illustrate the process of offering potential customers to sample a product with the intention of encouraging them to make a purchase further down the line. Ideally, just as most people would hate to give away a puppy after spending time with it, customers would want to continue using the product. 

  • Return on investment (ROI) - The amount of money a business generates on top of the initial payment they made. 

  • Sales funnel - A common metaphor for the imaginary journey a customer makes before buying a product or service. They start off at the top of the funnel (TOFU), demonstrating an interest in the business and allowing the marketing team to start nurturing a relationship. Gradually, they move towards the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) as they become increasingly likely to part with their money. Like a funnel, the number of people at each stage of the journey gets smaller and smaller. 

  • Sales qualified lead (SQL) - A person or company identified as a suitable potential customer by the marketing department. A SQL fits the business’s customer criteria and is likely to make a purchase.

  • Tyre-kicker - Someone who doesn’t fit a business’s customer criteria and isn’t able to buy its product or service. Although they may be genuinely interested, they can waste the company’s time. 

  • Upselling - The process of getting an existing customer to spend more money with the business by persuading them to upgrade to a superior product or service. 

Enhance your knowledge of running a franchise business

If you’re running your own business, it’s not just franchising sales lingo you should understand. Explore our other Jargon Busters articles to learn about the key terms used across all areas of entrepreneurship. Just use the search box to get started. 

You can also find more information on topics like customer conversion and performance marketing in our handy business guides. Every day, we publish data-driven articles on all aspects of running a franchise. Browse our most recent publications or search for your chosen subjects.

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