July 2014 Archives

The 2014 International Franchise Expo - IFE- is over. 

You walked away with a bunch of leads from people interested in your franchise offering. Terrific!

What's not so terrific is you haven't enough of those interested franchisees to the top of your franchise sales funnel.

You felt good at the close of the IFE -thinking about all the new franchise recruits. People who expressed genuine interest at the show. But, now they seem to have lost that interest.

I know you send them email follow ups that get no response. 

And now August is upon us.

It's summer fun time for most people. Retailers are advertising Back-to-School offers. The little voice in the back of your head is saying just wait till September and people will get back into the business mode.

We both know that little voice is helping you make an excuse. Don't listen to it. Ignore it.

Now is the time get your IFE inquiry list, schedule the calls, and make them.  Every last one of them.

Franchise sellers ask me how many times do I call these people before giving up? Or I don't want to be a pest or be a bother to people.

You're not a bother, you are a resource.

Remember, these are people who took the time and effort to go to a franchise show. A place where franchises are offered for sale. You shook their hands and talked with them  So you keep calling until they say "yes".

Here's what you need to get this done.

Two kinds of scripts.

1. Your voice mail script. Yes voice mail because most of the time you will get voice mail. Either because the person is busy or they screen their calls. That's okay because you are going to use your killer scripts written just for voice mail. Scripts that peak their interest & get them to call you back.

2. Top of your sales funnel script. Your only job here is to get them to commit to the next step and schedule it right then and there. Remember you're not asking them to buy today. But you are finding out if their interest is strong enough to advance through your franchise sales process.

These calls are tedious and tiring.  I know.  But with the right preparation and persistence you'll sell more franchises.

If you don't do it you'll hate yourself in the fall. There won't be enough time for candidates to buy your franchise before year's end.  Start working on calls, now.

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Many customers need education or training before you can sell them your product or service.

And, they need to see themselves using your product or service before you can sell to them. The education or training of your customers or probable customers is done through a nurturing program.

Top of Mind Programs

A nurturing program can have a modest goal - to remain top of mind with a group of customers who will be in the market for your services or products.

From 1963-1977, Joe Girard sold an amazing number of cars-- 13,001 in his 15 year career! More than 6 cars a day, day in day out, for 15 years. 6 cars a day is more than many entire dealerships do.

How did he do it? He hand wrote and mailed greeting cards to everyone on his list. Regularly, once a month, if you were on Joe's list, you got a greeting card from Joe saying: "I Like You."

Joe Girard was simply reminding people that when it came to buying a car, Joe was thinking about them. Not a long or overcomplicated message. Not a message about cars, either. Just a reminder.

Effective, in part, because it was so time consuming. Joe's list at the end of his career was over 16,000 names & addresses. Girard's messages, all hand written, all sent by mail, like clockwork each month.

Shows a certain doggedness or relentlessness, don't you think? Probably trust a guy like that to get you a good deal.

Nurturing Programs

There is nothing wrong remaining top of mind for the right message. Indeed, you have to start with a Top of Mind program, or set of tools.

But, more modern nurturing programs go beyond just being top of mind. They are designed to establish you as an expert in the eyes of your customers, prospects and a "community of interest".

Modern nurturing programs aslso try to expand the reach of your message from customers to people just like your customers - but who aren't sold, yet.

Business Example - Premier Automotive - Standard Use of Customer List

For example, suppose you are an Premier Automotive trying to build out your business by sending out a coupon monthly for a discounted oil change.

oil 2.pngThere are (4) things wrong with this strategy.

1. You are building customer traffic, but not retaining enough of them to make up for the price of the discounts

2. You are training your current customers to be disloyal or shop solely on price.

3. You are not reaching past your customer list - nobody is going to share their coupon into their own network.

4. Finally, being top of mind for the annnoying message - get an oil change- is not where you want to be.

Nurturing Message

On the other hand, you could try this type message - send this to your current customer list, with the offer on the left hand side.

This message is intended to establish you as an authority beyond their own customer list.

When should you buy more more expensive oil for your car?

oil change.png

Science has confirmed what many NASCAR teams already know: synthetic oils last longer, provide better protection and form less sludge and deposits.

The protection or greater performance was much greater in two situations:

1. Start-ups. or;
2. Extended highway driving.

But, when does it make sense for you to buy the more expensive synthetic oil because it lasts longer, provides better performance?

Well, a simple calculation is that if you plan to drive your current car for more than 100,000 miles, it makes sense to purchase synthetic oil, now.

And, at Premier Automotive, we have both types of oil and we would be happy to to explain in more detail to you in person which oil is right for you. ( A hyper link to a longer & objective scientific discussion.)

This nurturing message is more likely to convert casual customers into loyal & interested customers than simply sending a discount coupon on a monthly basis.

Which do you think will work better? Discount alone or discount with objective story about when to change your oil - especially if the story is sent out on a timely basis?

(Source Idea: - Tom's Sant Language of Success pages 189-190)

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

That is a question we should all be asking.

Then we should decide if the answer matters to us or our business. 

If you are Erbert and Gerbert's Sandwich Shops and a Subway franchisee is going to several of your locations buying and tasting your sandwiches, there isn't much you can do about that.

But if you are Erbert and Gerbert's Sandwich Shop and Subway's HR person calls your best development person, or contacts them through LinkedIn for an interview, you need to ponder that dilemma and decide if and how to combat it.

We are in an age of lots of connection!  Do you have employees sending out resumes from the office computer? You can track that. Are they posting their resume on LinkedIn with notes such as "Looking for Job Opportunities"?  That's another matter. 

There is always the standard non-compete agreement which you can ask an employee to sign upon hiring.  Make sure the agreement is legal and protects you from the things that matter.  No need to put a bunch of items in that you can't enforce and do not matter to you and your business. 

I've always found in my thirty years in franchise PR, that an employee that is gone should be gone.  In other words, even if they seemed ideal, if they can be stolen, they shouldn't be in your shop. If you've let them go and they end up at a competitor, well that's his/her new headache, and no longer yours.  You know why you terminated them. Let your competitor find out too!

Then there is the matter in our case of clients stealing employees. I use the word "steal" but can they really do that? It's a human being.  Is it ethical? No   Is it legal? Yes, unless you have a non-compete agreement worded properly that forbids that action.  Even then you can ask for no more than a year-long reprieve. The upside? You got rid of a client with questionable character and an easily bought, disloyal employee.

My favorite is when you have been working with a company for years; they see how well you are doing and decide to go into your industry, in our case PR, by shopping your business or your competitors' for people.  

This scenario teaches you so much about people, loyalty and business that any possible damage that can be done by the occurrence is totally exceeded by the brilliant lessons you learn from it.

In this scenario, they likely end up with all the industry misfits that couldn't make it at the competitors' shops and really, when you look at all the pieces together, what's missing is the burning passion and talent that drove you to start your own PR firm, franchise service business, restaurant chain, consulting business, whatever you have created that built a name for you to begin with.

In other words, don't sweat it. The joke's on your competitor!

While I'm a complete believer in franchise-wide social media systems, you simply may find that you buy into a franchise without something in place.

That means it's left to you. So, what are you going to do about it?

Well, for starters, you have to commit to just doing it. With or without franchisor support, social media is a place you need to be.

And...it does not have to be as difficult or as time-consuming as you think. Here's a simple 6-step process to get you started.

Step 1: Determine which platforms to use.

You do NOT have to participate on every social network. That would be insanity. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are my customers engaging on this social network?
  2. Are my customers talking about my industry on this social network?
  3. Is my competition here, and are they engaging with their customers here?

If yes to these, you should likely be there. However, take one step at a time. Choose the one where your audience is most engaged with your industry and start there.

Step 2: Setup your social networks.

Get as much for your franchisor as you can, and make sure you have well-branded images that are sized appropriately for the space. Your social channels are a reflection of your franchise. They need to look the part.

Step 3: Create your content strategy.

Consider what type of content will get your audience engaged. You want to inspire them, entertain them, inform them and give them useful content that is beneficial. Your content should be related somehow to your franchise (remember these are not personal posts here). However, you'll want to limit promotional activity and keep it helpful and fun instead. Content to consider includes:

  • Articles (think of blog posts from your corporate website, for example)
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Quick tips
  • Memes (text on top of a photos - http://shareasimage.com is a great tool for these)
  • Quotes
  • Statistics
  • How-to's
  • SlideShare presentations
  • Infographics
  • Testimonials
  • Stories
  • News
  • Jokes (in good taste and industry-related, of course)
  • Cartoons

And there's so much more.

My recommendation is that you choose 1 day a week and you create your content for the upcoming week. That way, instead of sitting there each day beating your head against your desk because you can't think of what to post, at least you'll only need to beat your head one day instead of all 7.     Plus, you get in the creation zone and it takes much less time this way.

Step 4: Distribute your content to social networks.

Remember that different users on different social networks want different things. So, you won't post the exact same content on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For example...Choose lots of images, videos, and fun, engaging conversation-starters for Facebook. Quick tips, articles, and multi-media go over well on Twitter. On LinkedIn, post helpful information from articles and other professional resources like SlideShare.

To make the content distribution manageable so that you're not tied your computer to post content all the time, use a tool like http://www.hootsuite.com to schedule your content in advance. It's a huge time-saver.

Step 5: Provide customer service.

Make sure that your notifications are set to send you emails if someone mentions you or comments on your page or post. Then make sure to respond in a timely manner. This is essential.

Step 6: Engage with your audience.

Social media is not a "set it and forget it" type of thing. Every day you need to log on and pro-actively engage with your audience.

Take a look at what your network is talking about, and talk back. Retweet some posts that your supporters have made. Like some other companies' Facebook posts. Answer a question in LinkedIn. You have to be present in order for it to be meaningful.

However, you don't have to be present all day long. Set a timer. Really. Log on, engage for 5-10 minutes, and log off. Save the personal social media chit-chat for off-work hours.

While it may be overwhelming at first, once you get into the groove, you CAN do this! Hopefully your franchisor will jump on board soon. In the meantime, don't wait. Do what you need to do for your business...social media engagement is one of those things.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2014 is the previous archive.

August 2014 is the next archive.

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