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What's in a Ranking? Plenty.


Clients ask me all the time how important rankings are.

Franchise Times, Entrepreneur, Franchise Business Review among others, all publish several franchise ranking lists per year. Here's my response.

Everything positive you can show about your system is a plus, clearly. The important thing is to participate-answer emails from publications or entities that tell you you are being considered for this list or that.

You can forward to your PR people, but much of the information will likely have to come from your CFO.

As a PR firm for franchises, we keep a list "alarmed" for the most popular and (and this is important) the most credible rankings.

Four months before the list is published we remind clients to look for an email, form or link that they need to go to in order to be considered for inclusion on the said list.

We will also happily vet a request for legitimacy which you can ask your firm or PR person to do as well.

You can Google the list and publication in question yourself.

Then I recommend you do this below: not with every one but certainly when you have amassed as many as this Number One in Home Inspection franchise has.

Go ahead. Toot your horn, but putting out a press release for every list you are mentioned on minimizes the weight of the honor. Announce two-three awards or rankings at a time and soon you will become the SuperStar in your category like Pillar To Post!



They Will Raise Veterans Discount from 10% to 20% on Franchise Fees

(TAMPA, FLA.) -- Pillar To Post Home Inspectors has achieved the highest position in the Top Franchise for Veterans ranking in Entrepreneur Magazine for 2016. This prestigious honor is the sixth such ranking from the famed business publication for Pillar To Post Home Inspectors. The company ranked as follows in the magazine's January edition of the Franchise 500: #1 in their category of Home Inspection, Best of the Best, Fastest Growing Franchise, Top Home Based Franchises and Top Low Cost Franchises. In addition, the booming chain has already awarded 70 additional franchises since January of this year.

"We couldn't be more thrilled with this honor," said Dan Steward, President & CEO of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors. "It says so much not only about how hard we've worked but how hard our franchisees have worked and maintained absolute integrity in their home inspections."

In addition, Pillar To Post ranks high in Franchise Business Review rankings. Franchise Business Review is a national franchise market research firm that performs independent surveys of franchisee satisfaction and franchise buyer experiences, examines the critical areas of a franchise system including training & support, operations, franchisor/franchisee relations, financial opportunity, and more. Its survey results deliver the unbiased facts about the overall health of a franchise system directly from today's franchise owners.

Pillar To Post has been named by Franchise Business Review's rankings of Top 50 in Franchisee Satisfaction, Top 30 among Home Service Franchises and Top Low Cost Franchise for 2016.

"We have been doing so well and are so honored to be named among Entrepreneur's Top Franchises for Veterans," said Eric Steward, Marketing Manager for Pillar To Post. "The veterans who join our system end up as top performers. Our business model and structure and culture seem to be a perfect fit for those leaving the military. As a result, we have recently added an additional 10% discount on our franchise fees for veterans, going from a 10% discount to a 20% discount for them.

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with over 550 franchisees, located in 48 states and nine Canadian provinces. Long-term plans include adding 500-600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit

Beyond excellent franchisee growth in 2015, Cincinnati-based Window Genie was also lauded by a number of business journals throughout the year.

Inc. Magazine recognized Window Genie as one of the fastest-growing businesses in the Cincinnati metropolitan area, in addition to placing it on the upper half of its annual Inc. 5000 listing of fastest-growing companies in the United States for the second year in a row.

Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Window Genie 170th on its annual Franchise 500 list for 2015, moving up 15 spots from 2014, cementing its place as one of the fastest-growing and top home-based franchises. Window Genie also placed 51st on Entrepreneur's top home based/ mobile franchises.

Franchise Business Review, a national franchisee satisfaction market research firm also placed Window Genie on its annual Top Franchises for Veteran's list. It is the only list of top franchises for veterans based on data from those who know best - the veterans who own them.

Window Genie's Founder and CEO Rik Nonelle said,

"This ranking is very important to us personally as we have a unique ability to give back to those who serve. We offer veterans additional territory at no cost when purchasing a franchise."

Nonelle continues, "These rankings are great but I most like achieving them for our franchisees, who are the most important part of our whole business structure."

Nonelle has made it HIS business to market to his franchisees, or, in other words, build internal programs that help them achieve great results. An example of one such program is an agreement made in April 2015 with 3M Company to provide a residential window film solution as part of the company's lauded Envision™ line of films.

window genie.jpgThe partnership provides Window Genie franchisees with the opportunity to service over 125,000 residential customers with window film that reduces fading, heat and glare, lowering utility bills. Window Genie's partnership with 3M is the result of two years of discussions between the companies.

In 2016, says Window Genie founder and CEO Richard Nonelle, the company has big plans for more programs that benefit franchisees and customers alike. "We will continue to focus on improving the experience between franchisee and customer," says Nonelle.

"This year we expanded our Your Holiday Lights program from three franchisees to 15 (this program is optional for those franchisees who wish to fill their winter months with an outdoor holiday lighting business) and continue to offer an incentive program for current owners who refer a new franchisee."

Window Genie's mobile search strategy, adds Nonelle, will be in full effect in 2016, which will entail an improved online presence and SEO enhancements to benefit owners.

"We have also been using the Franchise Navigator," said Nonelle. "I've learned the best thing I can give my existing franchisees are additional excellent franchisees coming aboard. We look for the same profile as my top performing franchisees. They deserve to have the brand continued to be bolstered by hard workers like themselves."

"The strength of your franchise system comes from the people who deliver your products or services. You could have the best business model and the best product or service, but if you sell your franchise or business opportunity to the wrong type of person you, they and the consumer will not receive what they expect from your brand," ​says Craig Slavin, Founder and President of Navigator System Solutions, owner of the Franchise Navigator.

Franchisors must focus on the human component part of growing their business. That means talent, skills, values and behavior! Create and "model" your high performing franchise owners. All inbound candidates should then be compared to this profile to determine if they are a good "fit" and can execute the franchise company's business model.

"A franchise sold to the wrong person is worse than not selling one at all," Nonelle agreed.

Window Genie aims to continue its growth in 2016, and Nonelle points to years of consistent annual expansion as proof that his plan is a sustainable one. This past year 15 new franchisees have joined the Window Genie system.

Window Genie franchisees can be found all throughout the United States, with target markets for growth for 2016 in Florida, Arizona, New York and California.

For 22 years Matthew Byrne worked in the building automation controls industry, where he last managed a $20 million branch contracting business. There he worked with energy efficiency products, gaining a keen insight into an industry that has a demonstrated impact on energy use and utilities. That, he said, is what drew him to LED Source. According to LEDinside retrofitting and other LED lighting projects will be a $25 billion industry by the end of this year.

"When I learned about the energy-efficiency capabilities of LED lighting, the excellent quality of the light produced and the longevity of the products, I became truly enthused," said Byrne. "Because LED lighting is an emerging technical industry, it reminds me of the early days of the direct digital controls revolution that occurred back when I first started. It was very exciting; with LED Source, I found I could recapture that magic."

The magic that Byrne seeks was further inspired by work with current partner Nate Byelick, Byrne's brother-in-law. Together the two worked with an LED startup company where they installed LED fixtures. Inspired by this experience, they decided to reach out and find an LED business they could own and and control.

"After 22 years in my previous industry I realized it was time for a change," said Byrne. "I became determined to never again let my financial stability be determined by someone else and I wanted to be involved in an industry that was rapidly growing before my eyes. I also felt that because of this new technology we could actually have a real affect on the environment while enjoying making a living. At a certain point in your career, you say to yourself, "'what can I do to give back' "? For Byrne and Byelick, the answer was LED Source.

Founded in 2005 by Marcel Fairbairn and Gavin Cooper, LED Source® is North America's first franchisor of LED lighting. The company supplies high quality LED lighting products to a variety of spaces, and specializes in design, support, development, project management and financing through its Retrofit, Architectural, Entertainment and National Accounts divisions. In 2012, LED Source launched LouMan Money®, a private-labeled finance program that affords companies an LED lighting upgrade without tying up capital or using existing lines of credit.

With decades of experience in building automation, Byrne is keenly aware of the difference smart technology can have on a company's bottom line. "Businesses stand to save a lot of money when they employ LED lighting and quicker than they may think," said Byrne. "That's one of my favorite parts of being with LED Source: dispelling preconceived notions and helping businesses save money, while doing it in such a way that they're helping the environment, too."

Now operating LED Source of Raleigh Matt Byrne says every day is Earth Day. That's because as the area franchisee of LED Source Byrne provides the kind of state-of-the-art lighting solutions that are becoming the standard for environmentally conscious businesses to the Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham areas.

Currently, Byrne and LED Source of Raleigh are working with GRACE Christian School in the Raleigh area transitioning all of their standard lighting into LED lighting. "We are outfitting three main components of the school's campus, the elementary school, high school and sports field. The high school campus used to be an auto dealership so excessive lighting throughout the parking lots had to be changed. We started the initial reach out via a cold call. The rebates the school received from switching from standard lighting to LED more than covered the switch over for the parking lot so they decided to refit the entire campus as a whole which is a big and exciting project for both the school and us," said Byrne.

"Businesses stand to save a lot of money when they employ LED lighting and quicker than they may think," shared Byrne. "That's one of my favorite parts of being with LED Source: dispelling preconceived notions and helping businesses save money, while doing it in such a way that they're helping the environment, too. It's also great to go to work and know you are not only decreasing your carbon footprint but are helping others do the same."

For more information about retrofitting your business or franchising opportunities, please visit

As gift cards continue to rise in popularity among consumers, the regulations and laws that companies must follow in issuing and accepting them continue to increase as well.

Beyond the extensive requirements of the new federal gift card law - Regulation E - one of the issues just starting to gain traction with state legislatures is the idea of requiring retailers to give customers "cash back" on a gift card once the balance falls below a particular level.

New Jersey recently became the second state to formally join the movement when on July 29, 2012, Governor Chris Christie signed Senate Bill 1928 into law.

As of September 1, 2012, all retailers in New Jersey must allow any customer holding a gift card with a balance below $5.00 to redeem the gift card for cash upon request.

A violation can result in a statutory penalty of up to $500 per violation, so the failure to comply can get costly pretty quickly.

Notably, there are a few exceptions, such as the fact that retailers do not have to provide cash back if the initial value of the card was below $5.00, or if the card is redeemable at multiple unaffiliated merchants (such as a mall gift card). Otherwise, however, retailers in New Jersey must provide cash back to any customer who asks once the value of the card has dropped below $5.00.

Oregon is the only other state that currently requires retailers to provide cash back to customers on gift cards where the value has decreased to below $5.00, but similar legislation is also currently pending in Illinois, and has been considered in various other states during the past two years.

So, you can likely expect similar laws to continue to crop up elsewhere in the country. Until then, if you are not operating in Oregon or New Jersey, you are not required to provide customers cash back on your gift cards.

If you have question about this or any of the Federal Gift Card Regulations, please contact me for quick and practical advice.

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If you're a business owner, then of course you want to do everything you can to not only gain new customers, but to keep your existing customers loyal to you. Unfortunately, customer retention isn't always easy; customers may leave as a result of a bad experience with one of your employees, a bad product, or even a lower price offered by a competitor. While there are all kinds of customer retention strategies out there, there's one that's been proven to be the most successful.

Develop and Enforce KPIs Among Employees

Because the majority of customers who leave a business do so as a result of poor customer service, the single best thing that business owners can do to retain customers is to implement Key Performance Indicators (also known as KPIs) within the workplace. KPIs should be tied to a company's goals and should be easily measurable. They should also be included in each employee's contract.

Some examples of KPI's that can directly improve your customer retention rate are benchmarks such as:

  • Response time to customer inquiries.
  • Time between receiving and order and fulfilling it.
  • Ratings on customer surveys.
  • Quality control levels on finished products.
  • The actual measurement of your customer retention

At the end of each quarter, all employees should receive a KPI review; during this review, managers and supervisors can determine whether or not each employee is meeting those key performance indicators as outlined. If not, then corrective actions may need to take place, additional training may be required, or the employee may not receive a special bonus or incentive.

On the other hand, if KPIs are met, then the employee should be rewarded in some way, whether it be financially or even just giving him or her some form of recognition within the workplace.

How KPIs Improve Customer Retention

There are many ways in which implementing and tracking KPI requirements among employees can help boost customer retention in any business. For starters, employees will have a greater incentive to deliver service to customers that reflects the values and goals of the company. As a result, customers are more likely to be satisfied with their service. After all, an employee will know that he or she could be reprimanded for not delivering the level of service expected and will strive for excellence as a result.

When it comes to customer retention in your place of business, you need to do everything you can to keep your customers around so your company can be as successful as possible - this is good for you, your customers, and your employees. Therefore, if you don't have a KPI strategy in place among your employees, now is the time to start thinking about developing and implementing one.

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Storytelling, storytelling, and more storytelling.

Seems like every marketing book, blog (including mine if you've been reading this week's posts) and study is talking about how we should be using storytelling as a marketing technique.

I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, I think most attempts fall short.

Earlier this week -- I made the point that A) It seems that despite all the hype -- we're doing less real storytelling today and B) storytelling is hardly a new tactic.

Marketers clearly believe that storytelling is a critical component of their marketing efforts.

As you can see by the chart above, according to a previous B2B Content Marketing Trends survey conducted for Holger Schulze for Optify, 81% of respondents listed engaging and compelling storytelling as one of the three most important aspects of content marketing.

So -- no argument that marketing's version of storytelling is critical to a business' communications success.

The question is -- why are so many companies doing it badly and not experiencing the results they want?

The stories don't evoke an emotion: There's not a memorable story around that isn't seeded in emotions. For some businesses, especially those in the B2B sector, it's hard to imagine what emotions their products or services might trigger. That's because the marketers are staying at the features level of sales, not delving into the benefits that lie beneath.

It might be as simple as your prospect is afraid if they make a bad decision, it will cost them their job. Or it could be that what you sell is helping your clients fulfill their reason for existing -- which to them is very emotionally motivated. If you dig deep enough, you'll find the emotions behind your stories. Be sure you expose those in your storytelling so that your audience can relate to and empathize with the people in the tale.

The stories don't use data to lend credibility: As we discussed in my post about the Revolutionary War book -- what made those stories so dramatic and grabbing was the facts that were dotted throughout.

As the folks at the Content Marketing Institute points out in this blog post -- data can be used in a variety of ways to tell your story. Think visual data like an infographic or let the data suggest a new angle or insight for both you and your audience.

The story doesn't take us on a journey: In marketing's version of storytelling, we often take shortcuts to get to the big reveal. But in doing that, we rob the audience of the arc of the story. Every story is, in essence, a journey that chronicles the the problem, the fight to solve the problem and how things are better once the challenge is resolved.

But a great story lets the journey also help the audience see the motivations, frustrations and worries of the characters while they try to face the problem. The outcomes are also wrapped in more than just the tangible results. When the story is rich with details - we also learn more about the intangible results and ultimate value of delivering the right solution.

The story doesn't include a next step/call to action: Here's where most marketers really miss the boat. A well crafted story draws the audience in, helps them connect with the main character and feel their common pain. As the story evolves, the prospect is pulling for the character -- because in reality, the character bears a striking resemblance to them. They experience the ups and downs within the story and as the story delivers the happy ending -- the prospective customer is thinking and feeling relief and a desire to share in that sort of outcome.

So marketing's version of storytelling is all too often, a big tease. You led them right to the edge -- get them hungry for what you're selling but don't give them a clear and defined next step. Ask yourself -- what do I want them to do next and be sure you make it easy and quick to take that next action.

If you don't include this as a part of your storytelling -- the whole point of telling the story in the first place is wasted. You aren't a court jester earning your supper. You're trying to help someone decide whether or not you hold the answer to their problem. Once you demonstrate that you are the right choice -- be sure you give them a chance to tell you so.

What do you think? Can you tweak the way you're telling your company's story so that it drives leads and sales?

Drew's original post can be found as his blog Drew's Marketing Minute.

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Everyone wants to get a better return from their marketing spend at Trade Shows. Some companies are doing this extraordinarily well. How is your company doing?

Here are three tips on how companies are using sales 2.0 Strategies & Technologies to generate more leads, close more sales and take away business from your competitors at Trade Shows.

1. Pre Convention Marketing - Use a Robot.

Use a marketing automation system, which connects to your CRM system, to automatically perform a number of presale and follow-up tasks

You can gauge interest from the potential attendees before the convention by sending them educational and problem-solving material in videos via email. The material should be focussed on solutions and not slogans or sales.

2. At the Convention.

Use this time wisely. Don't have your marketing people scrambling to collect business cards, writing notes on them which will make no sense in 2 weeks to the sales force.

Have your marketing people engage with the attendees and get the attendees committed to registering for more information, to be delivered at a later date by email.

3. Post Convention Follow -Up Marketing Automation

Engage and follow-up with attendees at least 20 times before, during, and after the trade show.

Automate this process so that your salespeople can focus specifically on communicating with hot prospects rather than sending out emails and postcards.

Don't bombard attendees with overwhelming sales information. Instead, email them links to educational white papers, internet videos, and special reports that will produce a better educated customer.

Now, your hot prospects will request more information--but with no sales pressure. Your company will be considered an invaluable source of information.

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I was talking to a friend of mine who's in sales, and he was frustrated.

He shared with me that he continues to see the same pattern. He talks to a client, and he leaves them interested, but in the next meeting they tell him that they are no longer interested or worse than that, they do not even keep that scheduled meeting.

He is not in a one-step type sale. So, it is not that he cannot close. In fact, he is closing for the next appointment.

I asked him what's happening between those meetings.

He responded with "Tim, they perform their due diligence and determine what we are not."

What piece is missing?

In his case, the organization is not a strong national brand and they have little market presence in the area he is working in.

I was able to draw on some personal experience from just about twenty years ago. I was with an organization that was not a household name. In fact, they had international presence, but the network for the most part was weak.

The company wanted to change its image and decided to target much larger clients going forward. This would be like raising the Titanic. It may have seemed like a daunting task, but I began to re-write the companies record books.

My book of business was five years ahead of projections. I simply identified people who did not need the household brand name awareness but had needs that matched up with our strengths.

One of those strengths was our royalty structure. (Later,the company was sold and they eliminated that competitive advantage, as well as many of the proprietary tools.) I simply did not sell around our weakness, but stated what we were and what we were not. This worked.

My clients were among the top five percent quartile of our membership upon affiliation.

So, my advice was simple. I suggested after the needs analysis, share what you are not, which may or may not be obvious.

Rather than the client discovering this, be honest and upfront. Focus them on the needs that they have agreed on and that you have solutions for those challenges.

If you truly cannot match your value proposition to their needs, you must move on.

Even if you can sell around it, they will probably end up miserable. Soon, you will be too. There is nothing worse than an unhappy customer. They will not say, "It is not working for me." They will say "It just does not work."

Over 50 years ago a movie was released called Miracle on 34 street, by now you probably have seen it a hundred times. The main plot in the story surrounds the concept of Santa Claus and if he does exist.

Once agreed that he did exist,the question became was the man on trial the one and only Santa Claus?

In the early part of the movie you may recall that Macy's sent customers to Gimbels,which was all started by the Santa in question. As the publicity mounted, both stores ultimately embraced the concept. Soon, competition broke out to put the customer needs first.

While you can say 'well that may be good in theory or only the movies," we all appreciate an honest salesperson sending us someplace else to find what we really need.

Progressive Insurance even made a marketing campaign out sharing other's rates.

At the root of consultative selling isn't that at the very core?

I stopped asking people during an interview, "What is your approach to selling?" I always received the same answer and that was consultative selling.

A consultant does not keep asking questions until they find an opening. They identify an agreed upon problem and then help find a solution.

Sometimes, we do not have a fit.

Or we may have some of what they need, but it still does not match the client's real challenge. It is like having the right size shoe for the customer, but in the wrong color. They have to choose the shoe or the exact match. In some cases, they may be willing to adapt or make a change to make that product work.

So my advice is to find the right fit. There is no one size fits all. Do not be afraid of saying "That is not us.", and turn down the sale.

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Your customers hold the secret of lowering advertising costs and increasing revenue in the palm of their hands.

Text message marketing, being called the single most effective marketing medium of all time by some, is taking the world by storm and it's not hard to see why:

1. 91% of US Residents and 77% of the world population own a mobile phone with Text Messaging capabilities.
2. 97% of all Text Messages are read by the recipient within 3 minutes of being sent.

Can you imagine being able to reach your customer base within 3 minutes, any day of the week? The results can be amazing.

When leveraged properly, text messaging campaigns have seen response rates climb above 30%. This number alone can shed light on why 89% of major brands have been marketing on mobile devices since 2008.

The benefits of text message marketing do not just apply to the younger generation. According to M:Media , 39% of text Messengers in the United States are over 35 years old and 69% are over 25.

In a campaign targeting men and women ages 25-54, Carrabba's Italian Grill, hoped to achieve a 5% response rate for their text messaging efforts. The goal of the campaign was to have their current customers join a new appreciation club. Four weeks later with 443 responses, they had soared past that goal to a rate of 35%.

Restaurants are not the only industries to benefit from this type of marketing channel. In fact, marketing is not the only use for text messaging.

Fire and Rescue squads, stationed in Blaine, WA, lowered their operating cost by eliminating their pager bill completely. They were able to do this by utilizing text messaging.

As many people are discovering with their lack of internet presence, failure to act can be one of the most detrimental decisions made in business. Your competitors may not have already discovered this revenue increasing tool, but, with the exponential expected growth of mobile marketing, they are sure to do so soon. You cannot afford to miss this marketing phenomenon.

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

LED Source- the Franchisor's Vendor

My client LED Source is an awesome company that has now been valued very highly by the "right people".

They are a franchisor & also a vendor to franchisors, retrofitting lighting for great chains like Massage Envy and Starbucks.

We will ALL eventually need LED lighting so they are out there promoting themselves on both levels. They are a terrific futuristic franchise opportunity and at the same time franchisors and chains, such as Starbucks, need to be retrofitted with all new lighting.

But how to go after a Starbucks type entity when you think "hey I'm just a small company?"

Be a small company that ROARS!

If you can make an intelligent presentation as to the whys, wheres, how tos and in LED Source's case, the tax credits the customer will receive, you can pitch anyone. It just takes tenacity and an intelligent, succinct "pitch".

Window Genie- 3M Partnership

Another great example is another terrific client of Sanderson & Associates: Cincinnati based Window Genie.

Window Genie has reached an agreement with 3M Company to provide a residential window film solution as part of the company's lauded Envision™ line of films. The partnership will provide Window Genie, a franchise chain with over 200 units that provides window cleaning and window tinting to homes in more than 24 states, an opportunity to service over 125,000 residential customers with window film that reduces fading, heat and glare and can help lower utility bills.

Beginning April 1, Window Genie franchisees will offer the residential Envision™ film options that include clear view, glare control, sun block and shade offerings. The film options range from 70%-40% for total solar energy rejection (TSER), a quality which stands to save homeowners significantly on their utility bills.

Window Genie's partnership with 3M is the result of two years of discussions between the companies, initiated by Window Genie.

"We approached 3M two years ago actively seeking the partnership," said Ken Fisk, vice president of operations for Window Genie.

"We believed Window Genie's reputation as an established residential home service business put us in a great position to illustrate to 3M the value of forming a partnership with us.

Through two years of conversations pertaining to the opportunity 3M had to penetrate the residential market through a partnership with Window Genie, a company with over 125,000 residential customers in our database, both parties agreed it was mutually beneficial to move forward."

"The partnership is mutually beneficial," said Fisk.

"While Window Genie is able to further customer satisfaction by providing a highly recognizable brand of top quality window film, 3M is able to successfully penetrate the residential market and build brand awareness for their line of residential film among Window Genie's customers that span over 200 markets in 24 states."

For years 3M's line of Envision™ Wrap Films has been an industry favorite, earning commendations for its high performance, sustainable materials and comprehensive warranty.

Founded in 1994 by Rik Nonelle, Window Genie recently appeared on Inc. Magazine's 2014 Inc. 5000 list and on Entrepreneur Magazine's list of top 100 home-based franchises. The partnership stands to benefit Window Genie franchisees every bit as it will benefit customers," said Fisk.

"We look forward to improved training and support by providing one brand of film to our franchise partners," said Fisk. "We believe it will help streamline systems and enable growth with a more successful method of coaching throughout the entire Window Genie system."


Window Genie is a mobile cleaning services company focused primarily on its "big three" services: window cleaning, window tinting and pressure washing. The company also offers, among many other services, dryer vent cleaning, chandelier cleaning and gutter cleaning and re-securing.

Window Genie services primarily residential customers, as well as small offices and commercial spaces. The company currently has 72 franchise owners operating more than 200 units in 24 states, and expects to grow to 100 franchisees by the end of 2015 and over 300 within five years. Target markets include California, New York and Florida. For more information, visit


Founded in 2005, LED Source® is North America's first franchisor of LED lighting. The company supplies high quality LED lighting products to a variety of spaces, and specializes in design, support, development, project management and financing through its Retrofit, Architectural, Entertainment and National Accounts divisions.

In 2012, LED Source launched LouMan Money®, a private-labeled finance program that affords companies an LED lighting upgrade without tying up capital or using existing lines of credit. For more information and/or about franchising opportunities, please visit

Dear Family,

I'm not dead yet. Thanksgiving is still important to me. If being in my Last Will and Testament is important to you, then you might consider being with me for my favorite holiday. Dinner is at 2:00. Not 2:15. Not 2:05. Two. Arrive late and you get what's left over. 

Last year, that moron Marshall fried a turkey in one of those contraptions and practically burned the deck off the house. This year, the only peanut oil used to make the meal will be from the secret scoop of peanut butter I add to the carrot soup. 

Jonathan, your last new wife was an idiot. You don't arrive at someone's house on Thanksgiving needing to use the oven and the stove. Honest to God, I thought you might have learned after two wives - date them longer and save us all the agony of another divorce. 

Now, the house rules are slightly different This year because I have decided that 47% of you don't know how to take care of nice things. Paper plates and red Solo cups might be bad for the environment, but I'll be gone soon and that will be your problem to deal with. 

House Rules:

1. The University of Texas no longer plays Texas A&M. The television stays off during the meal.

2. The "no cans for kids" rule still exists. We are using 2 liter Bottles because your children still open a third can before finishing the first two. Parents can fill a child's cup when it is empty. All of the cups have names on them and I'll be paying close attention to refills. 

3. Cloe, last year we were at Trudy's house and I looked the other way when your Jell-O salad showed up. This year, if Jell-O salad comes in the front door it will go right back out the back door with the garbage. Save yourself some time, honey. You've never been a good cook and you shouldn't bring something that wiggles more than you. Buy something from the bakery. 

4. Grandmothers give grandchildren cookies and candy. That is a fact of life. Your children can eat healthy at your home. At my home, they can eat whatever they like as long as they finish it. 

5. I cook with bacon and bacon grease. That's nothing new. Your being a vegetarian doesn't change the fact that stuffing without bacon is like egg salad without eggs. Even the green bean casserole has a little bacon grease in it. That's why it tastes so good. Not eating bacon is just not natural. And as far as being healthy... Look at me. I've outlived almost everyone I know. 

6. Salad at Thanksgiving is a waste of space. 

7. I do not like cell phones. Leave them in the car. 

8. I do not like video cameras. There will be 32 people here. I am sure you can capture lots of memories without the camera pointed at me. 

9. Being a mother means you have to actually pay attention to the Kids. I have nice things and I don't put them away just because company is coming over. Mary, watch your kids and I'll watch my things. 

10. Rhonda, a cat that requires a shot twice a day is a cat that has lived too many lives. I think staying home to care for the cat is your way of letting me know that I have lived too many lives too. I can live with that. Can you? 

11. Words mean things. I say what I mean. Let me repeat: You don't need to bring anything means you don't need to bring anything. And if I did tell you to bring something, bring it in the quantity I said. Really, this doesn't have to be difficult. 

12. Domino's and cards are better than anything that requires a battery or an on/off switch. That was true when you were kids and it's true now that you have kids. 

13. Showing up for Thanksgiving guarantees presents at Christmas. Not showing up guarantees a card that may or may not be signed. 

If we all stick to that, we'll have a good time. If not, I'll still have a good time but it will be at your expense. In memory of your Grandfather, the back fridge will be filled with beer. Drink until it is gone. I prefer wine anyway. But one from each family needs to be the designated driver. 

I really mean all of the above. 

Love You, 


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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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!

Laurie Kulikowski the Retail & Small Business Reporter for Jim Cramer's wrote this article entitled - "Looking for an Investment? Here Are 9 of the Best Franchises in America"


Laurie is an actual financial reporter with financial news writing experience. She was with American Banker 2004-2006 and has been at the for the past 8 years.

And everyone interested in investing knows Jim Cramer the CNBC Mad Money host and founder of TheStreet.

Laurie wrote a nice article on the best franchises to consider investing in. She did her job.

The PR people and franchise sellers working for the some of the 9 franchises not so much.

Below is the list of 9 Best according to the article with what each franchise says about Average sales per unit and ROI.

Green Arrow Guy.jpg

5 of the franchise concepts listed have something they can use to sell franchises the 4 that made Financial Performance Representations don't. 

Here's what the 4 franchises who made reckless claims should do -

  • Stop getting compliance & legal advice on franchise marketing from PR people.

  • Show your franchise attorney article and if they say "don't worry it's fine that you made an earnings claim" you should find a new franchise attorney.

  • If you have an Item 19 Financial Performance Representation - FPR use it with the FTC required disclaimer message.

  • Get an Item 19 FPR if you don't have one.

9. Visiting Angels

Average annual sales per unit: On average, in 2013, Visiting Angels' franchise owners did $1 million in gross revenue.


Why should a franchisee invest? The senior care industry is booming and it's a service that families will continue to increasingly need as the population gets older and rapidly expands. Every 13 seconds, another American will turn 65 years old, and that will go on for the next two decades. As this happens, the U.S. is bracing for an extraordinary population shift.

8. Wild Birds Unlimited

Average annual sales per unit: More than $500,000 in 2013

ROI: Wild Birds Unlimited's FDD includes this information in item 19. 

Why should a franchisee invest? The franchise system has grown on a culture where all employees are on the same team and can work together to enhance the entire system by training franchise owners in the best practices that were established when the company was founded in 1981. Customer retention is one of the most important aspects of running a Wild Birds Unlimited franchise and the company has developed some best practices to keep people coming back to a store, including providing franchise owners with a customer loyalty program as a way of giving back to their customers, supplying them with useful knowledge about backyard bird feeding and the outdoors.

7. Cruise Planners

Average annual sales per unit: N/A

ROI: We can't predict income as people join our franchise for various reasons. We have the "hobbyist" who joins because as a travel planner, you get to travel at travel agent rates which can be significantly discounted and those people only sell to family and friends to take advantage of those perks. We have the "part-timer" who maybe transitioning into retirement or a new career and yet they want a "plan B" as sometimes the work and life balance can be unpredictable and then we have the people who join us full-time as they have invested in their passion for travel. Also since our owners become full-service travel planners, they make commissions on ALL travel components of a vacation including travel insurance, passport services, hotel stays, all-inclusive resorts, rental cars, shore excursions and day trips, special needs at sea, destination weddings, and much more.

Why should a franchisee invest? Cruise Planners is a low-cost franchise opportunity, which yields high returns and requires no travel experience. Cruise Planners is the largest, privately owned, nationally recognized and continually awarded travel franchise in the country and the Home Office affiliation with the American Express brand really does lead to credibility and respect for our franchisees. Realizing that people want to travel, the worldwide industry grossed almost $70 billion in 2013 and more than 34 million Americans plan to cruise over the next three years. If you are looking for a new career or to reinvent yourself in retirement, the travel industry can be a safe investment as Cruise Planners isn't really affected by fluctuations in the economy and it's a fun industry to be in; who doesn't love to talk about travel?

6. Fitness Revolution

Average annual sales per unit: N/A


Why should a franchisee invest? The need for fitness programs is greater than ever, and the evolution of the fitness industry away from access and toward results-based services is taking hold. The most recent trends in the fitness industry have laid the groundwork for quality service providers to step in and meet market demand.

5. Weed Man

Average annual sales per unit:

Average Gross Sales per Location in the U.S. were $579,831 (based on 2012).

Average Gross Sales for the top 25% of U.S. locations - $1.43 million.

Average Gross Margin in 2012 was 57.2%

Why should a franchisee invest? "We are kind of the hidden gem of franchising," Weed Man USA COO Jennifer Lemcke told TheStreet in 2011. "A lot of people overlook the lawn care industry. Once you get a customer [there is an 80% to 85% chance] of renewal year after year."

4. Sotheby's International Realty

Average annual sales per unit: N/A


Why should a franchisee invest? Affiliates connect with the most prestigious clientele in the world. The brand supports its affiliates with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources; affiliates benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby's Auction House.

3. Precision Concrete Cutting

Average annual sales per unit: $550,000 per year

ROI: Varies depending on the length of ownership and other factors, however the company boasts "great margins, re-occurring revenue and contracts with major municipalities."

"Our franchise owners tell us that they are four to 10 times what they earned in previous jobs," says Matt Haney, vice president of Precision Concrete Cutting. "Our franchise owners [have] previous backgrounds that vary from [former] Pro Hockey Players to vice presidents at major public companies."

Why should a franchisee invest?

The company has several distinct advantages:

1. Federally mandated demand through the ADA;

2. Proprietary techniques, technology and patents;

3. A sustainable competitive advantage over other competitors;

4. Re-occurring revenue model;

5. #1 franchise owner satisfaction rankings.

2. Kona Ice

Average annual sales: N/A

ROI: More than 80% of franchisees are buying a second unit within their first two years of operation. This figure serves as proof that owners are reaping the rewards of their investment.

Why should a franchisee invest? One of the key reasons Kona Ice owners have been able to grow their business so quickly is because the concept is mobile. Being mobile, as opposed to having a fixed location, creates many advantages. Not having to own their own building or property eliminates high overhead costs that can cripple profitability. Mobility also allows Kona Ice businesses to adapt to changes in the community. Traffic patterns and growth patterns are impossible to predict, but with a mobile business, it is easy to adjust compared to having a long-term lease in a dying location.

1. Home Instead Senior Care

Average annual sales: N/A

ROI: Varies by market

Why should a franchisee invest? With the over-65 population projected to double by 2030 in the U.S. alone, more and more families around the world are in need of in-home senior care. Home Instead Senior Care is fulfilling that crucial need community by community, with the leading senior care franchise in the world. This is an opportunity to own your own franchise business that offers not only growth potential, but also the personal satisfaction of knowing your services make a difference for seniors who want to stay in their homes as they age.

JD Power released their list of top 50 2014 Customer Champions. Who are these companies?

JD Power looked at over 600 companies across nine industries, focusing on five factors that JD Powers refers to as the "Five P's": People, Presentation, Price, Process and Product.


These companies excel in providing outstanding customer service, according to its customers, not only in their industry, but overall. Finbarr O'Neil, President of JD Power, says that ""Not only does satisfaction encourage customer loyalty, but happy customers also become advocates of the brand to others. Particularly given the ability of today's consumers to easily communicate their experiences far and wide through social media and online reviews, customer advocacy can be critical to a company's bottom line."

Companies who achieve this status find that it all starts with hiring - finding the right people to promote a customer centric environment, training the staff to be able to make decisions that allow them to solve customer issues quickly and independently, and providing an environment that promotes longevity in the workplace.

Another key aspect these companies share is listening - listening to both customer and employee feedback to find ways to improve the customer experience.

By employing these standards, companies create satisfied customers who are not only loyal in terms of repeat business, but also for being brand advocates through word of mouth. This is important for companies, especially when it comes to social media and its relevance when it comes to customer experiences. The chart below is from the JD Power study, and shows the percentage of consumers who will be likely to return to a business and recommend it - you can see the stark difference in percentages between those companies on the Champion list and those that are not:


Companies can mirror what the champions do in terms of careful planning from the ground up to ensure that their customer service is top notch.

Taking a close look at what these companies do compared to your company's procedures, making adjustments where needed, is a good first step in focusing on your customers' overall experience and satisfaction.

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A couple of weeks ago, I was startled to receive an email from Drayton Bird.

Actually, it was from one of his talented associates, Gerald Woodgate.

Gerald promised to: "reveal the biggest mistake so many websites make"

Ok, say I to myself, what mistake could we be making that was so bad?

Joe and I have only been doing this for about 12 years.

Some clever SEO tactic?

Some shrewd backlinking strategy?


Nope, what Gerald told me was so shocking and simple, I couldn't believe that Joe and I missed it!

If you are blogging, content marketing, or just writing & you are trying to sell your services, don't make this mistake --any more.

1. First, what is wrong with this picture?

Here is a week's worth of analytics, from March 7th to March 17th, 2014, for a great post Nancy Friedman wrote: The New Rules of Email Etiquette

Collect Names.png

Ok, so what does this tell us?

Nancy had 528 readers, each who spent more than 4:30 minutes reading what she had to say about the New Rules of Email Etiquette.

In ten days, Nancy could have had 528 leads.

But, she did not get those leads --because Joe and I are committing the terrible mistake Gerald warned us about!

2. Our Terrible Mistake - Don't You Make the Same One!

When someone comes to your office, do you offer to exchange business cards?

Or do you shoo them out the door?

No, it would be rude not.

To offer the ritual exchange - it's part of just being pleasant.

But, as Gerald wrote to us: Joe and I are being rude on our website.

What did we offer those people who read Nancy's article & were interested in what Nancy had to say?

Nothing. Nada. Bupkis.

Nothing to see here - just move on.

You see, we made the mistake Gerald warned us about.

What is the terrible error?

---- Not capturing the names and email addresses of interested readers

3. So, Make an Offer to An Interested Reader Who Wants to Buy from You Sometime

Here is exactly what Gerald said, so shocking & simple.

"Remember: People buy when they want to, not when you want them to.

So if you're not in touch with them you'll miss the boat when they're ready.

When you're collecting names and / or email addresses you know when someone's interested in what you do.

After all, they wouldn't have given you their details if they weren't.

All you have to do is persuade them to buy from you. Not one of the competition.

And when you're the one in regular contact with them ... helping them ... advising them ...

Well, who do you think they'll buy from?"

People buy on their schedule & not when your bank account needs them to. So keep in touch.

Oh yeah, you cannot keep in touch unless you have their name and email.

4. And Joe & I Can do Better for You at Franchise-Info, I thought.

Here is what your supplier or vendor directory directory listing will have.

1. Tracking of click-thrus. How many people went to your landing page from our directory?

2. Sharing of Information. Give us your Google analytics, even your own custom code, and we will embed the code into the page. Then, share the information with you.

Since this will be the best Supplier or Vendor directory, we are only going to charge you $97/month. The best deal you can find.

5. But that's not all. We have much more for you.

We are going to give you a way of filtering & separating the prospects from the suspects.

We are going to give you our LinkedIn Verified/Qualified lead program.

Yup, not only do you get tracking, sharing, you get real leads .

Ready for you to sell to.

Yes, I want More Qualified Leads!

Welcome to the 21st century, Buyer Advantage, Seller's Beware!

Think about it, can you afford to invest a lot of time and sales resources only to discover later in the sales process that you've been pursuing a suspect? Even worse, discover you're investing resources in a suspect and not in a qualified prospect since you only had so much time or bandwidth and could not discern which was which!.

I doubt it! Let's be honest, the pressure on profits and the rising cost of a sales calls dictate otherwise. And the most important action you can take to mitigate these is to maximize your investment of sale resources.

What does a qualified prospect look like?

1st, they have genuine INTEREST!

There is a definite need/requirement for your product or service and you can articulate how it will benefit them, be it reduce cost, increased market share, solve existing problem, vendor replacement, solve a customer problem for them, personal, others?

2nd, they have the MONEY!

Whether it's self funding or 3rd parties, they have both the ability and more important, the will to invest.

3rd, they will make a buying DECISION!

There is a process in place, with timelines and defined decision makers to make a Yes or No decision.

In Ultimate Selling, we add some additional questions that are very straightforward and easy to ask early in the sales process and they provide additional insight as to what they will or will not do. It sounds something like this:

What is the actual date you require delivery or operation of our product and service?

Trust me, if they can't articulate firm dates and reasons, it's your trigger to did deeper into the sales process. Is the problem that you are...?

Not dealing with the decision makers?

Using you for price checking?


Ultimate Selling INSIGHT:  If they don't have firm dates, they never have to make a decision and all too often, they won't. You know, it's these sales opportunities that keep moving out in your sales forecast!

Ultimate Selling INSIGHT:  It may take multiple calls to qualify and that's OK. But don't start the formal phase with presentation/proposal, until they are qualified. Educate, build relationships, discover more about them, etc.. And save your compelling sales story until they have a formal process for making a decision.  Go here to review exactly what you should be asking in the discovery process.

If you would like have more in depth knowledge about these critical sales steps, and many others, go to Ultimate Selling Solutions to  purchase a hard copy book or download the  book, Ultimate Selling, The Art and Science of Sales Success.

The post Is my Prospect Qualified? Or just another Suspect? appeared first on Ultimate Selling Solutions Blog.

If you ever trained a puppy, you learned how to negotiate. "SIT!" "Good boy." "Here's a treat." That's negotiation.

We negotiate with our KIDS every day. "If /when you finish your veggies, you can have the ice cream." That's negotiation.

And what about our spouses? "Honey, if I go out to the paint store and pick up the paint, will you paint the kitchen?" That's negotiation.

Point being while negotiation is thought of as a SALES SKILL, it really is an everyday life skill we use a lot more than we realize.

There are some areas that are non-negotiable. For example, try getting a discount at a department store. Unless it's on sale, the price is the price. In some industries, negotiation is the norm - real estate for example.

What about a car? It's a known fact there's a window sticker price and the price that you pay; a negotiated price.

That's an 'up front' negotiation. It's expected. And sometimes it doesn't go well. One side won't budge or won't negotiate to your satisfaction, so someone loses. Usually both parties.

For negotiation to be successful, both parties need to feel good at the conclusion. But if you're in sales, price cutting is normally a daily negotiation.

Tips to make you better at negotiating:

1. Never, ever discount the price right off the bat. Often a price cut will get the salesperson more excited than the prospect. You may think going in with a lower price will make the prospect grateful and give you an easy 'go' right away. It usually won't. If they take your offer of the lower price, that indicates they might have taken it at the rate card price which is where you SHOULD be quoting from to start with.

2. When you talk price be strong and confident. A weak or hesitant delivery makes the salesperson sound soft. Then the price sounds soft and thereby invites a lower offer.

3. Delay giving concessions until the end of the conversation. A concession given too early is just a 'giveaway.' Save it for closing the sale by saying, "That's an interesting idea. Let's come back to that a bit later."

4. When there is a request for a price concession, have a nice way to reject it. Just because they have dealt with other weak salespeople doesn't mean you need to be that way. We can use a very effective, "I wish we could; however, that's not an option we have" technique. Or you can say, "Since you only have $4,000 and the project is $5,500, we can work to remove a few parts of the package.

5. Never underestimate your strength in a negotiating situation. Some prospects assume a salesperson is in the position of weakness. If you fall for that, that will weaken your resolve and soften your backbone. Understand this: If the prospect is bargaining with you or even discussing the proposal with you, that's an indicator of interest; a buying sign. Their actions are telling you without saying it outright you have something they need or want.

6. When do negotiations begin? When you say hello. Negotiations, in general, are ongoing all day long at work and at home. And it's often a subtle thing. Recognizing you're constantly involved in negotiation gives you an advantage. Be aware that life itself is a series of negotiating situations. You often are negotiating without realizing it.

7. Avoid goodwill conceding. (Thank you Gavin Kennedy - Everything is Negotiable for this concept.) The principle of "goodwill conceding" is this: The salesperson thinks that if they are nice and give a price concession to the other side, the other side will reciprocate with a concession back to you. In other words, they'll buy.

Nice idea. Only it backfires with a professional buyer. What they do is take what you offer and try to get more. (After all you're giving things away.)

8. When you give - GET. When you do give a price concession, use the 'if/then' technique so that you get something in return. "Mr. Jones, if I can get you the widgets at that price, are you able to give me the go-ahead today (or can we do business today)?" or "Mr. Jones, if I can give you that price, can I get a referral from you?"

There are dozens of other "gets" when you give. Salespeople don't mind giving when they are getting something in return. But perhaps the most important reason to take something back when you give a concession is this: It puts a 'price' on your concession. No longer are concession requests free. By asking for something in return, it keeps you from getting additional requests for concessions.

9. Why is it important to be a good negotiator? Because a bad negotiator leaks dollars and reduces the all important profit to the company. Profit is what's needed to run a company. No profit, no company.

Now, one closing suggestion: Whenever you can, substitute the word 'investment' for the word price. In most cases, the prospect is making an investment, and a good one at that.

Nancy Friedman is available to speak at your next meeting. Call & talk with her at 314.291.1012 or email [email protected]

In January, I attended the Franchise Expo South in Miami. I heard the same 3 questions from numerous franchisors and franchisees over and over again.

1: How do I use Social Media to market my National Franchise to other potential franchisees?

2: How do we scale Social Media for our Franchise to the many locations across the country?

3: What are we doing wrong with our current Social Media strategy?

There are many intricacies that each franchise must consider before answering these questions.

The nature of your franchise

Are you in a regulated industry? Does your business include handling of proprietary information, either your own or that of your customers? Does public communication constantly need to be approved by legal before being shared? Is there potential risk of real damage to your company or your customer by inadvertent sharing of confidential information? Are you in a position where you can quickly do damage control if something bad happens? This may be true with certain companies in the health, law, insurance or governmental fields.

If this is the case, consider whether you are able to put adequate controls in place to permit real-time (or frequent) social media interaction at a franchisee level.  You also might want to consider how you structure your marketing department.  

Do you have specific territories that are managed by local marketing directors?  etc etc.

Individual presence vs one, overall brand

For instance, are there parts of your business that are different location to location? All franchisees believe their markets are different, and, in fact, they often are. They may be urban or suburban. They may have customers with different demographics or socio-economic status.  But are they so different that you accommodate that difference by allowing variation in your products, pricing, coupon offers, marketing, promotions, décor, etc.? If the answer is yes, entrusting franchisees with locally oriented social media may actually be more beneficial, not only for the customer, but for your workload too.

Some franchises, however, may make more sense just having one Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter account to encompass all locations.


Are you willing to invest in consultative resources to ensue that both your corporate team and local franchisees are educated online reputation management, content curation/ generation and measurement?  If so, you need to have the ability to put together social media guidelines and a policy that makes sense for your franchise.  You also need to schedule training for each your locations on best practices in social strategy, paid advertising, positioning in the local markets.  

Whether you go with a centralized approach or local, you need to be ready to invest in hiring someone or a 3rd party to handle this for you.

Having said this, I've put together 2 ways to market your franchise using Social Media that any franchise can start today.

1: Create a Community

Being a part of a community will help market your franchise on so many levels.  For example, if you're a commercial cleaning franchise and you want to attract more franchises in regions that you don't currently have them, you can utilize social media to start combining the appealing entrepreneurial mentality of your target market along side your cleaning opportunity.  More specifically starting up conversations on social channels with these people and getting them engaged with your website, start nurturing them with email content, and tying in the social network amplification effect by having their interactions with your community amplify out to their network.  

You can then identify influencers and people more engaged with your brand to do further marketing amplification.  I recommend partnering with agency that specializes in working with franchises on this level.

 2: Local Optimization

Implementation of a social media strategy  for your franchise can come from many forms.   Most common are contests, updates, pictures, video and measurement.   Now with the focus that Google (Google Plus Local) has on local and mobile, you have to start thinking about social media from these angles.  You also have to think about how other local social media sites like Foursquare, Yelp and listing sites like affect your local SEO.  

Ask yourself things like... Do all 3000 locations of my franchise have the most up to date location data?  Are people finding me on Google Maps? Are my franchisors active enough on social media enough to affect the search engine results of local consumers?  What happens when I want to change that data?  How in the heck do I manage it!?  Are my local listings affecting my overall SEO?  What are people saying about me on local social media sites?  

You should seriously consider all of these questions and take immediate action internally or through an agency has had experience in this area.

3: Listen

I'll keep this short. Too many brands and small businesses are using social media to blast out messages. No one cares about your widget.  The fact of the matter is that millions of people are on social channels, engaging in conversations relevant to your local car wash business.  You should be engaging with these people to HELP them with their daily life.  In turn, they will follow you and share your content.  

Listening can also come in the form of Research and Development.  Target your listening into other communities similar to your franchise and listen to what people are saying.  You'll be surprised on what you can learn about your target demographic by just putting your ear to the wall.

Do you have any franchise marketing success stories?  Have you used social listening tools to capture good insights about your current or potential customers?  Please comment below.

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