April 2013 Archives

A good sales plan establishes goals, priorities, timetables, and necessary resources.

A sales plan that will achieve your ends has these characteristics:

1.       Sets measurable, specific, vivid, and motivating goals. Where do you intend to be in one year? What measures will you use to gauge your achievements: Number of buyers contacted? Percentage of sales to certain types of customers? Sales volume? Profit? Ranking among your peers?

2.       Identifies the enabling objectives necessary to achieve ultimate goals. What objectives must you reach on the way to the intended outcome? What new work habits must you develop? What values will you need to embrace?

3.       Outlines a logical order among the intermediate steps. What is the logical sequence for achieving your ultimate goal? What must happen first, second, third, and so on?

4.       Establishes a reasonable yet challenging time line. When will you achieve your ultimate goal? When will you jump the intermediate hurdles?

5.       Pinpoints the barriers between you and your objectives. Why haven't you been achieving your objectives? What are the constraining forces, either in you or in the environment? What has stood in the way?

6.       Specifies strategies, procedures, and tactics. What actions will overcome the barriers that have kept you from achieving your objectives?

7.       Summarizes the resources needed. What money, materials, supplies, equipment, facilities, information, education, training, support, counsel, or staffing do you require?

8.       Establishes accountability. What will you do to hold your feet to the fire?

9.       Is in writing. Plans not written are dreams. Plans written become vows. Don't just dream about success, vow to succeed.

10.    Is shared and negotiated with those responsible for implementing it. The more people who see your plan, the more pressure you'll feel to make it happen.

11.    Signifies commitment. Start your plan only once you become totally confident in it and fully committed to it.

Kevin will be speaking at Frantopia 2013, presented by Bill.com,  an interactive learning and networking event for franchisees this June. Franchisees will hear from industry experts and other successful franchisees, while sharing their own challenges and best practices. The 2-day program will address issues such as budgeting/cash flow, local community involvement, and social media literacy.

Registration is limited, so reserve your seat today!

Frantopia is operated by FranchiseBusinessREVIEW, a leading franchise research firm specializing in franchisee satisfaction and performance.

Franchising is a complex sale.  

The best way to increase the effectiveness of your marketing budget is to take a serious look at your sales process.

We can all do better at selling, especially when selling something as complicated as a franchise.

Whether  you're a new franchise or seasoned franchise sales leader this event is for you. 

If participating in this Roundtable event sells you only one extra franchise this year it will be worth your time and attention.

  • Is your franchise sales process producing the results you want?
  • Do you have the right 7 steps in your franchise sales process? 
  • Do you know the 3 questions all franchise candidates ask?
  • Are you engaging effectively with qualified candidates from start to finish?
  • Is your sales approach right for your concept, sales team and target profiles?

Put Tuesday, May 21st on your calendar and plan to attend the Capital Area Franchise Association -May 21, 2013 @ Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, MD.  Topic:  Expert Roundtable Discussion on Franchise Sales

Columbia_Country_Club3.jpg

Who should attend - CEOs, CDOs, franchise sales executives, candidate qualifiers, franchise brokers, franchise sales outsourcers, CRM & franchise marketing suppliers, legal compliance experts and franchise buyers interested in how franchises are professionally sold.

 

Are you an entrepreneur, a business person or successful business person?

Entrepreneurs are risk takers in business. They often lack the experience of successful business people who know how to effectively manage the businesses they start.

The difference may be in the management control systems that are so important to success in business.

While this may seem obvious to some, the reality is that many get started in business without a clear understanding of what needs to be done in order to be successful.

Certain business skills and knowledge are important to business success. These skills can be learned or purchased (in the form of employees.) When one at first gets lucky in business, they lose the opportunity to acquire these skills.

The business grows in the absence of these skills until, at some point, luck runs out. A business lucky in choice of location or in obtaining key customers may find that this is not enough.

They may expand the business.

They may not clearly understand where the money is going or a trusted employee may be stealing from them. The business owner often considers these events to be out of their control or just bad luck.

In reality, they are more likely the result of poor management control systems that should be in place for any business.

The ultimate goal is to understand your business. You may work in the business or manage it from a distance. There may be a single location or multiple locations. It is important to understand what works and does not work within the business, and to have sufficient information to improve the overall results.

This usually means that the business should be capable of being operated without the daily presence of senior management but with an ultimate end result of increased profitability.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

Strategic placement of a security camera on your cash register or POS terminal provides protection against both fraudulent claims AND dishonest employees.

Many problems can frequently be prevented by directing a security camera on the cash register or POS terminal.  This is the area where business is transacted and where the majority of customer disputes occur.  It only makes sense to focus security on this area where the greatest financial loss can occur.

Theft of funds from a business, if occurring, is most likely at the point where financial transactions occur.  There are many ways for this to happen.  Perhaps a cash transaction occurs which is not being recorded, too much change is returned to a customer or cash is not being placed in a cash drawer. 

These are just are some of the ways in which a financial fraud can occur. 

A lack of security and proper financial controls can result in a theft that is never noticed by management or the owner of a business. 

A security camera presents employees with a visible reminder that the area is being monitored and is likely to discourage theft.  Should the need present itself, a security camera can provide solid documentation of what may or may not have taken place at a particular point in time. 

It can also allow an absentee manager or owner to monitor (in real time if desired) interactions between customer and employee.

Most businesses experience customer service issues that include poor treatment or incorrect change.  These can frequently be verified and resolved through use of security footage from a security camera.

There are many costly mistakes in business. With this challenging environment; don't make these mistakes.

We're only listing five right; there are many more.  But, let's start here.

MISTAKE 1: NOT SMILING

Insanely simplistic. On the phone or in person, we need to understand a smile works. In person yes, you can see it...and on the phone, yes, you can hear a smile. Don't feel like smiling? Well, smile anyway. The customer doesn't care if you feel like smiling or not. It's better to have the customer think your office is closed than to have the phone answered or greet someone in person without a smile and in a negative mood.

MISTAKE 2: NOT ACKNOWLEDGING A CUSTOMER'S REQUEST OR PROBLEM IMMEDIATELY.

Requests and problems need to be handled sooner than later. Delaying a request or at least not immediately acknowledging it can cause more problems than the original request. Delaying handling a problem makes the problem bigger. Use Telephone Doctors' Rapid Response mentality.

MISTAKE 3: IMMEDIATE REJECTION OF A REQUEST

Be a "double-checker." It's easy to tell people, "We don't have it", "Sorry, it's past the deadline" or "We ran out of that." Instead, use a soft rejection: Something like: "The last time I checked it wasn't available, let me double-check for you." This simple statement immediately defuses some of the tension of not being able to fulfill a request. And often when we do double-check, we find a way to get what the person wanted after all. Be a double checker.

MISTAKE 4. GIVING A PRICE WHEN THEY CALL or WALK IN.

"Hi, how much is a widget"? Answer: $10.75. "Ok, thanks, bye". DANGEROUS! Try not to ever give a price at the top of the conversation. Consider: "We have several types of widgets. Which were you interested in hearing about?' Or, 'Our widgets come in a variety of shapes and colors. Tell me what you're looking for". Or "how many did you need? There's a nice discount with 3″. Anything but giving the price right out at the top of the conversation- if you can help it.

MISTAKE 5. FORGETTING WHAT MOM TAUGHT YOU.

You're right. Not using Please, thank you and you're welcome will lose business for you in a hurry. No matter how much or how little money someone has, they all need and want to be appreciated and treated well. Those three little phrases are critically important to today's business world. See, I told you "mom was right". Thanks Mom.

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Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.


Usually, franchisors don't plan for franchisees who are exiting their system.  But, it could be great growth opportunity for the franchisor.

Without a formal resale program in place, franchisors can be at the mercy of local business broker, real estate brokers or landlords for the continuity of their locations.

When a franchisee is looking to exit the system, they should be embraced and helped in their exit strategy. Many franchisees who want to leave the system are no longer putting forth the effort they they put forth in the first year they opened their doors.

By helping a new franchisee take over the location, they can reinvigorate the market and increase their royalty stream from the location.  And, if they aren't careful, the location can flip to a competitor or just close.

Franchisees should be told that leaving the system is part of franchising and they can help with the transition that will enable them to get a fair purchase price. This is especially true for franchisees that are in trouble and behind in debt or rent payments.

By coordinating the efforts and negotiating with the banks and the landlord a potentially disastrous situation can be turned into an opportunity.

The key is to line up professionals who have done franchisee transitions before, on both profitable and unprofitable units.

No two situations are the same, but a professional who can understand the landscape and the needs and desires of all the stakeholders (the bank, the landlord, the franchisor and the franchisee) a deal can typically be struck that will put everyone in a better position.

As a law firm, we have structured many of these deals and would welcome the opportunity to help formalize a program that many times is an after thought for franchisors.

A few years ago, I interviewed and subsequently hired a woman for a position on the phones at our office. At Telephone Doctor, our customer service techniques are a condition of employment.

In this particular case, the young lady we interviewed was spectacular. She said the right thing. She looked right. She was the most positive, upbeat, happy individual we'd seen in a long time. We laughed and had a wonderful interview. Her laugh seemed contagious. Her beautiful smile was constant. Her positive mental attitude was perfect. She had faced much adversity in her life and she explained how she handled it with the same great mentality.

Her name was Carol.

I was impressed. After she left I thought about her. "Gee," I thought to myself, "what a special person this could be for us." Carol came back a day or so later for the 2nd interview. Again, the same wonderful personality. Her friendliness was so natural, so outgoing you wanted to bottle it. Bingo - Carol was hired on the spot. Everyone I introduced her to was very excited.

She went into our training program with gusto. She learned the Telephone Doctor products quickly and after three or four weeks we put Carol on the phones, to call our clients.

One day, shortly after she was put on the phones, I was walking past her office. I paused to listen to her thinking how great she'd be. Well, I almost fell over. Here was the same lady, but her entire personality had changed. The voice I heard was downbeat; almost depressing. There sure was no smile in her voice. The conversation she had going with a client was stilted and cold. One word answers. It was, to put it mildly, shocking and frankly, embarrassing.

I quickly called Carol into my office. "Carol," I said, "what happened? When we interviewed you a few weeks ago, you were wonderful. You were so cheerful, so happy, so full of life. Your voice had a personality I wanted to bottle. And now, while I was listening to you, it seemed as though you were an entirely different person. Your voice was down, there was no personality. You seemed cold and unfriendly. What happened?"

"Oh," she said without missing a beat and very firmly, "when we interviewed - that was different. We're like friends. That was fun. These are business calls. That's different."

"Wrong" I said, "these are our business friends and they need to be treated as such." I told her if she was going to give me half her personality I'd give her half her pay.

P.S. - Carol doesn't work here anymore.

Think about your interview. Did you tell the person you interviewed with you loved people? That you're a "people" person? That you loved to be busy? Did you smile during the interview to impress them? Why be any different to your customers?

Remember, customers are our business friends and deserve the same treatment as that 'great' interview you gave.

Don't be a "Carol." Be you. Be the person they interviewed. All the time.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.

What unprofessional behavior irritates you the most when, as a consumer, you are interacting with another company? At Telephone Doctor we hear a lot of what bothers the public.

It's important to know that customer service that is perceived as rude is not always intentional and often is the result of absent-mindedness or carelessness on behalf of an employee. Either way, bad customer service can translate into lower sales and lost business.

Based on Telephone Doctor surveys, we've compiled 15 customer service NO NO's. They are listed below along with Telephone Doctor's guidelines on how to do it better. Believe me, there are plenty more. These are at the top of the list.

If any of your folks are guilty of these, it's time for some action. Otherwise you may have an image problem that could sabotage your effort to produce and market great products.

15 TOP NO NO's

1. Employees are having a bad day and their foul mood carries over in conversations with customers. (Yes, everyone has bad days every once in a while, but employees need to keep theirs to themselves.)

2. Your employees hang up on angry customers. (Ironclad rule: We never hang up on anyone. When we hang up on someone, we label ourselves as rude.)

3. Phone calls or voice mail messages are not returned. (All calls are to be returned or have calls returned on your behalf.)

4. Employees put callers on hold without asking them first, if they are able to hold . . . as a courtesy. (Ask customers politely if you can put them on hold; very few will complain or say "No way!")

5. Employees put callers on a speakerphone without asking if it's OK first. (It's the nice thing to do, as a courtesy.)

6. Employees eat, drink or chew gum while talking with customers on the phone or face-to-face. (Chew away from the customer. And save that stick of gum for break time by yourself.)

7. Employees make personal calls (or text) on cell phones while working with customers. (RUDE, RUDE, RUDE!)

8. Employees forget to use the words "please," "thank you," or "you're welcome." (Your mother was right. Please use these words generously. Thank you.)

9. Employees hold side conversations with friends or each other while talking to customers. (A big customer frustration.)

10. Employees seem incapable of offering more than one-word answers. (One-word answers come across as rude and uncaring.)

11. Employees use a lot of words that are grounded in company or industry jargon that many customers don't understand. (If you sell tech products, for example, don't casually drop in abbreviations such as APIs, ISVs, SMTP or TCP/IP.)

12. Employees request that customers call them back when it's 'not so busy.' (Customers should never be told to call back. Request the customer's number instead and you call them back.)

13. Employees rush customers, forcing them off the phone or out the door at the earliest opportunity. (Rushing threatens customers - take your time.)

14. Employees obnoxiously bellow, "What's this in reference to?" effectively humbling customers and belittling their requests. (Screening techniques can be used with a little more warmth and finesse. If a caller/customer has mistakenly come your way, do your best to point them in the right direction. And yes, with a smile.)

15. Employees freely admit to customers that they hate their jobs. (This simply makes the entire company look bad. And don't think such a moment of candor or lapse in judgment won't get back to the boss.)

In defense of employees, customers can be rude too. And customer service jobs can often be thankless with little motivation or incentive to do the job right.  

Sadly, yes, customers can be rude and get away with it. Employees cannot if they want to help their companies succeed and keep their jobs as well. It is what it is.

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Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.

When lender experiences a default for an SBA guaranteed loan, there are several considerations the lender must review.

If a borrower defaults within 18 months of initial disbursement (or, if the final disbursement was made more than 6 months after the initial disbursement and the borrower defaults within 18 months after the final disbursement), the SBA considers the loan an "early default".

The date of default is generally determined by the first uncured payment default of 60 days or more.

However, if a borrower, during the first 18 months, has significant problems making full principal and interest payments as scheduled or is granted a payment deferment of 3 months or more, the loan is considered an "early problem" loan.

Early default and early problem loans are subject to heightened scrutiny. There are two considerations a lender needs to review.

1. Under SBA regulations, a full denial of liability is justified if the loan involves an early default, or early problem and the lender failed to provide credible evidence that it verified the borrower's financial information by comparing it to relevant IRS tax return transcripts, as required by the version of SOP 50 10 in effect at the time the loan was approved.

2. Additionally, if there was an early default or early problem loan, the lender's failure to verify and properly document a material portion of an injection of cash or non-cash assets required by the Loan Authorization raises a rebuttable presumption that the default was caused by the lack of the injection and a full denial of liability is almost always justified.

However, in both cases, a full denial may not be justified, however, if the lender provides credible evidence that the business failure was due to factors unrelated to any financial difficulties that the lender could have identified through the IRS verification process or which were caused by the lack of equity.

To rebut the presumption, the lender must provide credible evidence that the primary cause of the default was something other than the lack of the required injection or information used in the repayment analysis, e.g., the death of an irreplaceable key employee or a natural disaster that destroyed the borrower's business premises and customer-base.

As a practical matter, the failure to adequately verify equity injection or obtain IRS tax transcripts is an automatic denial of the guaranty if the SBA considers the loan to be an early problem or early default loan.

However, there are some limited circumstances in which a lender may be able to rebut the above-described presumption.

For more information on SBA loan programs, please contact us.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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