The New Media Effect on Franchise Sales & the Franchise Relationship

This is third post of this week based upon my recent interview with Renee Bailey at Franchise Direct. In this part of the interview our focus turned to what many within franchising look for day in and day out… the silver bullet to increase franchise sales. When social media became more and more popular, many franchisors wanted to use social media to attract franchise candidates. Many thought, incorrectly that social media was a form of advertising. My response to the first question below sheds a different light on social media in the franchise sales process.

In the second question the focus was media’s affect on the franchise relationship. My answer was short, but to the point.

Finally, in the last question below we discussed a new trend in media – Social Mobile Local or SoMoLo.

New Media

How are franchisors utilizing social media to connect with prospective franchisees throughout the prospecting process?

Great question because many are not connecting with prospective franchisees. Social media is not the silver bullet many want and expect to make the sales process easier, or even to generate leads on its own.

Instead, social media for franchise development should be looked at as a vital complementing component in the traditional lead generation process. That means it should provide a support mechanism that candidates can be directed to and that candidates can find on their own in their own due diligence. Today’s candidates are also more diligent and cautious than ever before. Social media allows them to virtually stand next to a brand and experience how that brand interacts with its customers, franchisees, etc.

All that being said, social media can be utilized in the franchise development process as a way to drive candidates to a specific event like a webinar, where the concept can be explained in detail. The key here is that one-size-fits-all strategies with social media do not work effectively.

One more thing: it’s critical to ask questions at the onset of utilizing social media related to expectations and desired results. This is crucial in evaluating whether or not the program worked. As important as click-thru’s, insights, impressions, etc. are in analyzing the process and program itself, looking at desired results against actual results is really the true Social Media P&L.

Have new media options available altered the franchisor-franchisee relationship?

Of course, but they don’t need to. New media is all about truth, trust and transparency. Really, isn’t that what the franchise relationship should be built upon?

New media is a wonderful way of keeping in communications at all times. Embrace and adapt is what I typically advise. It’s important to receive proper training to fully understand new media and all its capabilities and features.

How does a personal brand enhance the overall brand of a franchise system?

The new trend in digital marketing, or better stated, in attracting today’s consumer is referred to as SoMoLo, or Social Mobile Local.

  • Social, we’ve touched upon above.
  • Mobile is just the way consumers are choosing to access and search information, and communicate.
  • Local, well, that’s all about the “personal side” of the business transaction.

People want to do business with people. They buy from people. Sure, the brand may get them in the door, but it’s the person representing the brand that they want to business with. So, as consumers technologically advance, it’s not uncommon for them to check out the local franchisee’s Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, perform a Google search of the franchisee, etc. What they hope to find is a person of experience and integrity. [Even] the banking industry is leaning towards utilizing a social reputation score for business loan applicants that will rival the credit score.

Tomorrow, in the last post in this series we’ll wrap up the discussion with a questions about local websites and a word of advice for prospective franchisees.


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Franchise Social Media Basics – What a Great E-IDEA!

how-franchisors-are-using-social-mediaThis is the second post based upon my recent interview with Renee Bailey at Franchise Direct. As the interview progressed, Renee and I discussed challenges franchisors face integrating new types of media and how franchisors and franchisees alike could better utilize mediums at their disposal.

What are some challenges franchises are facing concerning integrating new types of media?

The biggest challenge franchises face with new media is a lack of understanding that like anything else, requires planning. Many are not taking the time to:

  • develop and explore the various media available
  • identify their targets along with identifying where they congregate and communicate online
  • develop a strategy based upon the targets (which may actually require sub-strategies for each target and their online communities)
  • execute the plan and all that goes into it, including dedication of financial AND human resources in managing and monitoring activity, and of course
  • analyze and quantify results in order to continue moving forward or adjusting as necessary

Yes, that’s a lot to grasp but it is essential to developing an effective program utilizing new media. Basically, what I’ve described is e-IDEA, which is something we utilize religiously when working with franchise clients – Explore, Identify, Develop, Execute, and Analyze. It really is a great, simple guide to follow.

How do you feel franchisors and franchisees can better utilize the mediums at their disposal?

By working together, as many franchisees essentially “got there first,” meaning they were posting within social media in its early stages. It’s important to utilize their efforts as a foundation on which to build a uniform social media or new media program.

Franchisors should not take a rigid approach with respect to messaging and social involvement. New media is all about interaction and engagement, and as such, requires a “personal” touch at the local level. Of course, there needs to be guidelines and certain policies to protect the brand. But that is more common sense than anything.

Also, I believe franchises shouldn’t get all caught up in just driving LIKES. It’s more important to create a community of sharing and engagement. I much prefer seeing a Facebook with lower number of LIKES but a high number of post views. That tells me that people are coming back day after day after day to see what is on the page. Whereas just LIKING a page, they may never return. What good does that do?

Tomorrow we’ll turn our attention to how franchisors are utilizing social media to attract prospective franchisees and also, Social Mobile Local – more affectionately known as, SoMoLo!

Note: Photo credit to 1851 Magazine


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Marketing, Media & Franchising

Integrated MarketingThis is the first of several posts based upon my 2012 interview with Renee Bailey at Franchise Direct. The theme of the interview was Marketing, Media and Franchising.

What are some trends in franchising today in regards to marketing?

As today’s consumer and franchise candidates are more sophisticated, educated and technologically advanced than ever before, many franchise organizations are focusing on digital marketing as a way to attract these targets.

Unlike traditional marketing, the digital space allows for many different approaches to attract and engage their targets. Specifically, using a combination of social media marketing and content marketing in conjunction with traditional marketing has proven quite effective. Add to the mix the old stalwart – email marketing – and it creates a cross-platform, multi-tiered effect that touches the target audience multiple times within a short period of time… and at times, almost simultaneously.

The key here is to understand that the sales process with today’s consumer and franchise candidate is no longer an A to Z proposition. Often, by the time [they] make personal contact with a company representative, they’re already at letter K, M or even W in the equation. As such, it’s imperative that the transition from the digital space to the personal interaction is seamless, and in line with the message conveyed throughout the digital marketing efforts.

In the next post of this series we’ll address challenges franchisors face integrating new types of media and how franchisors and franchisees alike could better utilize mediums at their disposal.


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Consumer Trends Focus on Customer Experience & Information Sharing

Working this morning through my daily routine of reviewing some 300+ blogs, articles and newsletters  continue to see a trend that refers to what today’s customer wants, needs and commands. The trend touches on customers in all age groups, what brands need to do, and, of course, technology and its ever increasing role in business. But the common ground that everything centers around is customer experience and information access.

I believe the days of worrying about being too intrusive with consumers is behind us. The thing we must learn, and fast is that today’s consumer wants information and wants it now, in real-time. They are more sophisticated and technologically advanced than ever before. Small business owners must follow suit and adapt accordingly. In the franchise space, franchisors must lead the charge and do so, in part by leading by example – embrace and adapt to change!

Below are three interesting articles that lend towards the common ground defined above and indicate major changes already taking place across many industry segments. Would love to hear your thoughts on the same.

Social Customer Expectations as published on Social Media Club

In a study from this year, Gartner predicts not responding to customers via social channels will be as harmful in 2014 as not answering the phone is today. The reason? Customers simply expect it.

Customers have long complained about the lack of attention via certain channels when dealing with companies. Ever stand in line at a store while they answer the phone and have a lengthy conversation? That’s the feeling customers get when they try to reach a brand via social media and are ignored.

Read more here.

All Eyes Turn To Boomers and How They Use The Internet as published on ReadWriteWeb.com

Eighty million Boomers live, work and spend in the United States, nearly a third of the population. If you add the previous generation, the number of 50-plus Americans is 98 million, a segment of the population that’s expected to grow 34% between now and 2030, when nearly half of the nation will be aged 50 or over, according to a recent study from The Nielsen Company.

That is a huge economic force, one that has been shaping the U.S. private sector for a long time. But unlike previous generations, where the members “age out” of active spending and societal influence, the sheer size of the Boomer generation means that it will continue to be a force for a long time to come. By the middle of the 21st century, Nielsen reckons, there could be around 161 million 50-plus citizens in the country.

Already, this is a generation heavily influencing technology, just from it’s buying power. 41% of Apple customers are Boomers, the Nielsen report states.

Read more here.

SoLoMo Update: Mobile-only Social Networks to Reach 1B Users by 2014... as published on TechCrunch.com

Crystal ball-gazing time from Gartner… The analysts, which last night published some stats on how PCs continue to reign as the woolly mammoth of the tech world, today followed up with a list of predictions for one of the areas still on a big upswing: mobile services, and specifically on smartphones and tablets (AKA the devices that are causing all that doom and gloom for PCs). Gartner predicts that we will see 1 billion smartphones sold in 2015, with a further 350 million media tablets sold by that time (as a point of comparison it looks like worldwide PC sales will be under 400 million units this year, using Gartner’s figures).

And it also wrapped those up with a list of suggestions of what services may still have some growing to do.

Read more here.


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“Localization and Social Media” – from Retail Franchise Industry Report 2012

The following is from the Localization and Social Media section of the recently released Retail Franchise Industry Report 2012 as shared by Franchise Direct. We’re excited to see franchisEssentials President & CEO, Paul Segreto, quoted in this section of the report…

Localization and Social Media

“People want to do business with people. They buy from people. Sure, the brand may get them in the door, but it’s the person representing the brand that they want to do business with,” says franchising expert Paul Segreto. “So, as consumers technologically advance it’s not uncommon for them to check out the local franchisee’s Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, perform a Google search of the franchisee, etc.”

Retail Franchise Industry Report-1In fact, findings from the 2012 Customer Insights Survey showed roughly three of every four consumers use Facebook to make retail (or restaurant) decisions. With more choices in the marketplace than ever before, it’s important for franchises to go beyond the price and quality of the products being sold and reach out to consumers where they are. Because of this, franchises are well served by letting franchisees foster relationships within their local communities that could lead to brand loyalty. Increasingly, this is being done through social media.

Whether is with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp or any other site, engaging customers and informing them about the choices they have in their backyard is always a good move. Relating the flow of money to the human body, David Boyle, researcher at The New Economics Foundation said in a Time Magazine interview, “Money is like blood. It needs to keep moving around to keep the economy going. [When spent in non-locally owned entities] it flows out, like a wound.”7

A franchise with a good advertising and marketing strategy that includes attention to local initiatives is very valuable to franchisees because no two markets are alike. As such, the advertising and marketing for different markets should be similar for brand continuity, but not exactly the same. Furthermore, many consumers find products and services by performing local searches, not searching out the corporate website first. Cultivating local media with tailored messages for specific areas is important to make a franchisee’s services relevant to that area’s consumers.

According to Segreto, “franchisors should not take a rigid approach with respect to messaging and social involvement. New media is all about interaction and engagement, and as such, requires a ‘personal’ touch at the local level.” One franchise system that has adopted the personal, localized social media and website concept is Apricot Lane Boutique. Each Apricot Lane franchisee is provided social networking set-up programs (including support and content for a Facebook page for their store, as well as Twitter and Pinterest). Franchisees also have their own customized website for their store.

Localized social media efforts can translate from friend to friend resulting in the word-of-mouth recommendations businesses of all types crave. One emerging way of rewarding local patrons through social media is offered by Foursquare. Foursquare recently launched a “local updates” tool geared towards letting businesses send messages about specials and events to customers wherever they happen to be at the time. The specials and events aim to capitalize on word-of-mouth advertising from those who buy from their store and take actions that advertise that store to their circle of contacts.

Read the complete Retail Franchise Industry Report 2012


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Effectively Using Linkedin

linkedin-logo1As social media continues to gain steam and obviously is not going away, more and more people are looking to participate. Unfortunately, many are intimidated and quickly give up. I routinely work with individuals, in both personal and business settings, explore and understand social media and its benefits. I have found simplicity is key in getting started.

I would like to share my response to a question previously posted on Linkedin, “If there was one piece of advice you would give someone who was new to Linkedin or had not really been effective at using it. What would you tell them or show them?”

The most important piece of advice I would share is defined in my own “Triple P Tripod” plan. A tripod as everyone knows, stands on three legs. If one leg isn’t as strong as the others, is different in length, or is missing altogether, the tripod falls. At best, it precariously stands when leaned against the wall only to fall at the slightest movement. The triple “P” refers to three action words, Personalization, Participation, and Patience.

Personalization – Just as when you enter a room full of people, it’s your personality and how you handle yourself that gets you noticed. On Linkedin, the same holds true. Starting with your profile, make sure it reflects you as you want to be perceived.

Misspelling and poor grammar are akin to an open fly or a skirt tucked in pantyhose at an in-person event. Yes, you’ll be remembered, but for the wrong reasons. Enter discussion groups with grace. In other words, without being obnoxious or obtrusive. Develop your own style, your own points of view. Just as when you leave an in-person event and thank your host and say adieu to the people you have been conversing with, also thank individuals that took the time to answer the questions you posted in a LinkedIn group. Keep in mind, as in anything that is written, your words will last forever as they become your personal stamp.

Participation – It’s important to participate in various groups on Linkedin. Be proactive in groups you’re directly interested in as well as “collateral” groups that touch on your areas of interest. For instance, if you’re interest is in franchising, you would most likely join several franchise groups. Now, look at entrepreneur, small business and marketing groups.

When posting a question in one group, post it in the others to gain a different perspective. For example, the question, “How would you define franchising?” is answered much differently in a franchise forum than in an entrepreneur forum. Certainly, much different in a marketing or sales forum.

At first, I would recommend responding to posts to get a feel for how it’s done and more importantly, a feel for the group. It’s always best to test the waters with your toe than it is to just jump right in. Yes, there may be sharks in the Linkedin waters and they’ll attack at the first sign of weakness.

Next, post simple discussions and remember to respond to and thank each person that has taken the time to participate in “your” discussion. As you’re comfortable, start your own group. If you’re very interested in a particular group and are unhappy with participation or feel membership is lacking, contact the group owner and offer to to help recruit members as a manager of the group.

Patience – At first, a newcomer to Linkedin will feel overwhelmed. Actually, that may be putting it mildly especially if you’re less than experienced in social networking, or texting and sending instant messages by phone. Take a deep breath and understand this is not rocket science. Take it one step at a time.

Preview the Linkedin Learning Center and refer to it again and again. Use the Help section. Search online for articles and tips on using Linkedin. Explore all aspects of Linkedin as a kid in a candy store. You’ll find things you never knew existed about Linkedin that can help you achieve your objectives. After considerable time working with Linkedin, I’m still amazed when I discover something new, either by accident or by learning from others.

To this day, I’m excited by signing in to Linkedin and exploring new groups, uncovering new opportunities, seeing who responded to my last post and who commented on my last response, and most importantly, meeting new people and developing online relationships that over time turn into rewarding personal relationships. I’ve actually connected with one of my boyhood heroes, a former ballplayer turned marketing executive, on Linkedin, that I now communicate with on a regular basis!

Happy networking!

Effectively Using Linkedin was originally posted on the franchisEssentials site November 2009.


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Franchisees Using Social Media… Of Course!

This morning I had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed on Tweet Chat by Jennifer MacDonald, Director of Community and Client Engagement at Engage121. The topic of discussion was Franchising and Social Media, a topic very close and dear to my heart.

Starting off the discussion, Jennifer asked me, “Why should I let my franchisees use Social Media?” to which I responded, “Today’s consumer is more sophisticated and technologically advanced than ever before, and expect brands to be online!” and followed up with, “Franchisees need to be on social media to provide the “local” experience for consumers.” The discussion may be viewed on Twitter by searching the hashtag #IFA2012.

But if you really want (need) a more comprehensive answer to the question, I suggest reading Jennifer’s post, Why should I let my franchisees use Social Media, posted today on Engage121 blog. Here’s an excerpt of the post…

Why wouldn’t you? I’m going to guess that your first thought is brand management. That is understandable. But, you let your franchisees market their business now and you have brand guidelines for them to follow. You provide training when they first join your franchise network, and maybe you show them how to use your email marketing system. Why not add a little training about using Facebook for business as well?

If you don’t have the manpower for training, then make sure to add some guidelines to your brand policy. Point your franchisees in the right direction for support, such as Facebook’s Help Center or Twitter’s support center. List a few good blogs for them to follow in order to learn Best Practices, such as Spin Sucks, SmartBrief on Social Media, and Mashable.

Read the complete post here.

About Engage121

For more than 10 years, Engage121, Inc has provided communications software and services to hundreds of national franchisors, dealerships and direct sellers. We sell software applications on a subscription basis to marketing and customer service leaders who need to manage their communities. Simply put, Engage121 is an established social CRM software company. Engage121 drives demand and incremental revenues for customers by providing access to millions of engaged consumers. We have a client-driven development approach to adapt our platform to your business and customer relationships today and tomorrow. Customer satisfaction is our top priority.


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The Foundation to Sales Success

Throughout the franchise community, there are many reasons to prospect for new business. Whether it’s prospecting for franchise candidates, national accounts or even at the franchisee level prospecting for outside sales, good old fashioned sales skills are paramount to sales success. The first step in the sales process, sales prospecting, sets the foundation to that success. Yet, many individuals, even many experienced sales professionals, despise prospecting and some actually fear it! Below are some points from one of our recent B2B training sessions. Keep in mind, whether you’re in B2B or B2C sales, or selling franchises, the fundamentals remain the same. Adapt accordingly.

Sales Prospecting: Motivation and Overcoming Rejection

Style points don’t count. Ability is not enough. In sales, winning comes only with the right attitude! And winning at prospecting or cold calling, whatever you may call it in your business, is all about attitude!

When you’re responsible for opening new accounts, as a salesperson one of the keys to your financial success is your attitude toward prospecting.

If you don’t have the desire to prospect, or are afraid of it, you don’t do it often enough. As a result, your prospecting skills become weaker. This in turn causes your motivation to diminish and prospecting then becomes a monumental task.

ProspectingWhen we evaluate the reasons why a salesperson has failed or plateaus at an unacceptable level, we are constantly reminded of the following; they are not motivated to prospect or, have a fear of rejection. Neither their lack of motivation nor the fear of rejection is the main culprit; both are to blame. It is a catch-22. Either the lack of motivation causes the fear of rejection or the fear of rejection demotivates them. Either way, the person never becomes the effective prospector they could be or should be.

What we offer here, are some ideas on how to get motivated and stay motivated when prospecting or cold calling. We have also included suggestions that will help you overcome the fear of rejection. When you internalize these concepts and techniques, you will become the most effective prospector you can be and will achieve the level of financial success you deserve.

Believe in it: it works.

Prospecting over the phone or cold calling “door-to-door” is a very effective way to find qualified leads for your business. Since the beginning of time, farmers, livestock ranchers and a variety of other vendors have been bringing their products to market on horse and buggy. Today, millions of companies spend millions of dollars and have millions of salespeople doing it. So why shouldn’t you?

Prepare yourself properly.

Prospecting is like a contact sport. You are either prepared and have an advantage over the other person, or you are unprepared and don’t. Top salespeople have regular phrases, statements and/or scripts they use to generate interest on the part of the prospect. They are also prepared with a list of common objections and responses to handle any resistance the prospect or gatekeeper throws at them. This preparation comes from practicing with a peer or sales manager and/or from making a lot of calls to prospects. The key question is, “Are you fully prepared?”

Discipline yourself.

Every time you feel like quitting and/or find yourself procrastinating, you are being bit by the Fear of Rejection bug. The only way to beat this bug is to maintain the discipline to keep going. Discipline in business is about forcing yourself to do something that you don’t want to do. When you are staring at that name on your list or standing outside the prospect’s door – Just do it! No one has more power to discipline you than you.

Convert that feeling.

attitude-scaleTry to understand why you get sick to your stomach when you have to prospect. Or why you hate the phone and have fear of rejection. Ask yourself why you feel this way and then listen for the answer. When you are in a quiet place and are truly interested in finding the reason, it will come out. Don’t let that feeling control you. You have to learn how to control it. Once you have control, you can convert the negative feelings into positive energy. The good news is, the worse you feel now, the stronger you’ll be when you convert it and the more chance you have of being a prospecting dynamo!

Don’t take it personally.

Most, if not all, of the prospects you are going to call are bombarded with salespeople each week. And they reject most, if not all of them. They are not rejecting you; they have rejected every other salesperson that has called them this week. So when you call, it is not you they are rejecting, they are rejecting another salesperson. Don’t feel so singled out. You are among an elite group of people whose job it is to find people who are not so willing to or who are unable to reject salespeople. And that’s easy when you have a good call list and are well prepared.

Partner with a buddy.

Many people that exercise would rather do it with a friend because this helps keep them motivated. Both people enjoy the workout more, plus they keep each other in line. We recommend you find another salesperson in your organization that has the same or better work ethic as you and agree to keep each other motivated and positive during prospecting sessions. When you make commitments to each other of when, how long, and who you are going to prospect, you subconsciously put incredible pressure on yourself to hold up your end of the bargain. This is very healthy pressure to have.

Make the time to prospect.

This is part of the discipline theory we spoke of before. Every salesperson we meet says they are busy, and some say they are too busy to prospect. This is nothing more then an excuse and an infection by the Fear of Rejection bug. Top salespeople make a habit of allocating a certain percentage of their week to prospecting. Regardless of their workload, they put a priority on prospecting and do it regularly. It is your responsibility to make time to prospect and create this habit.

Organize your list of leads.

It is a complete waste of time to make phone calls to companies and people who are not qualified to buy your product or service. Top salespeople have at least 100 qualified leads on their call list at all times. A qualified lead is defined as a prospect you know can use and pay for the products or services you offer or is currently using similar products or services offered by your competition.

A business card is not a prospect.

We are amazed at how little value salespeople put on prospects. They get a business card from somewhere, write some notes on the back and use this as their main prospecting system. A stack of these things with a rubber band wrapped around them is an inefficient method of prospecting. We recommend you use your computer, iPhone or tablet and keep as much information as possible on each prospect. In addition to the name, title, phone number with direct extension, and address of the person who has the authority to buy your product or service, you can collect additional information and use it to your advantage.

Call Decision-Makers only.

Strong lead lists will have the name of the Decision-Maker for each lead. A Decision-Maker is generally defined as the person who makes the decisions in relation to your products or services. Generally, there are two things we look for when categorizing someone as the final Decision-Maker: 1) the ultimate authority in their organization to over-rule everyone’s decisions regarding products or services, 2) the ability to allocate money, set budgets, issue POs, sign checks, give a credit card or enter into agreements. They have the money and they can spend it!

All at once or not?

Salespeople regularly ask us if it is better to cold call for eight straight hours (one full day) or to break it up into two-four hour sessions. Frankly, we have met successful salespeople that do it both ways. One salesperson may prefer to allocate a full day to nothing but prospecting while another may prefer to break it up into two mornings on two different days. We don’t think it makes a difference, we believe we all have to find the method that is comfortable for us. Provided you discipline yourself to concentrate on prospecting during this time period and not on other busy work.

Break up the day/session.

The fact of the matter is that even great prospectors are going to be rejected. Prospecting is a numbers game based on percentages. Having said that, we believe it is sometimes difficult for people to take a lot of rejection for a long period of time. So we recommend breaking up your session in a fashion similar to this. Make a particular number of calls to brand new prospects and then, make some calls to prospects you have previously called on, then call some people for referrals, then take a short break.

What we have just described is one cycle. The length of each cycle will depend on your commitment to prospecting, your work ethic and level of tenacity. In order to effectively prospect, you are going to have to repeat these cycles as often as you can in order to get results. Only you can determine the length of each cycle and how many cycles per day you are comfortable with.

Use a headset.

telephone headsetNot for motivation, for discipline and efficiency. When you are “literally” connected to the phone via a headset, it is much harder for you to walk away from your desk. So many people put the phone down and have trouble picking it back up. They don’t even realize it, but as soon as they put it down, the resistance to picking it back up is even greater. If you don’t have a headset, make it a rule that you will never put the receiver down until you dial at least “x” amount of calls. Just hang up each call with your finger instead of putting the receiver down. Once it’s down it’s even harder to pick back up again!

Hold all calls.

Not for motivation, for discipline and efficiency. A telephone prospecting session is just that – outgoing calls only. Have your receptionist or assistant hold all your calls or direct them to your voice mail. Telephone efficiency is all about rhythm. Once that rhythm is broken it’s hard to get it started again. When you start to field incoming calls you might get sidetracked by a friend or even worse a customer who needs something now. Boom: rhythm broken.

It’s a numbers game.

Even professional baseball players are only successful at getting on base 30% of the time. And they rate in terms of skills in the top 1% of all the millions of kids who start out playing baseball. So let me get this straight. They are the best of the best, get paid millions of dollars and yet actually fail on a consistent basis 7 out of 10 times! Why don’t they get the fear of failure? Because they understand it’s a numbers game. In the sales profession a 20 to 30% success rate is good. When you can secure 2 – 3 appointments from every 10 prospects or leads you are doing a good job. Keep in mind that every customer “no” gets you one step closer to that elusive “yes.” Just keep stepping up to the plate.

Build on little successes.

Regardless of your experience level, you may occasionally hit slumps just as professional athletes do. To overcome this they don’t quit, they focus their attention, practice regularly and keep at it. Little by little they start to succeed and get their confidence back. You can do the same by working a strong referral list or by calling on some previous accounts. By doing so, you will get your rhythm back. As soon as you start to succeed throw in a couple of cold prospects and watch your confidence take over. Even if you are not in a slump, during a call session you may want to call on some older customers to keep your motivation and confidence level up.

Increase your tolerance level.

You don’t start your running career with the 100-mile marathon. You start by first running the 5-mile marathon. Then you build your level of tolerance and stamina. Same with prospecting. If you are suffering from a lack of motivation or the fear of rejection, start small and build your way up. Start with 10 calls the first week, 15 calls the second week, 20 calls the third week, 25 calls the fourth week, and so on.

Set goals.

sales successRecently we were speaking with a veteran salesperson of about 16 years. For the past 8 years, he had a strong account base and did not have to make cold calls. He just took a new job with a company that does most of its business by telephone prospecting. He said he was scared at first (he took a cut in pay in hopes of the bigger payoff) but had faith in the company and went at it. He told me the main reason he has been more successful on the phone than most of the other new reps is because he sets goals for himself every week. He has goals for the number of times he dials the phone, the number of contacts he makes and the number of appointments he sets. Basically, he said he works as many hours as it takes to hit his goals. Now that’s commitment and desire!

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The Focus on Franchise Marketing is Local, Local, Local!

Local appears to be the common denominator in all discussions about marketing in franchise circles. From mobile marketing to social media to software solutions, the discussion always seems to comes back to “local.”. We have even seen Google’s continued shift to complete emphasis on local which has created what appears to be a whole new segment of marketing, local marketing, complete with its own strategies, methodology and tools.

The following is a guest post by Chris Anderson, Co-founder at Empowerkit. Chris enjoys sharing his perspective, insight, and experience whenever and wherever he can as is apparent by his active participation in various franchise LinkedIn groups.

5 Local Online Marketing Support Mistakes Franchisors Should Avoid

Bringing in new franchisees is how franchise systems grow and maintain financial stability, especially early on, and it’s what most franchisors lose sleep over more than anything. But to maintain steady growth, corporate support to existing franchisees plays an essential role – from marketing and advertising, to operations and ongoing training.

All too often, though, franchise support takes a backseat to sales, leaving franchisees feeling alienated from the franchisor and disenfranchised (pardon the pun).

One thing in particular which franchisees are desperately seeking guidance on is online marketing. More specifically, how they can make sure they’re staying competitive online, attracting as many local customers as possible, and generating leads to grow their sales.

Here are 5 common blunders to avoid in franchise local online marketing support:

1. Static Local Websites

Many franchisors, early in the growth process, publish basic landing pages for franchise locations with very little unique local content, and no easy way for the franchisee to make updates. This results in poor search rankings, pathetic conversion rates, and upset franchisees that often go rogue and create their own sites.

What should you do?

Provide a system like Empowerkit, where franchisees can easily make updates to their own websites, within the brand and content controls you set and can oversee at corporate.  Make sure the system is flexible and can adapt with your changing needs over time.

2. No Business Listings

Franchisees generally don’t know the first thing about submitting and maintaining their business listings on Google Places, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and other sites. So, if you don’t give them instructions and best practices, or provide an automated solution, then guess what…there are no business listings for your locations! Complete, comprehensive business listings are a key traffic driver and lead generation source, so don’t make this mistake.

What should you do?

First off, lead by example. Make sure your corporate listing is complete and consistently listed in all of the main search engines and directories. Next, decide whether to engage a specialized vendor, utilize an automated service, and/or provide documentation and best practices.

3. Ignoring Social Media

Whether you love it or hate it, social media is here to stay, and franchisees in almost every industry are trying to figure it out. Franchisors who ignore social media are finding themselves chasing down compliance issues, and seeing dozens of disparate profiles and pages that are poorly managed. Translation – a nightmare for your branding. Worse, they’re missing a great opportunity to gain a competitive edge. Don’t let this be you!

What should you do?

Don’t fight social media, embrace it. It’s the only communication channel that let’s a business directly interact with customers and other stakeholders, which is valuable any type of business. Develop a strategy with defined goals at the local level, layout any necessary policy guidelines, and train franchisees on best practices. Consider working with an outside consultant initially, and remain flexible to adapt your strategy based on results and changing trends.

4. No Attention to Lead Generation Optimization
It’s easy to get lost in what to focus on when it comes to local online marketing, and lose sight of the performance metric that matters the most – lead generation (particularly for service-based franchises). Generating leads is a science, which can always be optimized to bring in more, better qualified prospective customers. In most cases, though, franchisees have little more than a Contact Us page or their phone number and email on their website, and research shows this will produce the lowest possible lead generation results.

What should you do?

Have at least two compelling calls-to-action with connected lead captures on each page of your local websites. One for prospects that are just browsing (i.e. “Free Download: Top Tips for X,  Y, Z”) and the other for those who are “sales ready” (i.e. “Schedule a Free Consultation”). Have analytics events set up that track conversion rates, so that you can test and optimize the different lead generation variables over time to continually increase conversions.

5. No Content Marketing Strategy

What’s becoming key to all online marketing efforts is a sound content strategy. That is, understanding what types of content can be created at corporate and the local level to offer customers relevant, valuable answers to their questions, and solutions to their problems, which should directly relate to the franchise’s products and services. Value driven content is what should fuel the ongoing local website updates (and lead capture CTA’s), social media profiles, online ads, and it’s what has the greatest impact on SEO.

What should you do?

Think long and hard about your brand’s culture, story, strengths, and competitive advantages. Then brainstorm your target customers top questions and frustrations as they relate to solutions that your products and services offer. Come up with ideas for content that can address these questions in a compelling way, and that will help amplify your brand online. It may be through blog posts, videos, photos, webinars, or other content, but the point is that you put a strategy in place and start implementing it through your local online marketing efforts.

These are just five common mistakes that franchisors make. Please share other pitfalls to avoid, and let us know if you have any questions!

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Social Media: A Bridge Between Digital and Real Worlds

Businesses are under pressure to crack the social media code. There’s all those tools and platforms to harness, and all those best practices to adopt. Staying on top of it is exhausting. Staying ahead of it is almost impossible.

This was the lead-in to an interesting interview I recently read with Facebook’s, Paul Adams, Global Brand Experience Manager. Adams explains how a simple commitment to value can unravel the complications of social media. He says the key is to understand and serve basic human behavior.

Will we get to a point where “social media” is not an online thing, but a bridge between the digital and real worlds?

Paul Adams: “I think we’re already seeing it happening. We see Facebook, Twitter and Google Maps stickers on business windows all over town. I do think this is where it’s headed. As I mentioned earlier, social media should be like electricity. It’s there, powering everything, but we don’t really think about it.

Our phone, or whatever we carry around with us, will probably be our primary source and producer of social media data, so it’s important that when we use it, we’re not burdened by its place in the ecosystem — for example, by seeing constant privacy controls or too many invasive alerts.

Fundamentally, the phone collects a number of datasets that other devices don’t. It knows who we communicate with the most, who we care about the most — because it knows who we call and text most often — and it also knows where we are, where we’ve been, and probably where we’re going. And in the near future, it will know the things we buy.

Mobile is going to be a very disruptive space, and I’m not sure how it will evolve. Rather than try and predict which technologies will be dominant, I think the safer bet for businesses is to understand how these technologies will support human behavior and how they will help people do things they are struggling to do today.”

I don’t know why, but I immediately thought of the great Simon & Garfunkel song, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

Read the full interview HERE.

*This post was originally published on this site March 2011.


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