Tag Archives: franchise sales

Storytelling and Franchising: Keeping It Simple.

15 May

Multi-Unit Franchising

 

Franchise Update Media hosted another spectacular Multi-Unit Franchising Conference recently in Las Vegas. This is one of my favorite annual business conferences due the diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and interests of the attendees.

The final day included a fantastic session discussing issues impacting small business owners. The International Franchise Association’s Matt Haller moderated the panel which included Catherine Monson of FASTSIGNS, Matthew Patinkin of Double P Corp, Ron Feldman of ApplePie Capital, and IFA Chair Shelly Sun of BrightStar Care. This “A-Team” of business leaders offered their candid insights on many subjects, but the prevailing topic was the National Labor Relations Board and its 2015 ruling on the joint employer standard.

It occurs to me that such non-elected policy makers, as well as some elected officials, journalists, and activists are dreadfully uneducated about the ownership of a franchised business. This leads to the general public being uninformed and in many cases purposefully misinformed.

If we want to correct this, we need tell the story of franchising in simple terms —  so simple, in fact, that a politician and maybe even a journalist could understand.

Here are my two suggestions to properly and simply communicate the role of a franchisee:

1. The Franchisee Is a Customer of the Franchisor

There’s no clearer argument than showing that a franchisee is a customer of the franchisors and not an employee or middle-manager. There are many things small business owners must purchase in order to open their doors. The purchase from the franchisor is just one of those things.

As an example, let’s use a home services franchise brand such as a plumbing, landscaping, or cleaning franchise. There are several things you need to buy If you want to own one of these businesses including:

A) The Franchise.
B) A Truck.

If you buy a Ford F150 for your business, does this mean The Ford Motor Company is a joint employer of your staff?

Of course not. The car brand from whom you purchased your truck is not in charge of your employees.  Also, the plumbing brand from whom you purchased your franchise is not in charge of your employees.

 

2. Not Franchisees. Owners.

While some franchise systems may have specific language that they can or can’t use in some agreements, in general discussions we should refer to owners as owners.

If we, as an industry, had used this terminology more often in recent years, the anti-business Washington bureaucrats, lobbyists, and activists may have targeted a different industry. They would have perpetrated their schemes on a business sector without owners.

 

 

Reaching Franchise Candidates on LinkedIn

1 Nov

linkedin logo

 

More franchisors have asked me about using Social Media for franchise development in the past 6 weeks than in the previous 6 years.

At recent events including FranTech, Franchise Leadership and Development Conference, The Chicago Women’s Franchise Network, and Springboard, my conversations have focused on using Facebook for not only generating new leads from your consumer customer base, but also engaging with candidates further down your franchise development sales funnel using Facebook’s Custom Audience Targeting.

And often, the next question has been: “But what about LinkedIn?”

Franchisors at these events ask about improving their results in finding candidates on LinkedIn. Many tried LinkedIn early in their online marketing journey but got bad results and quickly moved on.

I suggest that LinkedIn may not be appropriate for engaging with some types of potential franchisees, just as Facebook or other channels may not work for other types of prospects.

Recommendation #1: Before jumping into any social media marketing for franchise development, look at who your candidates are and where they spend their time on social media.

 

Facebook LinkedIn Franchising

 

The Facebook Side

If your best franchise candidates are those folks who will be operating their own store or other franchise location day-to-day, Facebook is the best place to engage. They may be customers of a current franchisee who could visualize themselves running their own shop. They have an interest – and hopefully a passion – for your brand’s type of service, work, food, or culture!

At our FLDC panel discussion, Wild Birds Unlimited exemplified this type of brand. Chief Development Officer Paul Pickett shared how individuals on Facebook can engage with a brand that shares their passion and then picture themselves as owning their own store.  I would add that being a great storyteller and sharing appealing images and videos is key in developing these relationships! Facebook is the most important place to spend your development time as this is where such future owners are already spending their time.

 

The LinkedIn Side

If your best franchise candidates are looking for an investment or for their next franchise award, let’s look at LinkedIn. Those candidates are in “the business of business” and invest in a franchise based only on return. LinkedIn is an excellent place to share information about your franchise’s value.

On the same FLDC panel, LinkedIn success was represented by ZIPS Franchising. ZIPS Vice President Aaron Goldberg does a fantastic job communicating on LinkedIn with potential business partners who are multi-unit owners investing in franchises.

At my FranTech Roundtable on Social Media in October, many Franchisors shared with me that they burn through their LinkedIn ad budgets quickly. Unlike Facebook where your boosted posts are easy for the right prospects to consume, LinkedIn puts you in a very competitive position to get a franchise development ad viewed.

 

Recommendation #2: I’m currently recommending not initially buying ads on LinkedIn. Instead, use LinkedIn as the one-to-one communication tool that Twitter was meant to be. There’s no advertising cost to engage with a person as another person!

LinkedIn may not be a great place to generate a completely new lead, but it is the best place to communicate with potential business partners with whom you’re already engaged.

 

Recommendation #3: Use LinkedIn for franchise development via your personal profile, not your company LinkedIn page. People buy from people. The goldmine of LinkedIn for any brand is in its use by company representatives as individuals. Sure, your company page needs to be updated and appealing. But the heavy lifting needs to be done from you as a business leader.

 

Recommendation #4: Use these tactics every day to get to the next level with your franchise prospects on LinkedIn:

*Share relevant business articles and blog posts that would be of interest to your candidates.

*Reach out to them via LinkedIn messages and InMails. Both have a significantly higher response rate than emails.

And remember the most important thing when promoting a business to prospective buyers on social media: even when you’re not engaging with them, they’re watching you!

 

 

 

Reaching Franchise Candidates on Facebook

18 Oct

Facebook Reach

 

Are you using Facebook to sell Franchises?

For nearly all Franchise Development executives with whom I’ve spoken this year, the answer is “Sure!”  Less than 2 two years ago, the answer was, “Why?”

I have recently spoken to several groups about Social Media and Franchising including the International Franchise Association Convention 2016 FLDC in Atlanta, and IFA’s Women’s Franchise Network in Chicago.  At these events, the subject that attendees keep coming back to is Facebook Custom Audience Targeting for franchise development.

Custom Audience Targeting allows you to upload a database of email addresses and then serve up Facebook ads to only those people. While Facebook won’t open the floodgate of targeting your prospects by name, it will match the person’s email address from your list to a Facebook user profile.

Here are step-by-step instructions on uploading your email list to Facebook Custom Audience Targeting.

 

An Easy Touchpoint for Your Prospects

While consumer marketers have been taking advantage of this capability for nearly as long as there have been ads on Facebook, many franchise marketers have not yet discovered it. Most franchisors are focused on creating awareness with larger audiences based on demographics. They’re missing an easy touchpoint with their leads and candidates who could be engaged in a place where they are easy to reach.

And REACHING them is what it’s really all about! This isn’t about finding people who you never knew existed. It’s about not discovering a whole new species of humanoid who wants to be a franchisee. This is about getting in front of your candidates where they already live.

The average American adult spends nearly 7 hours per week on Facebook. Insert yourself and your brand into those hours among the political memes, game highlights, family photos, and cat videos.

 

Multiple Stages, Multiple Messages

If your email database is updated and well-managed, you can serve messages appropriate for every stage in your sales funnel. One message may be great for an old lead that faded away a while back. A very different message may fit a candidate further along in the pipeline. The more narrowed-down your target audience, the more relevant your message, and the more efficient your ad spend!

 

A Unique Marketing Opportunity for Franchising

Franchise Development is different than other Business-To-Business sales types in that prospects and leads use their home or personal email addresses on whatever submission forms brought those email addresses into your database. This is perfect for Facebook Customer Audience Targeting, as most people sign up with Facebook using their personal email address.  Selling other business services can be challenging using this method, as most B2B sales pros have prospects’ work email addresses, not the ones that match Facebook’s database. In this way, as in many other ways, Fran Dev is much more like B2C selling in the digital world.

Franchise Sales Using Facebook

5 Oct

fRANCHISING

How much of your brand’s Facebook activity should be devoted to franchise sales efforts versus consumer marketing and engagement?
 
Many franchise systems with whom I’ve spoken in the past several years have struggled with balancing their social media communication for consumers and their engagement with potential franchisees. Some designate a certain amount of content on the page for consumer marketing and an amount for franchise development. Others create completely separate Facebook pages for their franchise sales messages.

I don’t recommend either of these practices; all goals of marketing a franchise on Facebook can be achieved in a more holistic approach.

 

Your Page Versus Their Feed

First, let’s stop thinking of Facebook pages like websites with certain amount of real estate devoted to various parts of your organization. A Facebook page is really just your starting point.

The true power of Facebook communication lies in users seeing your brand and your news on his or her news feed, not on your Facebook page.

It doesn’t really matter what’s on your page. Very few people are ever going to seek out your page and view it the way people once did with websites. Typical consumers won’t be confused by your franchise sales messages because they don’t see them.

 

Organic Versus Paid Target

Your messages may be seen as organic (free) posts, which will reach 2% to 20% of your fans, depending on your fanbase size. But more likely, your messages will be seen in the form of boosted posts or other types of paid advertising. The reach or size of audience depends how many dollars you want to spend.

Target your paid content by the demographics of your franchise sales candidates. This goes beyond just age and gender; target according to your typical candidates’ interests, industries, and more.

Even within your group of franchise sales posts, you may want to change up content or demographics based on location. Messages promoted to Texas candidates might need to be different than those promoted to Florida candidates.

Your brand’s fans and your franchisees’ customers won’t see that content. With a few exceptions, I typically don’t see anything wrong with showing consumers some franchise sales-specific social media content. But when paying to boost and target Facebook posts, it is cost prohibitive to show all messages to all people.

 

 

Franchisors: Don’t Do Facebook Promoted Posts from Your Brand Page.

22 Mar

 

Facebook Dollar 11

 

You need Facebook ads and promoted posts not from your brand’s Facebook page, but from all of your franchisees’ Facebook pages.

By pushing out ads from your franchisees’ local pages, you’re ensuring that 100% of this investment is going toward potential customers near your local units. If you only boost posts from a brand page, you will be spending many dollars on advertising to people who are 500 miles from your nearest franchisee, even when using demographic targeting on your brand page.

And those people who are far away miles from your nearest franchisee? Target those folks with your Franchise Development story in promoted posts from your brand page or special Fran Dev pages!

 

Franchise King – Become a Franchise Owner!

9 Feb

Joel Libava

 

If you’re in Franchising and are heading to the IFA Convention, here’s a last minute tip for your trip: go download Joel Libava‘s new book Become a Franchise Owner! for the flight to Orlando. 

The Franchise King!


While I’m sure Joel, “The Franchise King”, wrote the book for entrepreneurs and future business owners, I am recommending this work for everyone working the franchise space including marketers, operations, sales, and especially suppliers. While most of these folks will never buy a franchise themselves, Joel lays out fantastic inside information on how this industry works and answers questions that they may have not known to ask.

I myself have been working with franchise system brands, CEOs, and CMOs for a decade or so and found myself thinking, “oh, that’s how that works,” or “ah, that’s why they do it that way…”

And, it’s a fun, honest read by a guy who is not afraid to hold back! 

 

Franchise Social Media Summit

12 Sep

Franchise Social Media Summt 

I am thrilled to be speaking at Franchise Social Media Summit 2011.  As part of Social Media Week 2011, organizers Paul Segreto and Jeremy LaDuque have put together a one-day virtual conference for franchisors, franchisees, and any one involved in franchising.

 


Date: September 21, 2011

Time: 8am – 4pm (CT)

Place: Online and everywhere!


Here’s what you will learn at the summit:

> Why social media is different for franchising than other business models

> How to develop a social media program, including policies and procedures, specific to the franchise organization

> How to integrate new technology with traditional marketing and why you shouldn’t be afraid to do so

> Why today’s consumer and franchise candidates act differently than from years past

> How to create multiple benefits to the franchise organization through powerful brand awareness methods 

> How to generate genuine interest in franchise opportunities and why a seamless transition from virtual world to in-person is essential to closing franchise sales

> Why improving communications and information sharing at all levels of the franchise organization is necessary for stability and future growth

 

Summit Speakers:

Keynote: Lon Safko, author of The Social Media Bible

Jon Carlston, Vice President, Process Peak

Joe Caruso, President, Capital Area Franchise Association

BJ Emerson, VP Technology, Tasti D-Lite

Jack Monson, Vice President, Engage121, Inc.

David Murray, Social Web Communications Director, re:group

Lee Plave, Partner, Plave Koch PLC

Nick Powills, CEO, No Limit Media Consulting

Debra Vilchis, COO, Fishman Public Relations

Paul Segreto, President & CEO, franchisEssentials

Jeremy LaDuque, President & CEO, Elements, Inc.

 


 

Social Media: Candy for Franchises

26 Jan

  Social Media Hearts

 
Social Media is a means to give your brand a voice, put a face on your corporation, and give consumers “someone” to engage. Remember, people don’t buy from companies; they buy from people.

  

Nowhere is the opportunity greater than in the Franchise Industry, where even the biggest global brand is represented by a local business owner (and many times literally mom n’ pop)! The explosive growth of social media platforms means most of your potential customers are now reachable. Smart franchise systems are reaching those customers by empowering their franchisees with training and tools to be that local voice, face, and identifiable part of the community.

  

And, last but certainly not least, a social media plan and tools will give your franchise sales team a boost by presenting franchise candidates with an attractive – and affordable – benefit to selecting your system above others. The very fact that you have a plan of attack in social media may a deal-maker for some potential franchisees.

 

If you’re in franchising, I hope to see you at the 51st Annual International Franchise Association Convention . Perhaps we can continue this discussion!

 

I have organized a Tweetup at the IFA show with Deb Evans, Matt Haller, and my colleagues from Engage121. If you’re attending, please join us on Sunday evening. Here are the details: http://tweetvite.com/event/ifa

 

 

 

How to Increase Franchise Sales with Social Media

27 Jul

Social Media tools are improving marketing and sales efforts for small businesses every day. Nowhere is the impact greater than within franchise systems.
 
Not only are smart franchisors driving traffic into outlets’ locations and onto websites, but they are also driving recruitment of new franchisees using social media channels.
 
Here are two simple ways we can engage prospective franchisees: sharing our story in order to attract new interest and exploring the social web for new leads with whom we should connect.  
  

 

I. Speak and Share – Tell Your Stories

 
As one client recently stated, “I want potential franchisees to experience what my current franchisees are experiencing.”
  

Prospective franchisees are searching for information well before they pick up the phone or take your call. Be found! More blogs, Fan Pages, and other platforms populated with your content means more candidates will find your brand and your story.  Showhomes has had an amazing increasing in franchise sales this year partially due aggressive social media efforts.

In the below example, I am marketing and developing new business for the “Java121” Coffee Franchise Company. I’m using the Engage121 app to share these stories across all platforms (Facebook Fan Page, our blog, Twitter, and any other platforms I choose). As the same time, I’m cross-pollenating that same content for all of my current franchisees’ platforms as well!

I compose a bit of content and perhaps share a link to an article. Note that with Engage121’s merge fields, the content will be customized for each franchisee.  

 

 

Next I choose all or any franchisees on whose behalf this message will be sent. Also, I choose all or any platforms to which I’m posting:Done! We have just shared that content, with a link to more information about our coffee to all of my corporate brand pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts as well as all of those pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts belonging to every franchisee in the system. This message about our product, brand, and system is out there! If I had 250 franchisees, this content would have posted to over 1,000 individual sites instantly. 

Smart marketers and franchise development pro’s are not limiting these stories to only focus on products and services. They are sharing the success stories about franchisees’ booming businesses to attract candidates who wish to be a part of that opportunity.  

    
II. Explore and Find New Connections
 

You must seek out discussions held by potential candidates. This is something impossible to do just a couple of years ago! Using Engage121, I am searching not only Twitter, but also virtually all social media platforms, hundreds of thousands of blogs and traditional media (newspapers, TV, magazine, etc.). 

I ran a quick search of the phrase “start my own business” and found 34 people tweeting that phrase just the past 24 hours! These are leads I need to engage! Note, you may also filter your results by state, county, or city for targeted exploration. I can engage this person in conversation immediately. Introduce yourself and start the conversation!  

       
 
I can “tag” anyone if find, so here I’m tagging someone as “candidate”. This is useful for keeping up with large groups of individuals and listening to what they’re saying later on.
 

 

Also note that any leads from traditional sources that you’re managing via a CRM system or other means should be imported into this application so you can listen to and engage via their social media hot spots as well!
 
 
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