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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Segreto’

Integrated Franchise Marketing & Development

February 15, 2014 7 comments

Integrating technology with traditional strategies for effective franchise marketing and lead generation… a practical plan for future franchise growth, and in some cases, future survival. I shared this and the rest of the article below back in 2011 and I firmly believe it’s still true today!

The days of promoting franchise concepts and brands primarily through static, expensive, two-dimensional advertising are rapidly becoming things of the past. Sure, franchising has experienced a great run and will most likely remain the backbone of small business. However, as we continue to recover from a period of economic uncertainty franchisors must continue to explore and utilize more effective methods and processes in marketing franchise opportunities, products and services as franchise growth objectives continue to be on the forefront of franchisors’ minds in the United States and abroad.

Franchise marketing and development efforts, for both today and tomorrow, must be technologically advanced to attract a more sophisticated, educated (and cautious) franchise candidate and consumer than the franchise industry has ever seen before. A trend that is evolving as an increasing number of transitioning, highly-skilled and educated business professionals and corporate executives explore franchising as a career alternative while already successful street-smart entrepreneurs investigate franchising, perhaps for the first time, as part of their diversification and expansion strategies. As well, value-conscious consumers are spending more and more time researching information online before making a purchase, and not only for the best value. Customer reviews, consumer reports, community involvement and professional affiliation are also being considered.

In addition, today’s franchise marketing and development efforts must be an integration of new technology and traditional strategies, creating what I refer to as Integrated Franchise Marketing (IFM). It’s a comprehensive approach to achieving multiple goals and objectives within startup, emerging and mature franchise organizations. IFM directs its focus on creating or improving brand awareness for the franchise organization at local, regional and national levels, driving revenue for franchisees, and generating genuine interest in the franchise concept itself.

The fact is, candidates and consumers alike, are embracing Social Media and complementing technologies in Mobile Marketing, as a way of researching information and exploring opportunities…including today and tomorrow’s franchise brands, products and services. From this diligent research they will make buying decisions, and will network with others and share the information they’ve accumulated along with their experience with the company they’ve chosen to invest in or do business with. Basically, with an organization they’ve grown to trust!

This article was previously posted on this site October 2011.


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So, you want to do business with franchise companies…

February 13, 2014 1 comment

First, and foremost, please understand that many, many business professionals approach the franchise industry each and every day attempting to sell them everything from insurance to office equipment to financial services. It’s an uphill battle that can be extremely rewarding if the trek is carefully and diligently navigated. That being said, the best approach is directly at the franchise organizations. By going direct, you create the opportunity of gaining the parent company’s endorsement and ultimately, accessibility to the entire franchise base. If you attempt to market to individual franchisees initially, you will spin your wheels and burn out faster than you could ever imagine.

In dealing with franchisors, I recommend a subtle, subliminal approach. You will need to become a resource for them to consider introducing you to their franchisees. That’s your biggest challenge. To conquer it I recommend contacting as many franchise publications and blogs as you can, and submit articles and posts. Of course, end them with your contact info, etc. This positions you as an expert in your field and as a resource for the industry.

You can also achieve expert status by being proactive on LinkedIn. Join as many franchise groups as you can. Keep in mind that direct selling is frowned upon in social networking forums. However, by responding to and posting discussions, you can establish your niche. By doing so, the sales intent will be subtle and subliminal, and effective. In time, I recommend you develop a webinar and invite the franchise community to attend. This is a great way to develop a target list.

Consider developing powerpoint presentations to attach to your LinkedIn profile that people can view at their leisure. Maybe a video on You Tube and post on various blogs and social networks. Improve your Facebook presence. Explore groups you’re interested in targeting and consider forming your own group and establish a business page as well. Check Twitter and integrate your messages there as well. Be sure to cross-promote wherever possible.

Basically, I’ve just outlined for you a marketing strategy that is integrated with social technology. It’s cost-effective and it works. Though, I must remind you to be patient as results take time as you “earn” the right to do business with your target audience. But when the orders start coming in, momentum can build very quickly. It can also be plenty of fun and you will meet many exciting and interesting people along the way.

This post was originally posted on this site January 2010


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Franchise Sales Process: Consistent or Flavor-of-the-Month?

January 30, 2014 1 comment

Occasionally, I take a look at some of my posts from a few years back just to compare my thoughts and perspective from then to now. I always ask myself if I’m consistent so as not to confuse anyone. But more importantly, am I focused for the long-term or for just the here-and-now. Well, below is a post from June 2009. I’m sure you’ll agree that I have been consistent and have not jumped on any flavor-of-the-day bandwagon… It really is about fundamentals and best-practices!

Franchise Sales During the Recession

WSJRecently, in one of the franchise groups on LinkedIn, there was some discussion about the Wall Street Journal article, “Franchise Sales Pull Back During the Recession.” Several franchise professionals posted their comments and, of course, I added my “two cents” as well. Okay, I was definitely long-winded compared to the others, but as most of you who read my articles are well aware, I have a passion for franchising and franchise success and tend to go on and on to share the same with all who will “listen.”

“I too, believe there are many well-qualified candidates exploring franchising. Some as a career alternative, and also, in the case of already being a small business owner, as a business expansion strategy and/or an income diversification plan.

No doubt, the number of overall franchise leads has diminished quite a bit. But I believe many of the “tire kickers” have gone by the wayside while the more qualified candidates continue to search, inquire and ultimately decide franchising is right for them to achieve their goals and objectives. However, in order to fully realize this trend, one must realize that the candidates’ approach has evolved.

Today’s qualified franchise candidate is more sophisticated, educated and technologically advanced than we have ever seen before. Add to the mix, a sense of extreme caution, and their process in exploring franchising and specific franchise opportunities has become more of a detailed, well-thought out strategy.

Always understanding that there is risk in any entrepreneurial endeavor, today’s candidates explore franchising because it may provide even the slightest edge against failure. Their mantra has become, “failure is not an option” and they now live it by doing everything humanly possible to dot every “i” and cross every “t” and then rechecking only to do it over and over again until they have full, complete confidence in their decision.

To that end, the overall process from initial inquiry to franchise award is much longer than in years’ past and that is something franchisors must be prepared to effectively handle. It’s a primary reason I believe social media works so well in the new era of franchise sales as it creates an environment for today’s candidates to research organizations, share information, communicate with individuals at all levels of the franchise organization from franchisees to corporate executives, view photos, audio and video, etc. And, they can do so at their own pace and to their full understanding. That is the key.

Understanding and adapting to today’s qualified franchise candidate will help franchisors ride out this current economic downturn. Putting their heads in the sand and just complaining about the poor economy and the franchise candidate pool drying up will only incorrectly prove true that their negative thoughts are correct.

All that being said, certainly there are challenges in securing financing and other variables that must be contended with and addressed accordingly. But as the franchise candidate pool diminishes and many of the tire kickers aren’t around to waste our time, we should now have more time to explore all options, use our creativity and innovation, network beyond our comfort zones and seek out alternative solutions. I believe those solutions are out there and many are capitalizing on them as we speak. They will not only survive, they will thrive as others have done in other recessionary periods.”

Are You Confused by Franchise Terminology?

January 16, 2014 2 comments

Many, including myself, refer to franchising as an industry… even though we know it’s really not an industry. A business model is probably one of the better definitions, but what does that really mean?

When referring to a franchise, even many within franchising choose from a variety of terms as a point of reference – franchise organization, franchise system, franchise company.

Of course, there’s also the varying terms relating to the franchise relationship – franchisee, franchise partner and not to mention the slang, zee. And to the other side of the relationship – franchisor, head office, corporate office, parent company… and yes, zor.

And what’s the difference between franchisor and franchiser?

Confused yet?

And, franchise locations are independently owned and operated. Yet, the franchise relationship is interdependent… or at least it should be interdependent and not dependent or independent upon… Well, you get it, right?

Now let’s look at the people serving the franchise community. Yep, franchise community is another reference for the franchise list above but let’s move on. Franchise consultants, do they sell or consult? How about franchise brokers, sales agents, sales representatives, and again, franchise consultants. Whew!

Moving down the chain there are franchise suppliers, service providers and vendors… What’s the difference? Preferred or approved? Is there really a difference?

Of course, there are references to segments within franchising such as master franchising and sub-franchising… Which one is correct? And, isn’t the sub-franchisor actually the master franchisee? I guess it all depends on which end of the relationship one is on.

How about now – confused yet?

Franchise services means what, and providing services to who? Franchisee to end-user? Franchisor to franchisee? Franchise service provider to franchisor and/or franchisee?

Same can be said of franchise marketing, right? Does marketing in a B2B or B2C scenario but within a franchise environment mean that it’s franchise marketing? Or, is franchise marketing actually marketing to franchise candidates?

Speaking about franchise candidates, when is a candidate actually a candidate and not a lead or just an interested party? Does this fall under franchise sales or franchise development? And who’s in charge – the VP of Franchise Sales, VP of Franchise Development, or VP of Franchising?

And then there’s reference to franchise professionals. Is a franchisee a franchise professional? How about if the franchisee is a multi-unit franchisee with 25 locations? How about a franchise attorney? Franchise service provider?

If a franchise executive is a franchise professional, at what level of management does one begin to be considered a franchise professional? How about within the franchise organization itself?  Secretary, if their support is purely administrative as opposed to an admin that actually communicates with franchisees?

Oh, and should the CEO of a franchise company be considered a franchisor as we often refer to them as such at franchise events?

Ironic how franchising is the replicating of a system with focus on consistency in image, appearance, product and service from one location to another. Yet, there’s little consistency in the terminology used to define many aspects of franchising.

A Look Back at IFA Conventions – Many Fond Memories Shared!

January 4, 2014 4 comments

A few years ago, I started a discussion on the IFA Linkedin group about the then upcoming IFA Convention. I inquired as to who would be attending the event, and what they were hoping to bring back to their franchise organizations. Many franchise professionals shared their reasons for attending which ranged from seeing old faces to building relationships to improving franchise sales to learning more about social media. All great reasons. But one response in particular really shined through. It was a response from franchise veteran, Michael Seid.

Reflecting back, I know many smiled as I did when reading his response. Actually, it was his personal recollection of how IFA conventions have evolved since the first convention and his reference to people and events that made it special.

Well, as this year’s IFA convention in New Orleans quickly approaches, I thought it might be inspiring and thought-provoking to revisit Michael’s response and share it once again. Enjoy!

“1985 was in Miami if I recall and that was not my first so it may be longer than [25 years]. If I recall the attendance at my first convention was measured in the hundreds – not like we have now in the thousands. It was a much different association – we have come a long way with programming and content and member services. A lot of the founders were still around. I just got a great biography of Joe Francis from The Barbers who was very active years ago. If you did not know Joe you missed a great man – really a fine individual who went out of his way to give guidance to anyone who asked for his help. His son is still very active in the IFA. It’s a great quick read if you have not seen the book. Joe is gone 15 or more years.

The culture of the IFA has not changed. You can still corner an experienced member as a new comer and they seem always to be thrilled to mentor and give advice. I remember asking Fred DeLuca a question when I was new in the association and he spent two or more hours giving me his advice. That has not changed at all as most members today will do the same for a new comer.

Looking back at what has changed – No franchisees back then. That was a major difference Steve Lynn and Jim Bugg made that happen). No PAC to speak of (Sid Feltenstein changed that). No franchise appreciation day (Bernie Browning‘s idea). No Education Foundation only an education committee (I think Sid Feltenstein is also responsible for that). No thought of diversity or minorities in franchising (Ron Harrison). No VetFran (Don Dwyer‘s idea during the first gulf war). No Second Tuesdays (if it was not Lane Fisher and Scott Lehr then they were responsible for making it grow as it has). Who would have thought we would be looking at using franchising to provide products and services to the poor in the emerging markets and yet today we have the Social Sector Franchising task force. No CFE (John Reynolds). No one would have thought of a franchisee ever being chairman (Steve Siegel was the first and Doc Cohen the second). No franchisees or suppliers forum leadership on the board (Joyce Mazero if I recall was the first Counsel of Suppliers chair on the board and Jeff Kolton was the second – although we had no vote then. Supplier membership on the Executive Committee did not exist (I had that privilege when I was supplier chair to be the first because of Gary Charlwood).

I remember the IFA chair years ago saying that he would never let a mattress salesman (his word for suppliers) ever being on the board. Suppliers got a board vote when Gary Charlwood was chairman). No suppliers elected to the board in their own name for six years (I was privileged to be the first and Lane Fisher the second). No women as chairman (Joanne Shaw was the first and Dina Dwyer the second). No major investment in research (Mike Isakson). I think Jim Amos when he was chair actually creating the first IFA long range strategic plan. When Don DeBolt became president of the IFA we were near bankrupt and look at the great financial condition we are in now (Russ Frith as Treasurer did an amazing job). We did a lousy job in lobbying years ago and now we have a huge public affairs team. We dealt with Coble and LaFalce holding hearings on relationship laws in Congress and those days are gone.

Yes a lot has changed over the years. We owe a debt to a lot of some very smart folks who were in the leadership back then who kept adding great elements to make the association better. Along the way we had some who were less than stellar also but for the most part, we have been fortunate by those who chose to be in the leadership. Lets not forget the amazing job Debbie Moss has done in growing and professionalizing the convention supported by a really professional team of staff.

Still with all of the change, growth and the better financial condition of the association, the culture of the IFA has not really changed. I expect that many of the members/leaders from years ago who have not been active in the IFA will be at the 50th anniversary. Some of them will be surprised and pleased how far we have come.”

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