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Feature Story:

7 Tips To Spot A Sales Superstar During Interviews »

By Eliot Burdett

Interviewing sales candidates can be extremely difficult since even a subpar seller is trained to tell people what they want to hear. Many candidates look great on paper, only later to turn in lackluster performances.

Since the cost of bad hires is enormous for a company's bottom line, it is critical for those in charge of hiring to "get it right." The key is to look beyond the resume and test for certain personality traits. Here are the 7 most common personality traits found in top sales performers, and tips to find out if the candidate across the table truly possesses them.

1) Success-driven. While skills can be learned, a desire to succeed and a pattern of behavior often cannot. Since no sales candidate will assess themselves as unambitious, the interviewer must delve deeper...

Feature Story:

Workplace Communication: Where Has All The Candor Gone?, Part 2 »

By Gregory Ciotti

Editor's note: Part 1 appeared in the previous issue of this newsletter. The original article appeared on the Help Scout blog.

Hudl, a sports video software company based in Lincoln, Neb., has a system for feedback they refer to as #RealTalk. Playing off the slang phrase "real talk" (curt honesty), the team uses the phrase to denote when a conversation has taken a serious turn. It's a half-joking phrase used to inspire genuine candor among the team:

RealTalk, one of six values read off at the start of each Hudl retreat, plays an important role in the company, from use in hiring to performance reviews to product updates. It's written in emails, said out loud before feedback is given ("All right, give me the real talk...

Feature Story:

Q&A: The ACA Rollout - What Franchisees Need To Know »

By Benjamin Geyerhahn

The Affordable Care Act has introduced widespread changes to the healthcare landscape. It has increased the availability, quality, and affordability of health insurance for the general population, regardless of age, gender, or pre-existing medical conditions. The ACA has also altered the guidelines for employer-sponsored insurance, which has thrown many small- and mid-sized businesses for a loop.

In 2015, the ACA employer mandate will require employers with 50 or more full-time employees (defined as an average of 30+ hours per week) to offer a minimum coverage health plan at affordable rates (less than 9.5 percent of an employee's household income). Additionally, companies with 200 or more employees are required to automatically enroll employees in employer-sponsored insurance with a waiting period of no more than 90 days...

Feature Story:

Customer Service: Empower Employees To Go Beyond The Rules »

By John Tschohl

There are rules for a reason: they work for most people most of the time. Often, scientific evidence backs them up. But as with almost any other endeavor in society that doesn't involve criminal activity, rules can sometime be broken - or at least bent - without the world coming to an end.

This is especially true in business. Company owners and top executives give a lot of thought to winning and keeping customers, and they spend a lot of time and money on things like PR, leadership training, social media campaigns etc. But the real front lines of building a business are in the daily interactions employees have with customers.

One of the major roadblocks to customer service excellence are the policies and procedures most companies have in place to make sure that 1 percent of their customers don't take advantage of them...

Feature Story:

Store Analytics: Franchise Networks Should Act More Like Chains »

By Mark Ryski

The benefits of tracking traffic and measuring conversion rates in retail stores have long been established and are now widely considered fundamental in retailing. Not only have retailers been doing it for decades, but the retailers who leverage the insights effectively have an "insight edge," and consequently a competitive advantage over retailers who do not.

Over the course of the last 10 years, I have worked with a multitude of franchise and dealer networks including those in wireless, general merchandise, electronics, home improvement, and automotive segments. Regardless of the type of franchise network, I see a consistent disconnect between franchisors and franchisees when it comes to analytics, especially store traffic and conversion analytics...

Feature Story:

SEO: "If You're Not On Page One Of Search Results, You Don't Exist" »

By Eddy Goldberg

How's your SEO effort going? You're measuring everything, have a clear idea of the ROI, and your company always comes up near the top of page one, right? Right.

However, if you're like many of the 442 marketing and sales decision-makers and practitioners worldwide who responded to a recent survey, you still have plenty of room for improvement. The "SEO Marketing Benchmark Summary Report" from Ascend2 and its research partners (April 2014), asked 9 questions about the most challenging obstacles to SEO success in the year ahead and how those marketers plan to overcome them.

According to the report, here's one important reason to take SEO seriously: "If you're not on page one of search results, you don't exist." Since most purchase decisions - whether by consumers or franchisee candidates - begin with an online search, the report continues, this is why the C-suite is paying so much attention to their organization's natural search rankings...

Feature Story:

Minimize Risks From Franchisee Email And Social Media »

By Cheng Cohen

Email is dominating business communications, and social media is replacing much of what previously was done through print advertising. By all appearances, these and other electronic communication tools will increase in both usage and importance.

As a result, franchisors should consider if, to what extent, and how they should control the use of these mediums by those associated with the brand. It is not uncommon, for instance, for franchisors to assign email addresses to their franchisees and require that those email accounts be used in the operation of the franchised unit. Franchisors may also permit or encourage franchisees to use social media in connection with the promotion and operation of their businesses.

But control or oversight over franchisees' assigned email accounts and social media communications can expose franchisors to liability...

Feature Story:

Safeguard Your Customers From Hackers: 3 Failures To Avoid »

By David Ellis

Every day there seems to be a new "security breach" making the news. We hear a lot more that don't make the news. Businesses from all over the world call us in a panic, trying to figure out what went wrong with their online security. Unfortunately, for many franchise systems, these miscues are common. My hope in sharing some details from three actual security failures is that you will discover actions you can take to enhance your own IT security practices.

1) Please pass the pepperoni - and the passwords. Several small pizza chains used the same restaurant management software and POS system. Sadly, hundreds of those restaurants were hacked.

Once each restaurant's POS system was configured, the local restaurant owners did not change the default password set by the payment application vendor...

Feature Story:

Using Social Media Inside Your Organization »

By Eddy Goldberg

"Businesses that successfully transition to social organizations will have a competitive advantage over those that do not."

That's from a white paper called "Using Social Media to Improve Organizational Communication & Efficiency," authored by Amy M. Young and Mary D. Hinesly from the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

For the past several years, we've been hammering away here at Franchise Update about the importance of "breaking down the silos" in your corporate organization. Also for the past several years, we've all been hearing ad nauseam about how we need to embrace social media to reach and engage customers.

But what about using social media tools within the organization to have different departments - sales, marketing, operations, field support, real estate, etc...

Feature Story:

To Grow, Reinvest In Infrastructure, Technology, And People »

By Richard S. Weissman

Many franchise leaders are slow to embrace the idea that the best time to grow is in uncertain times. Even those who may reluctantly agree are often constrained by the demands of stakeholders for bottom-line performance, and use the excuse of the "bad economic storm" to cut expenses to meet those bottom-line expectations. Historically, however, the fact remains that the strongest companies are those that create working systems to grow during all economies, and that see the opportunity in bad times for accelerated growth.

In my experience as the CEO of a national early childhood education franchise, while the majority of others in the field experienced difficulty securing new franchisees to continue growth, our reinvestment and leadership speaks well of the brand, and has allowed us to see exceptional growth during recent economic tumult: more than 410% growth since the 2008 recession...

Feature Story:

Lead Generation Checklist: Time To Review Your Process? »

By Steve Olson

The following is a review of the lead generation principles and best practices outlined in my book, "Grow To Greatness: How to build a world class franchise faster." For a more in-depth examination of successful lead-generation practices, ordering information is available at the end of this checklist.

✓ Embrace the four successful lead generation principles that high-growth franchisors use to expand their brands:

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup - March 2013 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Facebook no longer cool? Teens desert it for newer platforms
Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr are all experiencing a lot of success with the teen demographic, which often serves as a sensitive barometer of trends. Teens report finding Facebook addictive, lacking in privacy, and not as much fun as Instagram or Tumblr. And that's according to Facebook, whose annual 10-K report, filed in February, noted the trend and admitted that it could harm the brand in the long run. That said, Facebook owns Instagram, and is working hard and successfully to capture mobile social media traffic.

Retailers pin their hopes on Pinterest
With 25 million young, mostly female users who are well-educated and have plenty of disposable income, Pinterest attracts a lot of attention from retailers...

Feature Story:

NPS: Identify, Improve, And Maintain Customer Loyalty »

By Steve Baxter

Nothing is more critical to the success or decline of a franchise brand than what customers think or say about its products or services. As a rule, franchisors who understand and appreciate the significance of customer loyalty are the ones most likely to thrive. Those that don't "get it" generally experience challenges that can seep into multiple areas of their franchise organization, including overall sales, recruitment, and retention of franchisees and customers alike.

Franchise organizations that deliver a customer experience that drives engagement and generates strong recommendation behavior on all levels will get a higher return. Customer experience directly affects referrals, repurchase, renewals, and reputation. Today's competitive market, combined with word of mouth through the web, amplifies the impact customer loyalty has on financial performance throughout a franchise system...

Feature Story:

Turn Your Convention Momentum Into Year-Long Results! »

By Evan Hackel

This is the final installment of our three-part series on leveraging franchisee conventions. Part 1 addressed how to improve attendance at your franchisee convention. Part 2 discussed how to make your franchisee convention an event that provides the maximum benefit to your franchisees.

In part three, we look at strategies you can employ to take the momentum and ideas gathered at your convention into your franchise operations and as a recruiting tool for the next conference. As with parts one and two, we draw on the results of an online survey conducted by Speak!, Ingage Consulting, and Franchise Business Review, which drew responses from nearly 200 franchisors.

Hosting a top-quality, exciting conference can do many things for your organization...

Feature Story:

Social Media: Does It Sell Franchises (Yet)? »

By Eddy Goldberg

In the ever-changing world of social media, much has changed in how franchisors are using these emerging platforms to reach customers. The use of social media for attracting franchisee prospects, however, lags far behind, with many questioning its use at all in franchise development. Nevertheless, franchisors continue experimenting with LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Craigslist to reach prospects.

Although selling franchises through social media platforms still ranks quite low in terms of total sales, the numbers are climbing, though slowly, as franchisors learn to use these new channels--and the trend is clearly toward increased adoption, as both franchisors and prospects learn to incorporate these channels into their recruitment and research activities...

Feature Story:

Maximizing The Benefits Of Your Franchisee Convention »

By Evan Hackel

Part 1 of this three-part series addressed how to improve attendance at your franchisee convention. In part two, we discuss how you can make your franchisee convention an event that provides the maximum benefit to your franchisees. As with part one, we use results gleaned from an online survey conducted by Speak!, Ingage Consulting, and Franchise Business Review, which drew responses from nearly 200 franchisors.

There is no better advertisement or promotion of your convention than having a top-quality event. "Your annual meeting can have a tremendously positive effect on a franchisee's productivity, profitability, and passion for the brand," says Katrina Mitchell, CEO of Speak!

When you have a winning event, the franchisees who attended not only put it on their calendar as a must-attend for next year, they pass that feedback on to other franchisees who did not attend, and to new franchisees...

Feature Story:

9 Tips For Greater Ad Response »

By Steve Olson

Getting the most from your advertising spend is more important than ever. These 9 tips can help you become more effective at choosing where you place your ads - and how to evaluate the results.

1. Test, test, test. Especially now, with the Internet's instant feedback, measure different creative to determine which brings the greatest response and run with it. Advertising is a science, so experimentation often pays off in additional franchise prospects. Did you know the headline "business opportunities" draws greater response than "franchise opportunities" does? Or that "businesses for sale" outperforms both of these recruitment titles? Test, test, test!

2. Develop opportunity-driven ads. Focus on ownership benefits and rewards, market potential, product demand, lifestyle, unique advantages, and growth opportunities...

Feature Story:

Hiring A PR Agency »

By Steve Olson

Note: For part 1, Discovering the Power of Public Relations, click here.

Public relations is a business and a world unto itself, and most franchisors should consider outsourcing their publicity efforts when they can afford it. Good agencies have established ongoing relationships with editors of key media and know how to package and present your franchise with story angles they are seeking. They understand which TV, radio, print, and Internet venues have target audiences you need to reach, and they can create special events and activities that will garner live and positive coverage for your franchise.

Unlike what we may think, public relations is a very tough, fiercely competitive business. Successful PR agencies are professional "boiler room magicians," constantly pitching your franchise to hundreds of media people every month through phone calls, letters, PR kits, email blasts, personal visits, trade show events, lunch meetings, etc...

Feature Story:

The Winner's Column - May 2012 »

By Eddy Goldberg

As savvy franchise companies continue to flourish in a volatile economy, FUSR continues to bring you good news each month, highlighting brands that are adding units, increasing comp store sales, innovating, and continuing to grow, whether domestically or overseas. To be considered for next month's Winner's Column, please send your good news to


Burger King Refranchises 96 Florida Restaurants to Guillermo Perales
Burger King has sold 96 company-owned restaurants in the Orlando-Daytona market to Magic Burgers LLC, a subsidiary of Sun Holdings LLC. Founded in 1997 by Guillermo Perales, Sun Holdings became a Burger King franchisee in 1999. The acquisition makes Perales, president and CEO of Sun Holdings, the fourth largest U...

Feature Story:

2012 Annual Franchise Development Report Now Available »

By Eddy Goldberg

Last year the headline on our Annual Lead Generation Survey story in Franchise Update magazine read: "Adapt or Die." Responses to two new survey questions this year indicate franchisors have taken this lesson to heart.

In responding to the question, "Do you believe the fundamental lead generation process used before the recession must be changed to effectively recruit today's buyers?" three out of four (77 percent) said Yes. And to a similar question about the franchise sales process, 74 percent said Yes.

"Don't wait for the recruitment environment to change. You need to change your approach to succeed in this environment," said Franchise Update Media Group President Steve Olson, who unveiled the results of the 14th annual survey at the Franchise Leadership & Development Conference in October...

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Titans of Technology    

Franchise Update Magazine »

Issue III, 2015

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