Learn. Connect... Grow Your Business
Q. So, how?
A. It’s been said that low sales is the number one threat to a business. Not lease expenses, not staff turnover, not the economy, not inventory carrying costs, not collections – but sluggish sales. But, is this really the right question to ask?
Q. You just answered me with a question.
A. Yep. For good reason. Even though your biggest threat as a franchise owner is low sales, you can’t just “improve” or “fix” the problem. Sales are a function of other measurable areas of your operation - factors you can control. How about if we talk about those things that you can impact?
Q. I’ll ask the questions around here.
A. Fair enough.
Q. Good. I want to increase my sales, in fact, as you said, it’s my biggest challenge. So where can I start?
A. The Way to Wealth is a great tool from Brian Tracy. Brian has written three books about this critical concept, he’s recorded CD’s and DVD’s about it, and he talks about it in his business success seminars. There are many elements of The Way to Wealth; The Customer Formula, The Revenue Formula, The Gross Profit Formula, and The Net Profit Formula. Let’s focus on the Customer Formula.
The Customer Formula says this:
Marketing Leads X Effectiveness Rate = Customers
While you can’t just “increase customers”, there is much you can do to increase Marketing Leads and Effectiveness Rate (or close rate). The impact of turning those dials up is … more customers!
Q. How do I increase Marketing Leads?
A. There are dozens of ways, and your strategies should be tailored to your industry, your market, your business model, your franchise’s product/service, franchisor support, staffing, and so on. For Lead generation, here are just a few ideas to help you start brainstorming:
Clearly define your target market.
Tailor ALL marketing strategies to reach that market.
Create a clear and consistent branding strategy.
Make Strategic Alliances
Q. The franchisor has resources – that’s part of what I invested in, right?
A. Absolutely! Make full use of all your franchisor’s resources:
Sales Processes and Scripts
Recommended marketing tactics
Training Manuals & Support
“Off the Shelf” tools
Q. Okay, those are good ideas. How about advertising?
A. Go back to what your franchisor knows will work in your business. Ask successful franchise owners what works for them.
Custom Direct Mail
Bulk Direct Mail - Admail, ValPak, etc.
Targeted Lists: Sales Genie, InfoUSA, New Building Permits, etc.
Secret Shoppers & Follow Up
Internet and Social Media
Telemarketing – cold calls by you, staff, or outsourced,
Direct mail with follow-up
Gifts and Giveaways to generate leads/information/referrals
Print Advertising – Newspaper, Flyers, Business Journals
Press Releases and PR
Expert Positioning – speaking opportunities, columns, interviews, seminars
MEASURE and KNOW what works, what doesn’t, and the Return On Investment.
Q. That’s a lot. I can’t possibly do all those things.
A. Exactly, and you shouldn’t. You can’t just do one or two things and expect your leads to grow, but you also can’t try to do so many things that none of them are done well. Be clear and focused about your strategies. Create a Marketing Parthenon – the 5-10 critical strategies that you will be so good at that your competitors will wonder what happened as you fly by in the fast lane.
Q. Those are great ideas about generating leads; how can I increase my Effectiveness Rate, and especially Profits?
A. Great questions like that deserves their own discussions, so take a look at the article titled “How Can I Improve My Close Rate”?