Powills: The most overrated question in business
Powills: The most overrated question in business

I get it – and trust that I do – in business we wish every measurement was easy. We wish that by exhibiting at any trade show, we can determine absolute ROI. We wish that by placing X radio segment, we can measure exact ROI. We wish that when we ran an advertisement in a print publication, we could .....

I get it – and trust that I do – in business we wish every measurement was easy. We wish that by exhibiting at any trade show, we can determine absolute ROI. We wish that by placing X radio segment, we can measure exact ROI. We wish that when we ran an advertisement in a print publication, we could understand how many people directly interacted with our business off of that exact advertisement.

Unfortunately we can’t. And I would be shocked if we will ever be able to.

Technology is shifting, that’s for sure. But that doesn’t mean absolute measurement is getting easier. In fact, it could be getting harder – especially since word-of-mouth has been given an ounce of crack, business crack that is, and now word-of-mouth means a million different mouths yelling at you at various moments.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the most overrated question in business is "where did you hear about us?" The reason? Well, because the answer will never be that simple.

Think of the last time you bought a car. Did only one person tell you to buy that car? What about that color you picked? Now, apply that one step further to franchising. You are talking about changing someone’s life by way of a mutual confirmation that your brand is the right place for them to transition to. That’s a big decision. That decision cannot come from one place.

Part of the challenge is the pressures placed on the sales team. If, for whatever reason, the sales numbers are not reaching the goal, salespeople have to find ways to articulate success. ‘This is working well, because X number of people have used it’– and ‘this isn’t working as well because no one clicked through our website’. Again, it’s challenging to be successful with any type of sales, but it is not as simple as finding one thing that works well and investing in just that.

When brands hire us (No Limit Agency) as their PR firm, that’s great. We know we can knock it out of the park in generating coverage for the brand – thus increasing credibility, the amount of eyes on their brand buzz, and hopefully, in turn, through that awareness – more leads. However, PR is just one piece of the puzzle – and even when PR is working on all cylinders, other forms of communication need to exist in order to support a well-rounded communications plan. Blend PR, marketing, advertising, digital and Social Media with word-of-mouth, in-store messaging, validation and a robust website – and you have a thoughtful and meaningful strategy. Problem? Many brands don’t have enough sales dollars to execute each of these areas well – unless, of course, you are a giant brand.

Every bit of franchising is a double-edged sword. We want to expand into X market – buy an ad. We need more franchise fees so that we can spend more on marketing – spend more on marketing first. Again, sales is tough – but, finding ways to leverage as many parts of the communication tree as possible will provide you the best route to success.

Next time you ask a prospect, “where did you hear about us”, consider asking them instead, “where do you absorb your information.” Gaining intel from these discovery meetings will probably give you the data you need to invest in the best practice for your brand. Stop trying to find the fountain of magic sales – it doesn’t exist. Start using your discovery meetings to uncover what parts of the communication fountain you should be using – and what categories of it you should spend on.

At the very least, an adjustment in your sales strategy might provide you with better results – especially if you are looking for a way to jump start your sales.

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