Day two of the Franchise Leadership & Development Conference was definitely the most action-packed. The day started with a breakfast in the sponsor room, directly followed by an opening introduction by Gary Gardner (CEO of Franchise Update Media Group) in the main ballroom. Next, Steve Olson dove into an insightful presentation on trends and emerging best practices in franchise development, and how the current economic climate has effected the sales environment. Below are a few highlights from Mr. Olson’s presentation, as well as Boris Bugarski’s (CEO, mUrgent) opening remarks:
After a powerful keynote address by Jason Jennings about his new book “Hit the Ground Running,” followed by a short break, it was onto the concurrent sessions covering Sales, Online Marketing, Lead Generation, and Development. I attended the online marketing session, which was moderated by Geoff Hill (VP, Roark Capital Group) along with a great panel featuring Linda Shaub (VP Marketing, Interim HealthCare), David Schaefers (VP Business Development, Driven Brands), and Boris Bugarski (CEO, mUrgent). There was a great deal of valuable information covered in this session, and below you can watch a short highlights video:
Following a delicious lunch was the “All Star Role Play Competition,” which was equally entertaining and educational. The folks at Franchise Update did an amazing job putting together a faux-franchise concept – FranZoo – which was represented by two competing development teams (blue team – Floor Coverings International, led by Tom Wood, CEO and red team – PostNet, led by Steve Greenbaum and Brian Spindel, co-founders) vying to showcase their sales expertise through a series of calls with the charismatic “prospect” Stan Friedman (SVP Business Development, FranConnect). Representatives from each team went through pre-qualification, validation, selling discovery day, and closing calls with Mr. Friedman. Steve Olson MC’d the role-play performance, and judges Barbara Moran (CEO, Moran Industries) and Greg Vojnovic (VP Development, Popeye’s) gave great commentary after the performances were done. Below are a few video highlights from the performance:
In the second set of concurrent sessions, I joined the “Online Lead Generation 2011” presentation by Gary Gardner. A number of topics were discussed in an open format that encouraged audience participation, exploring the impact of the Internet on franchising over the past 10 years, and forecasting what’s to come in the future. Although the topics covered were fairly high-level and not too advanced, it was a great discussion.
*Having a user-friendly, engaging website entirely focused on optimizing conversions is essential today
*Embrace emerging SEO best practices, while avoiding “black-hat” SEO myths that come and go
*Remain flexible and adaptive with your online strategy, and watch closely for changing trends
*Above all, Content is King
Wrapping up the day were the business solutions roundtables. Along with Andy Gorman (Vice President, Localeze), I facilitated the roundtable on “Building a Strong Local and Online Presence”. Andy and I fielded questions from folks on developing a content strategy, getting started in social media, increasing visibility in search engines, and how to increase local lead generation online.
Day two came to a close at the Franchise STAR Awards Banquet at Maggiano’s, where attendees mingled over cocktails, enjoyed a delicious dinner, and watched the awards presented in a number of categories related to franchise sales & development (oh, the red team won the All-Star Role Play Competition by the way ;))