Talking online presence management for multi-location businesses on the Conquer Local Podcast!


George: It’s the latest edition of the Conquer Local podcast, and Mike Giamprini. I had the privilege of meeting Mike about two years ago and we’ve worked very closely over the last two years as Mike built out a sales organization based out of Montreal and Toronto. We’re getting him back on the program to dig into his background around multi-location businesses and multi-location opportunities. I’ve been asked a number of times from our listeners if we could … It seems that when you go out and you make a call on a set of customers, somebody’s going to raise their hand and say, “I’ve got 10 dry cleaners, or I’ve got five pizza stores, or I’ve got 20 auto dealerships in my auto dealership group,” and there’s a unique set of problems.

George: They’re the same problems that an individual store has, but there’s magnitude to the number of locations. I think that our sales organizations, depending upon where they’ve come from, if they came from selling ads as their core and now they’re trying to add digital marketing services to the stack, we’ve got to really interrogate what the opportunity looks like. So, Mike Giamprini, from G Partners in Toronto is coming up next, our special guest, on the Conquer Local podcast.

George: Welcome to the Conquer Local podcast. We have Mr. Mike Giamprini from G Partners in the big smoke, Toronto, Ontario. Hello, Mike.

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Mike: Good morning. How are you?

George: Well, I’m full of piss and vinegar today, more than normal.

Mike: As always.

George: Well, more than normal. I don’t know why. I quit drinking coffee but yet I’m still fired up. And I think part of the reason why I’m fired up is you and I are going to talk about your lengthy career and experience in working with multi-location customers. We’ve been getting a lot of requests for this through the Conquer Local community and through our LinkedIn channel. Because I think that one of the things we’ve discovered, whenever we go into sales organization we train them, you better talk about somebody that has three, five, 10, 100 stores. Because it doesn’t take too many sales calls and you’re going to run across a prospect that has more than one location. Whether it’s under the same brand or it’s under multiple brands.

George: I wanted to get your feedback on this. So let’s go over the resume of Mike Giamprini, because you’ve spent a lot of time in the multi-location space.

Mike Giamprini’s experience

Mike: Absolutely. Well, I started in this space working with a fairly well known North American agency called DAC Group. They’re based out of Toronto and I ran their Rochester New York office. DAC’s sweet spot was certainly servicing the needs of multi-locational national brands. They identified early on that those national brands, multiple occasions, they’re always looking for a creative way to gain attention and attracting customers at the hyper-local level. DAC Group built out some really interesting products and some methodologies to do that. I think they were one of the earlier players, if you will, as well as Vendasta, in the space.

Mike: We had a portfolio of customers. DAC’s heritage was in print Yellow Pages, so they did a really, really good job of evolving their business and staying true to their position of putting buyers and sellers together at the local level. They leveraged all of those clients that they had.

George: Mike, I’ve found that in the people that came from traditional directory space, that they understand the multi-location opportunity. I think it’s important to point out, we’re talking about multi-location. Now, when I talk about other media company reps that sell ads … When we were selling radio and we had somebody that had five locations, we’re like, “Oh, they got a big budget.” But we weren’t specifically speaking about the individual locations. And that’s why when we see these organizations that used to deal in the Yellow Page space, where essentially what was a directory, was the listing data that now lives online on Google and Yelp and all these other places, positioned in one book.

George: If you had the account, Canadian Tire, you had to get the data right across every directory in Canada where a Canadian Tire was applicable. So they’re really, in their DNA, they’re focused on multi-location and the problems around that. That’s kind of why they’ve been able to transition, because it’s part of their DNA, it’s part of their structure, is organizations.

Mike: Absolutely. I mean, you think of the granularity and the accuracy that’s required to your point, George, when you’re putting an ad in a print book. You’ve got to get it right. It was a very logical transition or evolution for companies like DAC Group to get into the digital space and take all of those techniques and methodologies, in terms of how they manage and manipulate data. Not manipulate, but manage data for all these multi-locations.

George: I like to call it groom the data, to make sure it’s accurate. But it’s bloody funny to me that a business person, for all these years, we’ve run a business 25 years, we made sure that our data was right in the frigging phone book every year. We would pay attention to that proof when it came through. We would lament over it to make sure it was right, because we knew if we sent the wrong information, it would screw us up for a year. But yet when we look online, people can’t even get their Google My Business profile right.

Mike: Well, I think too, one thing I’ve bumped into throughout the years in talking to multi-location brands is, there’s an awareness of the need to get it right. A lot of brands, believe it or not, and I’m talking about very sophisticated marketers, they still don’t understand how to do it. You still have to take them through that educational component of teaching them about the value of listings, the value of reviews, the value of social channels. Everything that goes into a properly managed online presence. Once you get them nodding and believing in it and then when you have tools like the Snapshot Report out of Vendasta, for example, and now the multi-location dashboard, it makes the whole process a little easier to educate those customers. But I am constantly shocked at how few of them know.

George: I don’t want to get into a product demo, but I do want to tell you that the other day I was able to present data in front of the dealer principal, the marketing manager, and the general manager of 19 auto dealerships, five car washes, and two oil change businesses. It was really interesting, when we put that data up on the screen and they could see it across their portfolio, and the Ford store in the market, which they’ve had, it’s the legacy store, it’s the granddaddy, it brought them to the party, it built the entire group, had a 4.6 out of five on 500 reviews. All they could see was the three businesses that were under a three. It just drove Michael, the guy who’s the dealer principal, nuts.

George: He looked at it, he wanted to drill into it, he wanted to look at every review. He’s texting the general manager of the car wash that was getting the 2.6 going, “You need to fix this. You need to ask your best customers to leave some information online so we can …” He knew that it was a problem. But what I’ve found, is that salespeople have a tendency to believe, when they drive by that Taj Mahal of an auto dealership that’s been there for 20 years and the dealer is driving a Porsche every day and they live in the most beautiful house in the city, to think that they’ve got it all frigging figured out. And here’s an example of one of the biggest advertisers in the marketplace, that doesn’t have it figured out at the very baseline of the data.

Mike: Absolutely. I went through a very similar experience earlier this week talking to a dealership group in Atlantic Canada with 39 locations. It’s interesting because they are operators. I mean, they’re obviously overall good people, good business people, but at its core, operationally, they’re very focused on the consumer experience when they walk in the front door of the dealership, the quality of that experience, the service levels, et cetera. And when we share these reports with them, they immediately look at the reviews and they put their operational hat on, which is an added value by-product for us because we can say, “Well listen, out of your 39 locations, look at these six. They’re really performing poorly when it comes to reviews.” Now they’re like, “Wow, this is real data. I have to go back to that dealership and talk to them about, why are you guys getting such crappy reviews? What are you going to do about it?”

George: You bring up a really good point and I’m glad you got to this, because I’ve actually forgotten to mention this in my training around this space. We started talking about it years ago. The minute that you’re able to move the conversation with the customer from a marketing discussion to an operations discussion, I’m consulting you on how you can run your business better, it’s a whole different budget that you’re dealing with.

Mike: Oh, 100%.

George: Over here we’ve got marketing, we turn that on and off, we don’t need to use it at points in time. But we get down to operations, this is how you keep the lights on, it’s a whole different thing. It really comes down to the DNA. So DAC group, you cut your teeth, you work with that organization, you’re working with lots of big brands, then you make a move to another organization. Which was a little more specific around big brands. Let’s talk about the next move in the Mike Giamprini story.

Mike: Then we ended up in the Detroit area, working in the automotive space, with an MDC agency called Local Biz Now. And what we had there was a platform that was designed specifically to help auto dealerships with the service side of their business. We didn’t focus on new car sales or used car sales at all, our platform was entirely focused on driving traffic to the service side of an automotive dealership’s business.

George: Let me ask you this. I want to interrogate automotive because there is a quote from me on a podcast from a couple of years ago where I say, “Be really careful. You got to have your shit locked down if you’re going to go call on automotive dealers because it’s super competitive.” I’m going to go back to my auto dealer friends that I was making a presentation to, super excited they could actually talk to an end business. Because a lot of time I’m just talking to salespeople that talk to end businesses. When I do get a chance to pitch to an actual business owner, I love the insights that I get.

George: Here’s what I was told. In the markets that the dealership group is working in, they’ve had a tough couple of years in sales. Their sales are actually down a little bit. And what they’ve then did, was they focused on service and they focused on making sure that they were promoting their service and their parts and their auto body stores, and they’re actually making more money.

Mike: Absolutely.

George: In that approach. So what I want to get our reps on the line to understand, I know that it’s tempting, all the time, to talk about the beautiful new cars on the lot and say, “How much are you prepared to move that unit? What’s the amount you’re prepared to invest to move those four wheels?” We’ve done that pitch for years. But what you’ve identified, is that service, is the lifeblood of these dealerships. And it’s actually an easier way in to get to that, we talk about the pain point. If you can get in there and solve the pain point on service, there’s an ROI to that, right out of the gate, for the dealership.

Mike: 100%. I mean, on a new car sale, they generate the revenue once, but then it comes down to the experience and the relationship. If they can get that customer keep coming back for servicing your vehicle at that dealership, the margins on the service side of their business are enormous.

George: When the market goes to shit and you get a bunch of layoffs or the economy’s down, to get those deals across the line at the dealership, you’re going to have to do some things. You’re going to have to reduce your margin, you’re going to have to maybe give away paint protection. You know what I mean? Because it’s a much more competitive market on the sales side. Whereas, on the service side, I just want to keep my car on the road so I don’t have to go make that investment. It makes a lot of sense. The reason why I’m really interrogating this, is what I find, is the minute that we get away from pitching our products. You’ve heard me say before, “Don’t fall in love with your products. Fall in love with your customer’s problem.” And what you’ve identified here, is in the auto space, the big problem is, how do I get that big revenue generator and profit machine, my service and my parts department, just rocking?

Mike: Absolutely. I mean, I can’t remember the specific statistic, but it’s something like the last 15 quarters, the North American new car sales market has gone down. Steadily declined. And all that means is that people are keeping their cars longer. If you can help a dealership go out and capture more of that service business for people who are keeping their cars longer, then it’s really a piece of lifeblood. And then for your own businesses, you start to think about, well what other businesses have a similar model where you sell a product and then there’s a service element to it? Whether it’s appliances or motorcycles, marine, heavy equipment manufacturers, trucks, lawnmowers, everything that has a service element. They all have the same online presence challenges that we should have some solutions for them.

George: We’re going to dig back into a few of these customer groups again in a moment. But after the time with the Detroit organization, then you end up back in Toronto. Tell us about that move.

Mike: I ended up back in Toronto with one of the Yellow Page groups, a company called, which is a national directory advertising business, basically. My mandate from them was to help them pivot the business into selling and servicing digital marketing, online presence solutions for small businesses. The directory advertising business went over the same cliff that print Yellow Pages went over about six years previous. If they were to survive, they had a great legacy, a pretty good brand in the marketplace, they needed to come up with different things to sell to that same constituency of small businesses.

George: I was very involved with you and this is really where you and I met and created our relationship. We do have an older version of the podcast where I was in your offices when the launch of that-

Mike: When we launched.

George:… organization. You and I, we went through a few of the challenges. But here, listen folks, this is an unbelievable story. So Mike, working for technology companies, because DAC group and Local Biz Now, we’re working with multi-location brands, but they built out their own tech stack and they really had transitioned to become an independent software vendor. They weren’t traditional, at all, anymore. They had come up with, there’s a problem and we’re building out a tech stack to solve that. And Mike was able to take that mindset into that organization, and get dramatic growth in a very short period of time. But I know that you’ll tell us, Mike, none of that was easy.

Mike: No, it wasn’t. We had forecasted what some of our KPIs needed to be at in terms of … well, just our sales team alone, when we kicked it off between our Toronto and Montreal office, I think we had, let’s say about 70 or 80 salespeople. And we thought, “Well, 20% of them maybe won’t make it because transition’s tough. Change is tough for a lot of people.” So we thought 20% won’t make it but 80 will. After our first year in the market, the numbers were actually reversed. We ended up retooling the entire sales force. It was really only 20% who made it and we replaced the other 80%.

George: Let me tell you folks how interesting this is, the 28th of January, two years ago. Is it two years ago?

Mike: Yeah.

George: 28th of January, two years ago, I’m in Toronto, we launch this team, beautiful launch by the way. The sales reps get off the elevator in this beautiful building. They got the confidence screens inside the building and the whole … Mike, you guys did a great job.

George: Your counterpart, Neil and you are at the front door and you’re handing out champagne to the reps. I was fired up to be there. We get all these reps fired up, we get the team leads fired up, we train over and over and over again, we get people rocking, and I come back four months later and it’s like a ghost town. Where there were 60 reps, now there are 10 reps. But the interesting thing was, you were producing way more than you were producing with the 60 reps.

Mike: Yeah, we were. Change is hard for a lot of people. We took these legacy reps who were selling directory advertising, which was relatively easier to sell than digital marketing solutions. There wasn’t a whole educational component. We had the brand behind us, so it was okay to get people on the phone. But then we had to teach reps a bit more of a consultative approach to selling a digital marketing, online presence solution for small business as opposed to an online directory advertising. Buying a banner versus buying listings management and reviews, social et cetera.

Mike: We probably underestimated how quickly and how successfully we could evolve the sales team. At the end of the day, I think that was actually a little bit of a blessing in disguise, because it gave us a bit of a fresh breath or new momentum and new energy to just go out and build a pretty much brand new sales team. Replacing the leadership, we brought in different skill sets, and it was really interesting to build it from the ground up. Along with a whole new set of products, and portfolio products that we had to manage at the same time. It was a pretty cool experience and quite successful. At the end of the day, we cranked it up to a couple of million bucks and did quite well with it.

The Importance of online presence 

George: One of the things I like having a veteran on the podcast is, let’s go back and let’s talk about when you started working with those multi-location businesses, and you were working with Bridgestone dealers and just the list, it’s just a who’s who of the large brands. Tell me about some of the things you would do differently if you could go back and do it again?

Mike: That’s a really great question. The retrospective would be, that to spend the right amount of time on that educational piece, because even to this day, I’m surprised that I end up talking to some, what I believe, to be very sophisticated marketers, but very unsophisticated when it comes to these very foundational, fundamental, tactical things that we’re selling them when it comes to their online presence. That’s probably an opportunity for us in the sales side of it, because where there’s confusion, there’s opportunity. Or where there’s chaos, there’s opportunity. Not that we go in and we bring that chaos to their attention, but more often than not, I’m greeted with that response that says, “I know I had a problem here. I didn’t realize the severity of it. I didn’t realize the actual impact it’s having on my business. It’s one of those things that, I know I got to do something, I just don’t know what to do.”

Mike: And then when you’ve got this great stack of products to sell and all the analytical tools, the likes of a snapshot report and whatnot, it makes it a little easier to go in and become the expert rather quickly. I tell all my sales team that the key to success is to master the presentation, those materials. Become an absolute ninja at presenting the executive reports, the snapshot reports, whatever analytical tools we’re using to weave the stories of these customers, because that’s where all the credibility lies. The first thing they realize is that you’re not sharing an opinion with them, you’re sharing a bunch of facts.

Mike: This is not our data, this is just data that we’ve collected, put into a usable form to show you where the gaps are. And then we’ve come up with some really cool solutions to fill those gaps. But again, in retrospect, the educational part of it, many times you go in and you just assume that people have an appreciation for the online presence side of their business, when in fact, they’re brand builders, they’re not necessarily operators. Brand builders aren’t really focused on the details on the technology, on those structural elements of what they need digitally.

George: It’s interesting that you say that because I do a lot of reading around the sales and marketing space and I find that you can find a new blog written every day in the marketing space that, you need to become a quant if you want to be a marketer in 2019. You need to be data-driven. You need to live in spreadsheets and everything else. But when you and I get out in the real world and we start talking to people running brands inside these organizations, they have data teams underneath them. When you’re talking to the decision maker at the top end, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to articulate that ROI as to, this is how we’re going to move the needle.

Mike: Absolutely. That’s when you really get their attention. I mean, to your point earlier, focus on their problem and convince them that you’ve got a solution, as opposed to going in and beating the product drum. Because quite honestly, we’re not the only players in town anymore. There was a time, not that long ago, where there weren’t a lot of people with these types of solutions. So now it really does require a bit more sophistication when it comes to how we position ourselves, how we present these things and sell them.

George: When you started with the team calling in to those individual businesses, how long was it before you found a multi-location opportunity from that outreach?

Mike: That’s a good question. On the multi-location side, well of which I’m actively pursuing now, there’s a ton of businesses out there across multiple categories. Mainly retailers are the most obvious ones. I’ve got a couple of opportunities in discussion right now. It’s hard to say. Trying to quantify the sales cycle, I think from the time that you actually are able to connect with someone who’s going to lead somewhere, to the time you can close a deal. These are four to six month sales cycles, if not longer sometimes. As opposed to the sales-

George: Why? Is it because-

Mike: They’re big investments.

George:… it’s a large investment. But also, isn’t it around the contracting period?

Mike: It has to do with some of that too. A lot of times too, it’s far easier to sell a proof of concept than it is to go in and ask for the actual order for all of the locations. And of course, a proof of concept is a good thing, but it just delays the longer, bigger decision. I mean, I’ve got one right now that I’m dealing with. Retailer with about 380 locations in Canada and thousands in the U.S., and they’re going to probably do a proof of concept in all the Canadian locations and then they’ll analyze the heck out of it. I would say we can close the proof of concept in 90 days, but the real big fish is probably a year away. That’s why you’ve got to get a bunch of them.

Proof of concept – You have to build your credibility

George: Well, I’m glad you brought that up. POC, proof of concept, really important piece to this. The other thing that I’ve found that these buyers are looking for in this space is a statement of work. Clearly articulate to me the things that you’re going to do and I think that’s partly because they’ve been sold some snake oil or some vaporware here in the last little while. Do you want to talk about that, because there’s a lot of it out there? I think we should get that on the table.

Mike: Absolutely, there is. And again, the proof of concept, as I said, delays the big win, but the upside is, a proof of concept then really sets you up for a very robust statement of work. These deals tend to be more than annual deals. You can go in and negotiate two, three, four, five year commitments, you can build in pricing increases. These are much longer term plays and they’re pretty big deals. But that proof of concept is the key to getting there. I’m talking about, to me, any business that has more than 250 locations, is probably going to be a bigger, longer sale.

Mike: Because you’re talking about a six figure deal and there’s a lot of people who have to prove that and there’s someone who’s got to endorse it. As we all know what that looks like. The beauty of them, they sure didn’t take a long time to sell, but when they sell, they stick for a long time. Two, three year deals are not unheard of when you’ve got 700, 800 locations that you’re managing. Because it’s hard for them to disengage if you’re doing a good job.

George: And they’re looking for someone that does a good job. They want to take it off their list of things to do. That base data is so important to everything that they’re doing. Because you think about it, if you’ve got a thousand locations, you release a new product, and you look at the reviews for 90 days afterwards and they just talk about how that product is garbage, then you’ve got a problem in that market. I go back to my client call that I was on the other day. What I found out was in the auto space, if their customer satisfaction number goes down, their margin goes down from the manufacturer. Ford’s coming to them saying, “Here’s all our cars and if your C-SAT score goes down, then money that I pay you as a margin, I’m not going to pay as much.” They need to be laser focused on it.

Mike: The other thing is, if you know your stuff, you can tell them how fixing their location issues is going to impact other parts of their business. For instance, I had an organization where they thought they were getting a certain ROI on their paid search campaigns, when in fact they were driving traffic to locations with wrong data. That cost them a ton of money. I mean, if you can uncover some of those challenges in an organization, I know this sounds a little bold, but sometimes what we’re selling them can be self-funding. If you fix your location issues, your quality scores go up, you pay less for paid search. And if you’re spending tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars on paid search, drive them to locations that are accurate as opposed to just throwing their money away.

George: The Holy grail would be to find a location that had a competitor’s information in it and say, “All that money you’ve been spending over here on search, just drove leads to this guy because you weren’t paying attention to the base data.”

Mike: Exactly.

George: If you go back through editions of this podcast where we’ve had guest after guest, we talk about the consumer journey, all that awareness that you’re driving, it sounds like a broken record, but it’s still a big problem.

Mike: It’s huge.

George: And it exists in some of the biggest businesses that are out there. Just because they’ve got a bunch of locations doesn’t mean they have the stuff right.

Mike: Nope. It’s huge. When you can show them how it’s impacting other areas of their business, that they don’t realize how big the problem actually is. I mean, it’s easy for them to say, “Well, I’ve got 600 locations, and a couple of the phone numbers are wrong. It’s not killing me.” Not until you tell them, “Yeah, but every time you drive traffic that you’re paying for to that wrong phone number, what is that actually costing you? Three, four times what you’re actually spending.” We can build out those cases.

Mike: And that’s when you really build your credibility. If you start to understand the whole spectrum of what all of their digital marketing efforts look like. You’ve got to probe in that area. Go in and say, “I want to talk about something as fundamental as online presence, but would you be interested if I could show you how a good online presence will lower your cost of acquisition overall, in all the other areas of marketing that you’re spending?” Even your offline media is impacted. The return on those dollars.

George: Absolutely it is. One of your very famous quotes that you’ve given, because I saw you speak at conventions and heard you on podcasts and you are a member of the Revenue Collective with myself, so you’ve been at those dinners. You need to be, and I don’t want to use the brand name of our needs analysis tool, but I think what you’re saying is, you need to be an insight’s ninja. When you go in to the customer, you have to bring some value. That you’ve done your homework, you’ve identified the white space, you’ve figured out what an outcome might look like and here are the tactics that we’re going to deploy to get you this. You’ve got to paint that picture from bleed to lead. You know what I mean? Problem over here, solve the problem, Band-Aid it up, get it looking great, heal the wound, and then over here we start to drive revenue.

Mike: Absolutely. As a salesperson, you have got to be disciplined in understanding how to present this material, because that is the key to unlocking the interest of your customer. I remember another guest you had on your podcast, I can’t remember the gentleman’s name, but one of the quotes from him that struck was, “Sending ain’t selling.” Sending a report or sending that analytical tool in an email is an absolute waste of time. You’ve got to get them either on the phone or in-person or through a screen share, and you’ve got to be able to just present the heck out of this thing and come off as the expert. Because it’s important.

George: I look at it as remember in the good old days when you and I used to actually use a paper map and we’d have to find a phone booth because we didn’t have cell phones? That’s how frigging old we are.

Mike: A roll of quarters.

George : But remember when you would just make some photocopies of things that you found in magazines, and I have a highlighter right in front of me here, and you highlight the thing you want the person to pay attention to and you staple your business card and a couple of concert tickets to it and you drop it off at that prospect or customer. And all you’re doing is driving top of mind awareness for your brand. So sending those marketing emails, and I don’t even mean teaching emails. Sending the LinkedIn messages, making the posts, putting the content. That’s just top of mind awareness for you as a subject matter expert.

George: What really needs to happen is, and especially if you’re going to ask for the big dollars, you need to sit with the customer and add that value layer over top of all the technology that you’re putting in there. You brought it up earlier on the podcast, I’m going to hammer this for the rest of the season, I don’t care what your products are, I don’t care what your technology is. There’s new stuff being built tomorrow. It’s so commoditized when it comes to technology, and what it’s done is, there’s more tech every day, so now that trusted provider is even more important.

George: But I find salespeople, they get valuable time with their customer and all they want to do is talk about the flashy buttons and the features and what the tech does. While there is value there, it’s still not as important as the trusted provider that’s going to just make it all work.

Mike: Absolutely. Again, you’ve got to be that expert.

George: Mike Giamprini, appreciate you joining us today on the podcast.

Mike: Awesome. Thanks, George.


George: Well obviously, Mike and I have had long conversations over bourbons and dinners at Allen’s on Danforth. We’ve probably done it about four times in the last two years. We love talking about how the space has changed and how we can position sales organizations to take advantage of that change. In Mike’s new role, where he has G Partners and he’s working with these large multi-location opportunities, what he’s discovering is a lot of the tactics and a lot of the sales strategies that they used on individual businesses, he now has to change that narrative to match the problems that the large groups have. But when you drive by that big gleaming Taj Mahal, where they have numbers of locations, the owner has a G6 and flies back and forth to his place in Phoenix every six months, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve solved all the problems around the listing data and the reputation information, and how do they post on social media across locations.

George: Go back to what we were talking about in the episode, I was working with this auto dealership group. They’ve got 19 locations and they’ve got 10 people doing social media and they’re going into the native apps to do that. They’re going into Facebook and they’re going into LinkedIn and they’re going into Twitter and they’re going into Instagram. There is a tool that exists, numerous tools actually. I think there’s 600 of them out there right now, that would allow you to aggregate that and do some content and then push it out to the various channels. Schedule it and keep an archive of it so you know what you’ve posted, let you measure what’s working. So you’re posting things that are actually getting you some buzz.

George: I think that we really need to take a hard look at this multi-location opportunity. If you’re running an individual agency or you’re a rep working for a large broadcast company or a media company, you’re going to run across these opportunities. They’re sitting right there in front of your face, you just have to come up with a way to interrogate what the opportunity is, present the solution in a way that the customer can understand, and don’t assume that they have it all figured out, down to the smallest detail. Because, as we mentioned, there’s a lot of snake oil out there. There’s a lot of vaporware. There’s these groups that come in and say, “Okay, we’ll run an analysis on your business and here’s where you are today.” They’ll move a few of the needles and then you come back a year later and all the data is degraded. I could go on and on and on over some of the horror stories that we’ve found.

George: And then finally, one of the things that really stuck out is you have to bring insights. You have to do some homework, bring some value. There are 15 different people calling on that customer saying they can solve their problem, and how are you going to differentiate yourself from those competitors? Bring the data, bring the science. Go and say, “I’ve done a bunch of research behind the scenes and here’s the problem that I think I can help you solve. Here’s how I’m going to solve it,” give them a very clear statement of work, and then don’t be afraid to do a proof of concept. They’ve been burned. It’s a big investment. They’re going to want to do a 90 day or they’re going to want to do a six month.

George: One of our partners last week closed a multimillion-dollar deal and they had to do a six month proof of concept to get the big deal. So just go in with that expectation where, I’m prepared to put my money where my mouth is. Here’s what a six month POC is going to look like and here’s what we’re going to measure and you can fire me at any time. It’s very low risk for you. You do have to pay for some things. Get them to put some skin in the game, but just have it as an expectation. It’s going to lead to that longer deal. The two or the three year deal where you know that you’ve got that customer locked in. Very big wins out there to bring these across the line. Keep in mind what Mike did tell you though, they take time. They don’t happen overnight.

George: Mike Giamprini from G Partners. He’s got a lot of experience in the multi-location space. We’re glad to have him on the broadcast to share that knowledge. My name is George Leith. I’ll see you when I see you.

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