Have you made steady, measurable progress in the growth of your ACFN Business this year? If not, this is a great time of year to ask why not as you reflect and prepare for 2015. ACFN has a proven formula that will get you results so let’s begin now to put together a solid plan to expand your franchise and income in 2015. The foundation of this formula is making drops, re-drops, and generating additional leads locally. From our experience it’s best to always be in the mindset for growth even if you are satisfied with the number of machines you are currently servicing and the income you are receiving. Of course you can adjust the rate at which you grow but it is best not to become complacent to the point that you cease looking to expand your growth because if you are not moving forward you are or will be moving backward. A few things to focus on in 2015:
Have an ATM on hand:
Keep an ATM on hand and always be prepared to take advantage of opportunities as they become available. A great example of why this is important is included below:
I received a rather frantic call last Friday morning from one of our strategic vending partners letting me know that a large downtown 400+ room hotel that his company provides vending equipment for had a nonoperational ATM and was looking to replace this company immediately. He then provided contact information for the decision maker. Upon speaking with this decision maker, he expressed that he was desperate to receive our ATM by the next morning since he had an extremely large group scheduled to arrive for an important conference taking place that weekend. We explained that we would need his signed agreement right away to have a chance of getting this turned around so quickly. He said he would only sign if we could assure him we could accommodate this request. We immediately jumped into action and confirmed that our franchisee did indeed have an ATM on hand and was able to install the ATM by the next morning. After confirming this with the property, the General Manager signed the agreement that afternoon and we successfully installed the ATM within the timeframe promised thus earning another valuable account. If we did not have the flexibility and readiness explained in this example, the hotel would have either given their current company another chance or put this opportunity out for bid. Case and point, great opportunities come to those who are prepared to take advantage of them.
Retain Existing Accounts:
It’s very important to follow protocol when it comes to managing existing accounts. The obvious ones are do not allow your ATMs to run out of cash and if there is a mechanical error get it resolved ASAP and definitely within 24 hours. Don’t give your customers a reason to consider our competition’s offers. A real life example:
We recently lost a hotel to a competitor in a way that was completely preventable. What transpired was this. A hotel that a franchisee provided great service to for several years asked the franchisee to temporarily remove the ATM due to a quick renovation and upgrade to their lobby which they said should only take a couple of weeks. The franchisee complied with this seemingly innocent request and went ahead and removed his ATM. When he stopped by a couple of weeks later to see when he could reinstall the machine lo and behold there sat one of our competitor’s ATMs. It turned out the hotel pulled a fast one on us and although we still had time left in our contract once we remove our machine without taking the proper preventative measures and a competitor installs their ATM it is almost impossible and certainly an uphill battle trying to regain the account. Don’t let this happen to you! If you are faced with a similar situation contact the Marketing Department and we will provide a “renovations addendum” that will need to be signed prior to removing the ATM. This addendum also specifies that the time period when the ATM is nonoperational due to the renovation will be added to the remainder of the term which is also important to preserve the value of your agreement in the event the renovations take a long time.
Include Notes when reporting drops:
If you would like to accelerate the growth of your ACFN business improving the closing ratio is key and notes related to drops are an important component to achieving that. I see far too many drop sheets with little or no notes. Instead, just lists of businesses where drops were made. It is imperative that notes be included so that we can have an intelligent conversation with our potential clients. This cannot be mentioned enough and has a direct impact on the chances of earning the business. At the very least, let us know who you left the packet with.
Quick Recap of 2014 Notable Events & Achievements to Date:
- As of November 30th, ACFN has placed 355 ATMs in new locations in 11 months and are on record pace. In addition we also placed 17 trial ATMs with a national chain and are hoping to expand upon this relationship in 2015.
- After many years of servicing Hilton branded properties and growing our list to include over 250 of these Hilton Hotels, ACFN was officially approved and registered by Hilton Corporation as an official supplier for Hilton Worldwide.
- ACFN secured its first branding agreement with a bank in which the participating bank subsidizes the volume of transactions each month to ensure that the account will be profitable for the franchisee irrespective of the volume.
- We attended two essential tradeshows put on by our two largest hotel groups, InterContinental Hotel Group, and Interstate Hotels & Resorts, which allowed us to emphasize our Endorsed Status with each hotel group, promote our products and business model, and entrench in the minds of the decision makers in attendance the many advantages of the ACFN program. IHG tradeshow photo included in article.
- Two of our national competitors T.B.T.I. and Nationwide Automated Systems aka NASI went out of business this year reducing the number of competitors going forward and strengthening our position proving yet again the competitive advantages of ACFN’s business model.
In closing I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. Appreciate what you have and strive to achieve more than what you did the year before. Remember in 2015, hit the ground running and abide by the following principle: Do it now. Sometimes “later” becomes “never.”
VP of Marketing