Results Talk. Everything Else is an Excuse.

I had a conversation with a franchisee a few weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about it for some time since.  We were talking about a marketing strategy that has proven to be very successful for many franchises within his company for many years.

When I asked the franchisee why he wasn’t participating in the program he said, “I don’t want to do that.  I don’t think it works.”  I said, “Really?  The top three franchisees around the country use it– just what about the technique is it that you don’t think works?”  He said, “I think the technique reduces client retention.”  I pointed out that the retention of the top three franchisees mentioned above was HIGHER than the client retention of his franchise.   He said “Yeah, but I just don’t think it would work in my area.”

I still can’t believe he really said that.  This is an intelligent individual who gave me one of the lamest answers I’ve ever heard for not doing something that works.

The bottom line is that the marketing strategy in question is in fact, hard work.  I believe that he just didn’t want to do all the hard work necessary to implement the strategy and he rationalized his position with half-baked excuses.

When a strategy works in many places and yields big results then all the excuses in the world for not implementing the strategy are just that–excuses!

Have you ever had a conversaton with someone like this?  If so, I’d love to hear about it and find out out how you handled it.

13 thoughts on “Results Talk. Everything Else is an Excuse.

  1. This is very much akin to something Tom Fleming once told me, “Commitment defined: Accept no excuses, only results.”

    In my conversations this morning with about a dozen professionals we talked about how businesses that are slipping often have stopped looking at their numbers – it just becomes to painful. It also creates a vicious catch 22. If you don’t know what to focus on, you can’t.

    Why do others miss their mark, when the results are right there in front of them? Sometimes it is just plan hard to admit culpability. But eventually you have to agree with the old adage “the numbers don’t lie”.

    In today’s group, two thirds are implementing solid proven mechanisms, meeting their goals and even surpassing them. The other third is still at square one and is just beginning to see that while they have shown up to every meeting, they really haven’t implemented or followed through and are now committed to a stronger path.

    What changed to get that new found vision? It was looking at the numbers and performance of the others over the 7 month period. Not by my talking, but by allowing them to meet, view the tracking of the individuals as a whole, followed by an exchange of information and ideas – I fully believe that for some, hard as it is to watch, they might have to put their hand on the flame to actually know it is hot.

  2. I have seen over time very similar excuses and I know exactly what you mean Ivan, it does not seem to make logical sense when all the factors point to the answer of what to do to get the desired results. There are plenty of people who know exactly what to do but that is totally different from actually doing it. As a management consultant, over the years I have seen that there are several factors that can come into play in this kind of situation. People get comfortable with what they know, whether it is good or bad there is a level of comfort that makes even doing the wrong thing okay, as you say, they rationalize the situation. I often hear “It works for them but that is not the same for my industry” or “that is not going to work in this area” or even better “yes, but I’m different”. Change management is an interesting subject. It is not so much that they see it as hard work, it could also be a fear of failure or a fear of success.
    Maybe they just don’t believe in themselves enough or have the confidence deep down to think that they can achieve the same results, or even that they deserve to have the same level of success as their peers. Getting to the bottom of the real why is the key and that also takes time and effort. When you find the real reason behind the rejection to the process then you have a starting place to move forward.

  3. Dear Ivan

    In the big picture I would agree with you and the only thing you can do is to deliver enough success stories from equal regions following the franchise structure and invite the fanchisee to visit other regions to see and experience for him/herself.

    In the small picture there are differences between regions mainly in communication and relationship culture. A leadership and communication style working well in Europe or the US will copied 1 to 1, eventually not work in some parts of Asia or Africa that well.

    But this are only small changes in wording and presentation not in the structure as such and maybe your franchisee would need support with that.

    Warm regards

  4. Ivan – Not only would this be hard work, it would also be change. As we all know, that scares some people. Some change would be ok for me and some would not. We had some recent comments from some BNI members about some recent policy changes and the immediate response from a couple of the members was:
    “we don’t need those rules because we are already great.”
    “I hope our chapter doesn’t change. We are just fine.”
    “These can’t possibly be good ideas because it will be IMPOSSIBLE to find a sub.”
    The last one, of course, is my favorite. I paraphrased, but only slightly. This person was not open to discussing how to make it work as he already KNEW that it could not work for him. He had never tried it. He knows that 95% of the rest of the BNI world does it this same way, but, again, he knows that it will not work for him.
    If this is his stance about this one issue, it fits with other business aspects of his that I have noticed. He has been given advice by multiple businesspersons suggesting changes to his business model. He knows the best way and that’s that, as he says.
    As I have heard Patti say many times, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Your example will keep getting the same thing. That may be enough for him. I just wonder what he could be missing out on by not taking the advice that is being offered and that seems to be pretty well proven to work.

  5. Ivan,

    It’s all about fear.

    Fear of the unknown is so powerful. It can propel and challenge some people to be more successful and it can stifle others creativity and deny them the chance to ever know their true capabilities.

    We were all mentally programmed at a very early age for what I call our “stopping place” in life. We may have been told we were stupid and would never amount to anything by a parent. Maybe a teacher told us we were an underachiever. Maybe our peers laughed at us because we weren’t as good in sports as they were. And, on the other end of the spectrum, maybe we had a grandparent that told us how smart we were and we could do anything we wanted to do!

    Whatever we were told, is usually our “stopping place.” And once we become adults, we fear stepping beyond the place we were programmed to hold.

    And yes, some people actually fear becoming successful. With every new success come new challenges. “Am I ready for those challenges?” “Do I have what it takes to fulfill that role?” “Will I get to the top and then fail?”

    As a team building trainer I work with people regularly who think like the franchisee you are discussing. Usually it boils down to the fact that they are either afraid of failure or afraid of success. And, one can be just as scary as the other. You have to attack this element before you can expect anyone to reach beyond the limits they hold within themselves.

    In one of my blog postings,, I review a book “Managing The Dynamics Of Change” written by Jerald M. Jellison, Ph.D., where he discusses how change can be more easily implemented if you understand and can anticipate the natural steps of change.

    So here’s my answer…give the franchisee a roadmap of how to get to the top of the franchise. Instead of expecting them to take the “big leap” to get to the top like the other “over-achievers” give them a roadmap that allows them to take on success one step at a time.

    Many people fear eating the elephant in one big bite because they are afraid of choking. But, when they realize they can eat it one bite at a time…they open their minds and can then begin see the possibilities. And, in turn, they stop making excuses for why it can’t be done.

  6. Jerry, thanks for the suggestions. Regarding the “roadmap”… I couldn’t agree more. That is why the program in question has a step by step manual with audio backup materials and regular coaching calls.

    You can give someone a map but… they need to be willing to actually read it!


  7. It’s shocking to me this franchisee is that lazy! After all, like you said, the top 3 in is industry are using the marketing strategy…apparently it works!

    Maybe it’s not just the work he’s scared of (though that’s probably a big reason). Maybe he’s afraid of success. It sounds crazy to some…but it’s almost more common that being scared of failure.

    People are scared of success. They think it will change who they are. Maybe what their friends will think. Or, maybe, they will fail after they succeed!

    Now, if it’s hard work alone that’s stopping their actions, it may be beneficial for the franchisor to look at this in a new light. Instead of just suggesting the technique, they create a DONE FOR YOU system for their franchisees. After all, they get more money when the franchisee succeeds!

    I know a handful of businesses that create systems like this for their people. An example of this is my friend: Dean Killingbeck with

    He provides all his clients and ‘franchisees’ (lack of a better term…b/c I don’t think he has traditional franchisees) with a done for them marketing system that they don’t have to do a thing with. His company does it to ensure success on both sides. This not only makes both him and his ‘franchisees’ money; it keeps his ‘franchisees’ in business and around for a long time (which brings him passive income, I’m sure).

    Smart strategy. Especially since people are lazy and fear success (or failure)…which he knows and is counting on it. He takes the excuses away and ensures it gets done.

  8. Hi Ivan

    Yes, this is true sadly.

    I have had the occasional client in the past where a few simple changes to their business would have increased their profits. They preferred to stay the same, running more of a ‘hobby business’ than a genuine one.

    I’m a big fan of Tony Robbins and have been to a couple of his UPW seminars.

    One of things we did was to walk on fire! It’s not the physics of doing this that are important, rather the thought of doing something that you have never done before and trusting that you will get the same result as others before you. It was an amazing experience.

    People can try to work out what works themlselves, but when someone who has succeeded is willing to share their process it’s much easier.

  9. I remember hearing Tom Fleming quote, “You can make money or you can make excuses, but you can’t do both”

    I hear professionals all the time say “That won’t work in MY industry” and every time they have tried it – guess what – it WORKED!

    I think people are looking for the easy fix, and are scared of the hard work and success!

    Following proven systems IS one of the easiest ways to find success… but you have to do the work!

  10. Ivon

    I read your article with interest. Although I am not inmarketing your analogy seems to fir with my current role, Hotel Services Manager for a residential care home. Alot of “old school” staff, 4 old homes coming together as one.
    It is ineviatible that change would be hard for all of the staff. My role is to challenge and bring the standards up in all aspects of facility management of the home. Staff resist at any given chance. Their answer is always “we’ve always done it this way, why change?” So, in a bid to bring them on board I asked for ideas from them, telling them they better know their business areas than me. Guess what, all but one person ignored the opportunity to become part of the change within the home. I am deteermined not to let them win and improve standards across the board.

    Thank you for your interesting and thought provoking artlicle.


  11. People are highly motivated when money is shown. This is a fact. Those who don’t, are either lazy or refuse to work hard for their earnings at all. Those people need to realize they cant be spoon-fed anymore.
    Thanks for the post Ivan

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