Nick Powills, chief brand strategist for No Limit Agency, recently interviewed Greg for his 1851 Project.com publication. With approval from Nick, here is the published interview in its entirety:
Go with the Flow: Greg Tanner
By Nick Powills
If you don’t know Greg Tanner by now, you must have been hiding under a rock. Tanner is the king of awareness and leveraging within the franchise community. While he serves as the National Director of Franchising for Aaron’s, a lease-to-own appliance company, he is better known for taking punches at non-direct competition with mock logos. He is also the author of his personal guide to franchising, which he has rightfully named Tannerisms. 1851 caught up Tanner while driving the back roads of Georgia on his way home from another day on the job.
NP: Greg, I couldn’t think of anyone better than you for the launch of my “Go with the Flow” column.
GT: Is that flattering?
NP: Of course it is. You are king of Tannerisms. King of knowledge. King of franchising.
GT: Ha. That’s not that hard to accomplish.
NP: I know you have told me this story a million times. Literallya million times. But tell it to me again. What’s the story with the napkin?
GT: Well, it launched my career with Aaron’s. I got a call from Doug Kushell (www.franchise-search.com). He called and said, “Hey Greg, I think I got someone who may be interested in hiring you. Do you have a resume?” Hell, I hadn’t made my resume in 20 years. So, I said, “Here’s what I will do, I will jot something down on a napkin and fax it over to you cause I am at a hotel bar and that’s the best I can do.” So, I jotted down some BS information, not expecting it to go very far, went to the hotel fax machine and sent it to Kushell. Next thing I knew, I was getting hired at Aaron’s. That napkin really got me where I needed to go and he still has that napkin framed in his office.
NP: That easy huh?
GT: Yeah. I told Kushell that people should only judge you on one thing in the franchise industry: have I made more money every year of my career? All that sophistication BS, the strength in marketing and blah blah blah, doesn’t mean (donkey). More money every year means he knows how to sell franchises. You read resumes about these damn development guys who claim to have grown brands and their resume looks like they could launch a rocket somewhere. Yeah right. You should always evaluate on whether or not the person has made more money every year of their career.
NP: Money helps you cut through the garbage?
GT: Exactly. You can analyze every key word on a resume, but the facts are the facts.
NP: Over the last few years, has franchise development gotten worse or better?
GT: If you listen to a lot of the presentations of people who supposedly know what they are doing, they use a lot of different terminologies, like metrics or critical mass. What the (donkey) are they talking about? The bottom line is it is all about building relationships, being able to recruit and provide great information to a poor fellow looking to make the right decision.
NP: You are personally branded. Why?
GT: Walk through the IFA [International Franchise Association] convention and ask people if they know me. I am Tanner branded. People know GregTanner. Personal branding helps create awareness of the opportunity.
NP: You used Tannerisms to personally brand yourself.
GT: Yeah. I saw it as a stepping stone to be able to start the branding process. You become an authority as an author. I haven’t written anything that will turn into a movie or a pay-per-view TV special. All I created was a source for prospective franchisees to learn some insight into the purchasing process and for the franchise community to have no question as to who I was.
NP: Do your prospects read it?
GT: Aaron’s is a million dollar investment. People need to wake up and smell the roses. It’s about breaking down the walls and building a personal relationship. Think this book helps? I am a rare bird in this industry. But, I have fun doing it. I find the humor in everything I do.