Unlike the majority of us, one of our top franchise consultants, Adrienne Leigh is spending her quarantine days aboard a boat in the Florida Keys. Adrienne, her husband, and in-laws set out on an incredible adventure to circle the eastern third of the United States over the next two years but only made it as far as Florida before the stay-at-home orders developed. Even though Adrienne’s new office is the back deck of a boat in paradise, she is still 100% focused on finding her clients their ideal business, which is not new to Adrienne at all!
With over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience as a licensee, Franchise Owner, independent business owner, and working on the corporate side of franchising, Adrienne is well versed in the business world. It is hard to believe that years ago when Adrienne was working as a career transition consultant, she didn’t even like the idea of franchising! In that specific role, she found herself confusing franchising with “from the ground-up” entrepreneurship.
She didn’t yet realize the support Franchise Owners receive from Corporate, as well as the support from other franchisees and the truth to the statement that you are really “in business for yourself….but not by yourself”. So at the time, she jokes, she was actually one of those “ambushes” that happen to our clients steering them to work on their resumes rather than continue franchise exploration.The whole story changed when she fell into franchise consulting as a career herself, which she did by researching the possibility of a job in a franchise corporate office and instead found the role of franchise brokerage.
In 2003, Adrienne decided to join FranNet and start her career as a franchise consultant. She stayed with the network until 2008 when she joined the franchise Murphy Business & Financial (both franchise and business brokerage), but when that 10-year term expired, she became independent in 2017 as Success Franchising to focus solely on her first love which is franchise brokerage. She is a proud member of both the IFPG and Franchise Brokers’ Association, of which she is also a member of their Advisory Board.
Since becoming a franchise consultant in 2003, Adrienne’s purpose has not changed. She loves working with people and helping those in career transition, which she believes is one of the hardest times in a person’s life.
With an M.B.A. from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA and a Masters in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, Adrienne is able to use all of her skill sets in what she calls the “puzzle” of figuring out exactly what her clients are looking for. When it comes to franchise consulting,
Adrienne also loves that two days are never the same and that she is constantly learning. It also doesn’t hurt that she is able to work from anywhere in the world and that her business associate is her daughter, Kathryn Hetzendorfer. “Kathryn has made franchise consulting with Success Franchising her full-time career and I could not be more proud,” says Adrienne. “She was actually one of my motivating factors to find a flexible career and now we have created a family business!”
When it comes to the brands Adrienne chooses to present, she has a long list of “must-haves” in order to prove the validity of the model. First, she looks at the turnover rate as well as whether the brand has a proven track record. All in all, she needs to see something that will make her feel comfortable with the success of the system and her placement. What are Adrienne’s favorite kinds of brands to present? The “sleepers” that her clients would never find on their own. The one thing she hears most often from clients is, “Wow, I’m so glad we met because I never would have found this franchise without you, but it fits me perfectly!” Adrienne is always looking for those “hidden gems” which are typically service concepts or those that do not require a retail brick and mortar location.
Adrienne mentions that she also enjoys working with brands that she knows have been vetted by a franchise development company such as Raintree. She says, “The additional layer of due diligence that I know Raintree has done on their brands means I’ve got a certain confidence level from the beginning. I know they are brands with solid support and infrastructure in place.”
After 17 years, Adrienne feels she has found success as a franchise consultant because she listens to her clients and is able to use her psychology degree to dig deep and figure out what her clients are looking for, even when they don’t know themselves. She also emphasizes the importance of staying up-to-date on brand information and staying informed of any changes or updates.
Adrienne also makes it a point to participate in a mastermind group with other franchise consultants to share best practices, tips, and discuss different brands. More than anything, she works on her consulting business full-time and works hard! “Mostly, I work my ass off!” Adrienne jokes when asked why she has been so successful. “As a Franchise Consultant, we are paid to understand what makes a good concept for someone and to facilitate the process from start to finish. We need to know the brand reps and build strong relationships with them, so we are always on the same page to get the clients across the finish line. We have a tremendous responsibility when we are working with people in making what is probably one of the most important investments of their lives….and we need to take that seriously!”
Congratulations, Adrienne, for being the very first Raintree Franchise Sales Consultant of the Month, and thank you for your continued support and partnership. Everyone at Raintree looks forward to working with you in the future!