Episodes of The Sport Clips Haircuts Hall of Fame Podcast - Earl Blood

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In this episode recorded in July of 2018, we interview Earl Blood. Earl is the Senior Director of Operations at Sport Clips. Earl discusses the importance that healthy operations play in a successful store, explains some key roles that support store growth and provides tips for stores to reach their fullest potential.

Earl Blood and Chad Jordan holding a microphone

Episode Air Date Guest Name Guest Title Topic(s)
July 25, 2018 Earl Blood Senior Director of Operations Discussion on operations and culture

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Chad Jordan:                Well hey everybody, thanks for joining another edition of The Sport Clips Hall of Fame podcast. This is Chad Jordan, I'm the director of marketing for digital services here at Sport Clips. I'm really pleased with the podcast today because I'm joined by my guest is ...

Earl Blood:                   Earl Blood, senior director of operations.

Chad Jordan:                I love having Earl, he is my brother from another mother here at Sport Clips, one of my favorite guys. Well actually, we'll tell a little story later on about what #keepingitearl is all about. For those that are in the know on that, have seen that and wanna know the background on it. We'll explain that. We're gonna talk through obviously with Earl, his role in operations. We're gonna talk about a bunch of operation stuff, grand opening, keys to a successful store. A bunch of cool topics, but I know a number of you guys that are listening, have kind of followed Earl, he's had some health scares this year. His wife, Darlene, had a health scare this year. This is how much I love Earl ... he has this major health scare, was it in April or May or whenever it was. In May and gets out of the hospital. Was it like the next day? You're on a boat in Alaska or you're on your way, you just said, “You know, I'm gonna go on vacation and really relax.” Was it like the next day, next week, something like that?

Earl Blood:                   Two days after I got out of hospital, I got on a plane, went to Seattle, the day after that I got on a cruise ship with my beautiful bride, Darlene of 38 years and we spent a little over a week on a boat and going through Alaska and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Chad Jordan:                See, life is short and Earl is embracing every opportunity to enjoy life, especially with Darlene, his wife. And so I love that side of it. So Earl, quickly walk me through ... you've been at Sport Clips how long?

Earl Blood:                   A little over 10 years now.

Chad Jordan:                10 years and originally you were ... what were you hired on as? What was your role when you started?

Earl Blood:                   So I originally came in over 10 years ago, I was hired on as what they called, at that time a business coach and so myself, Darryl Mobley, Mark Nimmo, one other individual. We helped support all of the area developers in the company at that point, to help them build their business, help with their relationships with their team leaders and their managers in their market areas. And to really just, to support them, to help them to help others follow the system.

Chad Jordan:                And when you started you were in Colorado, is that correct?

Earl Blood:                   Lived in Colorado.

Chad Jordan:                And traveled ... we actually might talk a little bit about your travel schedule, I think ours kind of are in sync sometime, we both hit the road quite a bit. But Colorado wasn't beautiful enough, you decided you needed to upgrade and move to Georgetown Texas at some point, right? Isn't that what happened?

Earl Blood:                   That is absolutely the absolute truth. We upgraded about a year and a half ago. We moved down to the beautiful city of Georgetown, actually most people don't know I'm originally from Texas, so I'm a native Texan.

Chad Jordan:                Oh really, okay, that's where the accent comes from, okay.

Earl Blood:                   And born in Fort Worth, then was raised in Arkansa. So living back in the South is almost-

Chad Jordan:                It's home.

Earl Blood:                   Dream come true, it's not bad. People ask my wife how we like it here, her answer's always the same, "Well the people are nice."

Chad Jordan:                The elevation is a little different, that's for sure, than what you are used to.

Earl Blood:                   Not quite 6,500 feet that we used to live at for sure.

Chad Jordan:                So describe to us what your current role is, obviously supporting operations and overseeing a lot of things, but help me figure out exactly what it is that you're doing right now.

Earl Blood:                   Yes, so the role I currently have as the senior director of operations is focused primarily on grand openings and the grand opening team, what we call project 6,000, which is aiding our stores that are currently less than $6,000 a week and get sales to get them over that hump. That's extremely important to our team leaders, we know when our stores hit those metrics and those numbers, our team members make more money, they're happier. The team leaders are typical at least break even, most profitable, it just makes for a better life for everybody. So that's our focus at that time.

Chad Jordan:                So when we use the acronym GO or G-O, we're talking about grand openings in the rest of this podcast. So what do you usually call it?

Earl Blood:                   We usually just call it the GO team.

Chad Jordan:                GO team? Okay.

Earl Blood:                   Yeah, we kind of like that acronym because we're on the go. We do then have the same travel schedule that you and I have enjoyed for so long. But really starting to see a lot of traction with that team really making a difference in the level of success early on in the life of our-

Chad Jordan:                Describe for me, if you will, those that are unfamiliar with Sport Clips, who might be listening, maybe potential team leaders of franchisees down the road, what does the GO team do? How do they help? Do they literally go help a brand new team leader, franchisee go pick a location? What is it ... kind of just give me the ... maybe not the 50,000 foot view, maybe the 10,000 foot view on what the GO team's role really is.

Earl Blood:                   Yeah, so the GO team that I help lead really gets involved after site selection. So site selection occurs, our team jumps in with both feet, begin to take our team leader through the ... what we call the SOP or the store opening process. Very detailed, week by week process of everything you need to get done and if you follow that to the tee, then pretty much about 10 weeks after you start construction, you should be able to open your store. So we go through all of those process with them, from ordering equipment to helping them set up recruitment plans, to help them set up local store marketing plans to helping them get through all the things that it takes to open a store successfully.

Chad Jordan:                And do you find ... that just made me think about, do you find more eagerness and excitement with brand new, out of the box team leader franchisees, willingness to kind of follow to a tee what you were saying there or team leaders who are experienced and know, alright, this process that we have to follow, which do you kind of see adhering a little bit more closely to exactly what the GO team is trying to implement?

Earl Blood:                   You know, so I think that's a great question Chad, I think as far as just following everything step by step, by step, I think we see a better enhancement with that, with new team leaders, just because they don't any better.

Chad Jordan:                Right, and that's why they got into franchising, that's why they picked Sport Clips as a concept.

Earl Blood:                   That's correct. As far as just the overall assignment for opening a new store, I think that pretty universal, even if you've been in the system 15 years and have 40 stores, you're still excited to open a new business. To put some of the young men and young women in our wonderful industry to work. Give them a career, give them an opportunity to take care of their families, so that kind of excitement never goes away from any of our-

Chad Jordan:                And I know for us here, in support center and our support, the marketing department, we celebrate, it's a big deal when a store opens. We open a 100 to 150 stores a year, but it's such a big deal, that we celebrate. We send emails, congratulate the team leader, the store, messages of love and support. So it's such a unique place to work for me to see that level of excitement 'cause like I said, there's 100 to 150 stores. That's like every two, three, four, five, six days we're celebrating another launch. Super excited to see all the success the GO team is having. Can I have you walk me through ... there's different levels of support. So once the store gets open, there are different levels, there's coaches that the store has, can you help me wrap my head around what operations does with their tiers of support and all the angles that come in it?

Earl Blood:                   Sure, so as we go through the store opening process, let's just kind of start there. We have a really great team of folks on the recruitment side to help ream leaders recruit correctly, hire the best possible candidates-

Chad Jordan:                Do they actually sit in on interviews with [crosstalk 00:08:16] okay, so the team leaders are responsible. So do we train ... 'cause most of these team leaders, they weren't in the industry, they weren't stylists or hairdressers. So how do they get trained on interviewing for potential stylists?

Earl Blood:                   So when their team leaders come to team leader training camp-

Chad Jordan:                Okay, team leader training camp, alright.

Earl Blood:                   Comprehensive training around-

Chad Jordan:                And is that here in Georgetown or-

Earl Blood:                   In Georgetown and it's a great time, it's a great week. They get to-

Chad Jordan:                So they spend the week out here?

Earl Blood:                   They do, come in on Sunday, leave on Friday afternoon. Some come earlier to take advantage of the wonderful things that awesome Texas-

Chad Jordan:                And there is air conditioning, fully supporting their efforts, especially when it falls during the Summer time, so-

Earl Blood:                   Absolutely, we wanna make sure they're cool, calm and collected at all times. So there's comprehensive training and team leader training camp really has evolved into really an intensive focus on the things they need to know when they leave about what they need to get done to open a successful Sport Clips store. So we've gone from having a whole lot of ancillary type of information and a kind of data dump so to speak, to really focusing on the things that they need to understand and be successful in the grand opening of their first store.

Chad Jordan:                I love that.

Earl Blood:                   So as we go through that process, they're much better educated and informed and have gone through role plays and things of situations like interviews and things of that nature. So those are all great things. All of the

Chad Jordan:                What, do they do mock interviews or what do they-

Earl Blood:                   They're actually live interviews.

Chad Jordan:                Live interviews? Okay.

Earl Blood:                   We actually use team members either from a local beauty school here and our current thought is it would be really cool if we could do some video type, Skype type interviews with candidates from beauty schools that are in the neighborhood of the stores that they're going to open.

Chad Jordan:                So will you FaceTime or you Skype or something with-

Earl Blood:                   Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, oh, cool.

Earl Blood:                   So it's live, it's realtime and it's real people.

Chad Jordan:                And do they have a little device in their ear, you're like giving them hints on the questions they should ask or somebody. Oh, okay.

Earl Blood:                   We have a book.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, so there's a playbook or something, okay, right, right, right, right.

Earl Blood:                   So that's a lot of fun. So then as we get closer to the opening, again, about 10 weeks after you start construction is kind of an opening week. So we, prior to that, we'll put a coach in that store-

Chad Jordan:                Now, when you say coach, is Lou Holtz coming, Phil Jackson, what does a coach in the Sport Clip system look like?

Earl Blood:                   So a coach in the Sport Clips world is someone who's been thoroughly trained and certified to impart knowledge and education and talent to our folks, to cut hair well, to follow the system, to be able to establish relationships with their clients, so that they can establish that well. And then their take home and back bar can become part of what we do, so-

Chad Jordan:                And back bar is?

Earl Blood:                   So that's the MVP of our signature series or the triple play.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, and triple play is one of the haircut types that people can get at a Sport Clips?

Earl Blood:                   Yeah, so triple play is also a back bar service, so into the showers area, but it just has a few different components than the MVP does.

Chad Jordan:                And these coaches, are they stylists that at one point ... were they ever managers? Where are you finding these coaches?

Earl Blood:                   Most are managers at a Sport Clip store somewhere. Typical in a geographic are that they live in. Our grand opening coaches kind of live all over 'cause they travel a lot. But they have come out of our system for the most part. They were good managers to great managers, they had great metrics, they built great teams, that's always what you're looking for-

Chad Jordan:                They know what they're talking about, yeah.

Earl Blood:                   They have the repertoire to pass it on. So we spend a week with that team as a whole-

Chad Jordan:                So the team gets ... the new team gets hired?

Earl Blood:                   Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                How long before the store opens?

Earl Blood:                   The team itself needs to be hired a month before the store opens.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   The manager, we like to see three months before. The assistant managers, two months before. And then we like to see the manager and both assistants go through manager training camp, prior to that week of training-

Chad Jordan:                Where is that training camp? Is that in Georgetown? Is it locally?

Earl Blood:                   Local.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   So local to where the new store-

Chad Jordan:                'Cause we've got stores in all 50 states, so they shouldn't have to travel too far to come to one of these manager training camps.

Earl Blood:                   That's correct.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. So it's a month before, they start getting the manager, assistant manager, now it's a week before, that's when the coach comes in?

Earl Blood:                   So a week before the coach comes in to do what we call grand opening training. So basically, that's all of our core classes, it's all of our classes to help you with your take home sales, help you get back bar appraised, and so get your game on, step up your game, those kinds of classes. We do wire it that way so kind of everybody understands everybody else's personality and how we-

Chad Jordan:                Oh, so a personality test.

Earl Blood:                   How we all get along, and how we all have fun.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. All right.

Earl Blood:                   And then we try to have a team event-

Chad Jordan:                Team building. Okay.

Earl Blood:                   We go to dinner and go bowling. We do something fun with the team. But really the whole intent is to not only train them to what the system is and how to follow it, and why that's important. Because if they do, we know they can make more money. But it's also to build that team and to build that family environment in that store for long-term success.

Chad Jordan:                How involved is the team leader in this three, two, one month before? Are they in there every single day, every hour, every minute? Or ...

Earl Blood:                   So typically not for a new team leader, because as we know, most of our team leaders still have really important you know, day jobs to have-

Chad Jordan:                So you're not asking them to take a three month sabbatical from their current career?

Earl Blood:                   We are not.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   Typically the week of training we like them there as much as possible. The week of opening we like them there full time and so that's one-

Chad Jordan:                So they're gonna burn their two weeks of vacation from their current job to really launch this and get it open?

Earl Blood:                   Any time you in delve into making a better life for yourself there's-

Chad Jordan:                Commitment, investment, sacrifices.

Earl Blood:                   And so that's part of that you know after these businesses get open and operating and get to a level that's sustainable that commitment can be less, but two months before to two or three months after that's pretty intense.

Chad Jordan:                Well and really once they do launch, if it's their first store especially, they may still have their eight to five, Monday through Friday, but they're always still thinking about ... I loved the conversation I had with Jeff Burroughs who used to be in the car business. He would tell me when he would sell cars he'd give everybody that he met a free haircut or MVP experience at his sport clips and that's kinda how he used to ... even in his day job to get the message out.

Earl Blood:                   Right and that's really the most important thing that the team leaders can do to help the success of new stores is to really make sure you have the right manager and to really make sure you over support them in every way possible to where they feel comfortable with what you ask them to do. They have clear direction. You have clear goals and those kinds of things. And the other thing is to make sure that they absolutely have in place and are executing a strong local store marketing program.

Chad Jordan:                That local store marketing program's so important. Are they making that up as they go along? Is there another book that they're following? What's the system look like?

Earl Blood:                   So again part of going back to team leader training-

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   We have a lot of our really strong folks come in from our marketing department. John Lester and his team at Field Marketing Coordinators. They come in and every team leaders leaves here with a six month local store marketing program.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   That if executed should yield them great success in what they do. It all gets down to you know, knowing is only half the battle. You know after that it's…

Chad Jordan:                Once you're in it you gotta do it, right.

Earl Blood:                   You gotta execute it, so you know that's one of the things we continue to work strongly with the team leaders after opening is to make sure that they understand the importance of that local store marketing program and of the support of their manager and making sure the business really just runs like clockwork as quickly as possible.

Chad Jordan:                I know for me, I think you can vouch for this too, there are a ton of obviously very successful stores in this ... across the country in this brand and the team leaders that dote on, I'll use that word, and lavish attention and energy towards their managers, those are the ones that are super successful, so can you just tell me a little ... Give me a quick look into how team leaders can make sure their managers feel valued, important. What kind of things can they do to make sure they're going out of their way to let 'em know how much they're appreciated?

Earl Blood:                   You know, I think it all comes down to communication.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   To clearly communicate what the expectations are, that's gotta start before the hire, right?

Chad Jordan:                Right.

Earl Blood:                   So, what are the expectations? What are my expectations? And then you've gotta have a lot of patience. Typically a lot of our first time managers, it may be their first time managing anywhere, and so our expectations have-

Chad Jordan:                And let alone maybe a brand new store.

Earl Blood:                   Right, so we have to make sure that we do that. I think just trying to make sure that the manager is empowered and feel like as much as possible that that's their store. You know if we're constantly going in and solving problems for the manager, but we're not really helping them. We're not really empowering them.

Chad Jordan:                Or even going in looking around and maybe being critical or noticing something's out of place and pointing that out without the praise and all that first. You know the praise sandwich I think is what we like to call it.

Earl Blood:                   Yeah, we do. I think it's great if the team leaders can go in their store on a regular basis and not do anything while they're in there, but just say positive things, builds a real strong culture of that. It also creates positive relationships and then when something does come up that needs to be addressed you have a whole lot better opportunity to do that in a positive manner with some relationship established and if the only thing we ever do is go in and gripe or complain or criticize or find faults. You know real important. Our great industry is so important. We just need to make sure that everybody feels appreciated, 'cause that seems to be where a lot of times we lack. When the culture in the store isn't right, when you can kinda walk in and feel it. Chad, you travel enough and you've seen that, and kinda what it comes down to it is when you feel that you kinda understand that there's a lack of appreciation.

Chad Jordan:                Right.

Earl Blood:                   And so you have to constantly guard against that.

Chad Jordan:                And it's so puzzling 'cause we have core values here, you know we have ... We believe you gotta do what's right, do your best and treat others the way they wanna be treated, and so when you don't see that you go, "man it doesn't feel like a Sport Clips when you walk in there." So kudos to all the stores and the team leaders that are doing things the right way. We can definitely tell. Talking about travel I mean, you and I, we travel a lot and we can see when we walk into the store basically the energy and the culture of that store, so can you take me down kinda your traveling road? What do you do when you're on the road? What are you going for? What do you see out there?

Earl Blood:                   Yeah so typically when I travel it's around leadership opportunities.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, leadership ... Is that a meeting?

Earl Blood:                   Leadership, yeah so cordially we have a leadership meeting and everyone of our managers-

Chad Jordan:                And we call them leaderships?

Earl Blood:                   Call them leaderships.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   It's a training class, it involves-

Chad Jordan:                Who comes?

Earl Blood:                   The team leader.

Chad Jordan:                The team leader.

Earl Blood:                   And the managers.

Chad Jordan:                Okay and the managers, so not everybody in the store. We're not shutting the stores down for these, okay.

Earl Blood:                   And we strongly encourage assistant managers to come as well. I mean that's one of the great opportunities we have in showing that culture and that commitment to our teams is to see that they have an upward path of growth and career opportunities.

Chad Jordan:                So I'm assuming these leaderships, if we want the manager and the assistant manager, they're not on Saturdays. They're not on Friday nights. They're not on Sundays, the typical really busy peak times. They must be during the middle of the week or something like that usually or-

Earl Blood:                   So, it varies by market. The market gets together typically and says kinda, "here's what works for us." And it's a balance because remember we talked earlier, a lot of our team leaders still work, so if you have it on Wednesday now I've asked a team leader to-

Chad Jordan:                Take the middle of the week off.

Earl Blood:                   Try to figure out a way to get there. If I have it on Saturday or Sunday which many of our markets do. That's a really busy day in the stores and it's tough to have…

Chad Jordan:                Right, you gotta balance that, yeah.

Earl Blood:                   So there's a balance and we work with the local team leader group to see what works best for them and the balance is everybody's not gonna win, so you gotta figure out that and have everybody be as happy as possible.

Chad Jordan:                Well, you obviously can't be everywhere at once, so are there people throughout the country that are kinda implementing some operations or overseeing somethings regionally? Can you kinda describe what that might look like?

Earl Blood:                   Yeah, so we have a great team across the country that helps operations and growth of stores and those types of things. Currently we have a group called regional directors.

Chad Jordan:                Regional directors, okay.

Earl Blood:                   And so those are our folks that are in our direct support market, so that's a market we don't have an area developer.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   So an area developer is actually a franchise and we don't do that anymore. It's a ... They buy a large territory and they help Sport Clips to do develop that territory, to find team leaders, to open stores, and to produce-

Chad Jordan:                That's probably a throwback from the earlier days when we were growing across the country and needed actual people all over the place.

Earl Blood:                   Yeah it really is. I think the last area developer we brought in was probably about eight years ago.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   And since then we've determined that we would like to support market areas with folks that belong to the Sport Clips accounting.

Chad Jordan:                Right, makes sense.

Earl Blood:                   So in those market areas what you have is you have a group lead by regional director. They'll have a number of coaches assigned to them in that area to support and maintain classes, manager trainings, success checks, those kinds of things.

Chad Jordan:                Success check, what's-

Earl Blood:                   So that's when we go in and we tell everybody what a great job that they're doing in the stores, and following the system and adhering to the plan, and we talk about areas of opportunity that can help them be even better.

Chad Jordan:                Cool.

Earl Blood:                   So then you do all of those types of things, so those are the core groups that actually produce those leaderships every quarter.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, okay.

Earl Blood:                   And then typically we'll have someone perhaps from like a DVD or a wall or-

Chad Jordan:                And those are suppliers?

Earl Blood:                   Those are suppliers and they'll come in and help us with, probably training or equipment knowledge, those kinds of things. We'll do some business planning. We'll do some team building. It's really great to see the managers of an area get together and do some things as a group. One of the best ones I love is that when we have the team leaders we get mannequins stands and we get mannequins and we get the team leaders to cut hair.

Chad Jordan:                Oh what a disaster, oh my gosh.

Earl Blood:                   And their manager-

Chad Jordan:                Gets to grade them?

Earl Blood:                   Yep

Chad Jordan:                Oh wow, the shoe is on the other foot there.

Earl Blood:                   It's absolutely amazing.

Chad Jordan:                I love it.

Earl Blood:                   I loved it. I've been through-

Chad Jordan:                We need some before and after shots of what that looks like.

Earl Blood:                   … that's what it was last year. I got to go through All Star hip hitting class probably about four months ago, was really great. Mary Carter graciously took us-

Chad Jordan:                Wow Mary, way to go Mary.

Earl Blood:                   Took the whole group of regional directors. Well actually went through a hair cutting class so we could actually-

Chad Jordan:                How many of y'all cut your fingers and you know-

Earl Blood:                   I think we all cut pretty slow, so we didn't have to worry about that. But yeah, so those leadership classes, I go to a lot of those. I'll go to grand opening stores.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   Just to be there for the grand opening day and to congratulate everybody and just to be there as a presence for someone from the support center.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. That's excellent.

Earl Blood:                   Sometimes I just do market tours. I do still go on tour with some of area developers that ask me to come and help them with different situations that they might have.

Chad Jordan:                Right.

Earl Blood:                   We have a great support system for all of our team leaders all the way down to our managers and stylists throughout the system, which makes Sport Clips such a great place to be, such a great franchise to own and such a great endeavor for all of us that are here to help make sure that folks are successful.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah and I love that because people do need help from time to time and the last thing you wanna do is feel like you're either marooned or you're drowning in over your head with nobody to help you, so to that point can you give me, in case there's anybody listening maybe a team leader or somebody in a market that they feel like they're struggling right now, or they need some help, what are a couple tips operationally that you could offer to obviously you need to know every unique situation, but generally that you would come in and you would look at, these might be the top three things I would look at and maybe make suggestions around to see you guys get bumped up even further.

Earl Blood:                   Yeah so I think one of the first things I'd look at and we have actually, we talked about it a little earlier, a thing we call Project 6000.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, yeah.

Earl Blood:                   And that's where we really taking a hard look at all of our stores that for less than 6000 dollars a week, average sales for previously rolling three months and we work with those stores to get off of that list. That's not really the list you wanna-

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Earl Blood:                   ... source to get off of that list. That's not really the list you want to be on. It's really interesting, in January when we started the push, we had 508 stores on that list.

Chad Jordan:                Out of 1,700, so nearly a third of the brand. Okay.

Earl Blood:                   By the time we got to the end of June, we had cut 100 stores out of that list.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Earl Blood:                   So pretty good movement.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Earl Blood:                   So one of the things we'll look at when we start trying to figure out why am I not doing as well as I would like to do, I look at CES score first.

Chad Jordan:                CES.

Earl Blood:                   Client Excitement Score

Chad Jordan:                Client Excitement Score. Okay. How do you determine ... is that a ... I'm not good with math. Do I have to figure that out or is that somebody-

Earl Blood:                   No.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   That's you go to your Listen360 site for your store and your number-

Chad Jordan:                And Listen360, that's the company that produces this and determines.

Earl Blood:                   The company that does that calculation. It comes from the surveys that we ask our clients to take based on their business. So we start looking at those numbers. If those numbers were less than 75, we start to really dig in hard. If those numbers are less than 65, that's really where you got to start why is it there. So we start to cull through those client comments and see what's going on. Typically, in those stores that are that low, there is normally a hair-cut quality issue. That seems to be the biggest determining factor of clients coming back is are they getting a great haircut. And as much as we like to think we do a whole lot of stuff, at the end of the day, you provide haircuts.

Chad Jordan:                It's in our name, Sport Clips haircuts.

Earl Blood:                   So we may need to go and do some training. We've had some of our white list stores that had 6,000 store, we've had some team leaders that have really gotten involved with them and said, "I want to do better quickly." They've even gone to the point of they've closed their store for a couple of days and we've sent a coach in there.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, wow.

Earl Blood:                   And that's really over and above support.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Earl Blood:                   That's the dedication that we have from everyone at Sport Clips to help make sure that everyone is as successful as they can be.

Chad Jordan:                Putting your money where your mouth is.

Earl Blood:                   So we'll put a coach in there for two days or on a Sunday, sometimes and close and we'll get the team trained, get them going in the right direction. So we start there. Then we really want to go back and start really looking at what's the culture like in the store and do people feel appreciated. Do we have the right things? Are we following those core values and core goals that we all know and love and that's why we're all still here? Are we doing those things?

                                    And then, after we get back kind of fix. So when you're going to fix a location, typically, you've got to fix inside before you can go outside. So once we get that done, now we can go outside and start looking at okay, what kind of local store marketing can we do and what makes sense? And what is there time to do from the team leader aspect? What is there funds to do from the team leader aspect? What are the team members willing to do.

                                    Buddy Cards is one of the greatest ways to build client count.

Chad Jordan:                And Buddy Cards are, describe that.

Earl Blood:                   It's a card you give to your client.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, so I got a haircut. Now you give me a card. And the card says-

Earl Blood:                   I'm going to ask you, I'm going to say, "Hey, would you be willing to hand out some Buddy Cards for me as we're trying to build our business here?" And they'll typically say yes. If they say no, that means they weren’t happy.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, right.

Earl Blood:                   And then typically just ask them, "Well, how many would you like?" And they may like-

Chad Jordan:                Is there anything in it for me as a client other than sharing the experience. Do I get a free haircut or a lollipop or-

Earl Blood:                   So it depends. So it varies by store. Many stores offer their clients free MVP upgrade on their next visit if they get some return from their Buddy Cards.

Chad Jordan:                I see.

Earl Blood:                   But that's really a great way. You got a client in your chair. You've given him a great haircut. You've given him a great MVP service. He's feeling great. "Hey, go out and tell others about how great this is." So we do that. So that is a great way to start and that's relatively low cost, low effort, just to get that done. You don't have to go and spend thousands and thousands of dollars in marketing to really start making a difference in the store.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. And you already answered this one because I was going to ask you what is the trait of a really successful store that you could recommend that team leaders and managers focus on. And I think, I don't want to put words in your mouth. Would you say the relationship between the team leader and the manager, that culture that gets created, do you think that's the number one key or is there something else that we should know about?

Earl Blood:                   I think that that's the key to really keeping the team…

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Earl Blood:                   We know that if we have great team member retention, then we tend to have better client retention, which means we have better performance and our team members can make more money. If we're following the system inside, everything from point one to point five all the way down the system without exception, each and every client each and every time, we know that those stores perform exceptionally well.

Chad Jordan:                I love it. Venture mender so far, I got it before we get to the last set of questions, I got to tell the keeping it Earl story.

Earl Blood:                   Okay.

Chad Jordan:                So we have a national convention every year with 3,000 plus people in attendance. Managers come, team leaders are there, all the support team members or a lot of the support team members are there from headquarters. And Earl is one of our main presenters every year. And this year I had ... this is chat, but I had an opportunity to help out a little bit with Huddle and was ask to introduce Earl and you have the letters in Earl's name, if you rearrange them, spell the word real.

                                    So in the introduction for Earl, we talked about how real he is, how genuine he is as a guy and how much we love him. Well, the MC, the main MC, David Wilk, DW, when I get backstage says, "Real, real, we got to do something about keeping it real. But instead, we gotta call it keeping it Earl."

                                    So we came up with this little bit where we would go out right before break and we were going to bring Earl up and say, "Hey, let's take a picture with Earl and call it keeping it Earl instead of keeping it real." And we were going to have everybody try to find you so they could do a keeping it Earl picture, hashtag it keeping it Earl, and then post it to see if it could trend.

                                    Well, you were presenting, you had a bunch of talks that you were doing right after this break that we were having. So I think you had started to slip out to get ready for your presentation. We could not find you. We're live on stage looking around so we couldn't find you or Earl. And so what we had to do is pull an audible and David and I took a picture, a selfie on stage in front of everybody and we said, "This is what we want. We want it to be go find your Sport Clips Buddy and use the hashtag keeping it Earl."

                                    And now this thing has trended. There're thousands of hashtag keeping it Earl. And I know that that day, is this true that that was the most attendance you've ever had in presentations. Because everybody who at that point wanted to come, weren't you getting selfie request? And I saw you all over the place.

Earl Blood:                   It was amazing. I had people come up to me and I was confused first.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, because you'd kind of missed it.

Earl Blood:                   I was gone.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. I saw those first few pictures and your eyes were like, "Wow, what's going on?"

Earl Blood:                   Yeah. So I think at the National Huddle after you guys called that audible, I took more pictures with managers over…

Chad Jordan:                Yes. I love that.

Earl Blood:                   ... two days that I have ever taken in my life. And even now going to and things like that, I still have groups come up and say, "Hey, we want to we got to tag it."

Chad Jordan:                Got to keeping it Earl.

Earl Blood:                   So it continues to live. Your introduction was very humbling to me as was I can't go without the saying when I was in the hospital and you got on and prayed for me. That was an amazing point in my recovery and the outpouring of likes and people saying, "Hey, we're praying for you," it was so humbling.

Chad Jordan:                Well, the really crazy thing is I do a lot of Facebook Live news flash. I'm on social media quite a bit. And 99.9% of them are goofy. I'm making fun of myself or something. And so I know when I started that one, people thought, "All right, here he goes again." And then for us to turn it to no, we actually need ... Earl is in the hospital. It's emergency, we need to pray. And like you said, the show of support, it was instantaneous. It was like wildfire and people from literally all over the country were checking in and saying, "Hey, praying for you in Alaska," and all this stuff. So that was so cool. That is the power of social media and why, and obviously, the power of prayer and believe and faith and all that kind of stuff too. But what a great system and brand to be a part of.

                                    Well, I love you. I love that you've been here today. Can I ... I know I ran a little ... a couple minutes over because I was telling that last story. Can I ask you a couple ... I can't do follow up questions to these. So I want to ask you a couple questions. Your answer is the answer I can't do follow ups. Are you find with that?

Earl Blood:                   I'm good.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. Question number one. Which superpower would you most like to have?

Earl Blood:                   The ability to be invisible.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. Invisibility. What is your personal motto?

Earl Blood:                   I could do all things through Christ.

Chad Jordan:                Wow, you kind of ripped that off. Let's see, that was familiar. Okay. I like it Other than where you live now, where else in the world would you most like to live.

Earl Blood:                   Colorado.

Chad Jordan:                I should just cut that question out. Who is a celebrity you would most like to meet one day?

Earl Blood:                   Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Chad Jordan:                The governator. Which words or phrases do you most often overuse?

Earl Blood:                   Win-win.

Chad Jordan:                Win-win. What sound or noise do you love?

Earl Blood:                   The sound of rain on a Saturday morning.

Chad Jordan:                Oh. What sound or noise do you hate?

Earl Blood:                   The sound of my alarm clock on Monday morning.

Chad Jordan:                Yes. What profession other than your own would you have been good at or at least have wanted to try?

Earl Blood:                   Forensic accounting.

Chad Jordan:                Forensic accounting. I don't even know it. I'm going to have to research. I'm going to Google that, Wikipedia that after this. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Earl Blood:                   My beautiful bride of 38 years and being able to convince her somehow beyond my wildest imagination that she should hang with me for that long.

Chad Jordan:                Wow, that's amazing. I think you're going to have a fun date night after this podcast goes live. Number 10. If heaven indeed exists, wink, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Earl Blood:                   Well done, my good and faithful servant.

Chad Jordan:                That's it, I knew that answer was coming. Hey, this has been another podcast, Sport Clips podcast. We had been honored to have Earl Blood with us. Thank you, Earl, for joining us.

Earl Blood:                   Thanks for having me, Chad.

Chad Jordan:                Hope you guys will tune in again next time. Thanks.