Who has the power in a franchise brand?
I have learned a fundamental truth throughout my years working with various franchise brands in different countries: he who establishes a strong relationship with the franchisee holds the most power within the brand. Let's look at how to establish a meaningful relationship between franchisees and franchisors to build and maintain success.
What Really Matters?
Your title, tenure, and job duties are less important than the type of relationship you have with the franchisees in the brand. Do they trust and respect you? Do they like you as a person? Do they believe you when you communicate with them? Whoever has a deep and ongoing personal relationship with the franchisees holds the power in the brand. Nurturing the relationship between franchisee and franchisor significantly impacts the success of a brand and franchise.
How Relationships Make a Difference
I'll share a first-hand example that shows the importance of building relationships with new franchisees. I spoke with a client who recently became the CEO of a franchise brand. He shared that he had just overseen the first batch of new franchisees during their initial training. During our conversation, I suggested he make more effort to develop relationships with these new franchisees. While he had already made himself available for group dinners and presented during the training, I recommended he also consider reaching out to each franchisee individually a few days after their training. He could call or send an email to offer support and give them a few pointers. Building these one-on-one relationships could go a long way in helping these franchisees succeed.
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How to Help
It's as easy as making a phone call and expressing your gratitude for meeting them at the training session while also thanking them for their commitment to the brand. Then, inquire about their experience in the franchise development process and ask for any feedback they may have. Ask the franchisees how they feel, what they think, what they like, and what they don’t like so far. Take the time to listen to their experience and concerns and let them feel heard and supported. Offer suggestions or ask questions to help them focus on the most critical aspects of the business, the ones that you know make a difference. Help them understand the importance of utilizing the entire team and brand. Provide them with inspiration and motivation, remind them to take advantage of the entire corporate team, other franchisees, and the appropriate vendors in the system, and show them how to succeed in your brand. Tell them you'll be available at the conference, and remind them that the team is there to help them succeed. Make it personal, authentic, and easy while also being incredibly valuable.
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Establishing personal connections and cultivating relationships with franchisees as individuals is a valuable practice. The individual who has developed strong relationships with franchisees holds the power in a franchise system. Establishing these relationships early, carefully and consistently is crucial, especially if you hold an executive role within the organization. If you are a franchise organization leader, take this into account and plan ahead as your brand grows and more franchisees join - it will pay dividends down the road.
If you're facing challenges in franchise relationship management or seeking new ideas on how to improve your approach, I'd be happy to discuss it with you! I have decades of experience working with all types of franchise brands. Let's talk!
John Francis of Johnny Franchise is an enthusiastic, engaging, and entertaining public speaker, advisor and franchise coach; he speaks from experience and the heart. He is the creator of the successful Franchise Lifecycle Program that will take your franchise to the next level. Franchising is in his blood, and his parents were true pioneers in the industry, turning their family haircutting business into a 1,000-salon franchise empire. He has been a franchisee and a franchisor and has a deep understanding of the issues both face. Connect with John, and you and your franchisees will learn how to look at your business in new, positive, and profitable ways.