Five Ways to Share the Love!

As part of our contribution to the FCA National Convention earlier this month I prepared a handout containing a number of ways franchisors can communicate they care about the success of their franchisees. As well as being a decent thing to do, there is a strong business case for communicating your care. Franchisees who “feel the love” are significantly more likely to recommend your franchise concept to others. Positive word of mouth, as we all know, is the most effective way to grow a franchise network, or any business for that matter.

While the original handout has 14 strategies, here are my favourite five below. (If you want the full 14 strategies, email me and I’ll send you the sheet).

  1. Practice quality listening in your discussions. The most powerful way to demonstrate care and respect is to listen with concentration. Listening does not mean you agree, but it does mean you care. When people feel listened to without being judged or interrupted, they engage more, share more honest information and are more likely to commit to taking action. A little patience here can produce significant breakthroughs in helping franchisees to grow their businesses.
  2. Show respect for franchisees as business owners. Remember they probably have far more at stake, financially and emotionally, than you. Let them know you appreciate their commitment to the brand and the sacrifices they are likely to have made by investing in your franchise model. While they may not be legal shareholders of the brand they certainly are stakeholders of the highest order.
  3. Recognise their efforts as well as their results. Look for opportunities to praise behaviours and attitudes that support your brand values and culture, beyond sales achievements. Franchisees with the biggest sales are not necessarily your best franchisees in the broader scheme of things. Success is a journey that requires constant attention to doing the right things such as delivering a great customer experience and participating constructively in franchise system activities. Just rewarding results can breed arrogance and even complacency.
  4. Focus on the positives, not just the negatives. When visiting a franchisee’s business actively look for the things they have done well. Use their strengths as a foundation to then address what can be improved. People are more likely to be open to feedback if they also have a sense they are doing some things right. Constant criticism breeds resentment. And this leads nicely to the final tip.
  5. Combine tough messages with empathy and facts. While it’s important to be direct and to the point when giving an important message, always explain the reasons why this is important and back it up with objective information. There are basically only two legitimate reasons for delivering a tough message. One is to protect franchisee profitability and the other is to protect the integrity of your brand or culture. When communicating tough messages it helps to consider the franchisee as a respected colleague.

While we’re on the topic of sharing the love, we launched our Franchisor’s Journey to Excellence program last week, which is our way of sharing 24 years of accumulated knowledge and experience with the sector. I’ve just seen the feedback ratings from the opening session which featured Warren Wilmot, CEO of 7-Eleven as our guest mentor. Satisfaction was a whopping 85% with all respondents saying they are glad to be participating in the program. If you are a franchisor executive who is committed to your franchise system achieving excellence, we’d love to have you on the Journey.

Until next time

Greg Nathan

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