Why Franchisees Hate Conferences

We all know conferences are good for the franchising soul. They bring franchisors and franchisees together to share ideas and recommit to each other and the brand. And the knowledge gained often helps franchisees to revitalise and leave with a better understanding of why they joined the group and what they need to focus on. Yet there is often resistance by franchisees to attend conference.

A recent question on a LinkedIn Franchise Executive forum asked why franchisees hate conferences. There were around 21 comments. I asked Alexis Tramacchi from our team to summarise the responses. The most common reasons were, too much chest pounding or preaching from franchisor executives; a lack of interesting, practical information that could help franchisees to be more successful; and the cost and hassle of leaving their business to get there. What also emerged from the forum posts were the following 11 very sensible suggestions that franchisors had found useful in overcoming these blocks.

  1. Commit to the dates, venue and details as early as possible. Give franchisees as much notice as possible to plan time away from their business.
  2. Start a countdown to conference in your weekly newsletter or bulletin. Include links to clips and messages from your guest speakers to get franchisees excited about the topics.
  3. Follow up franchisees who haven’t registered with a personal call or email from respected franchisor team members. If they aren’t attending, ask for specific reasons, listen carefully and see if you can help.
  4. Prior to the conference, survey franchisees for feedback on what they want and value. While you may not be able to change the basic program, you can often tailor the focus to ensure their hot topics are addressed.
  5. Form a conference task force made up of franchisees franchisor executives and the event planner to ensure all perspectives are attended to.
  6. Engage third party experts to deliver content your franchisees have been asking for. Franchisees are often more open to receiving messages from someone outside the organisation.
  7. Go into the conference with an open mind and open ears. Provide opportunities for two-way communication and listen to franchisee feedback without becoming defensive.
  8. Begin the conference with an update from top leadership including goals, plans and what these mean to the profitability and security of franchisees. Finish with a restatement of your culture and brand.
  9. Provide plenty of time and opportunities for franchisees to network with each other, formally and informally.
  10. Actively involve franchisees in presentations, round table discussions and panels. This is often where the most powerful learning occurs.
  11. Encourage successful franchisees to share their stories on specific initiatives. Because they have instant credibility, they can make a big impact on franchisee thinking.

In summary, when franchisors involve franchisees in the planning and execution of their conference, and deliver relevant, useful information in an engaging format it becomes an event everyone can be passionate about and take ownership of. Thanks Alexis for this useful summary. And by the way, we do a lot of work for our clients in the design and delivery of sessions at their conferences. So give us a call if you’re looking for practical, engaging sessions that focus on improving franchisee performance and satisfaction.

Until next time,

Greg Nathan

Copyright © 2018 Franchise Relationships Pty Ltd • Contact Us Company Privacy Statement