How to recruit and lead franchisees

Recruitment and support of franchisees is essential. So how can you improve both? Everyone can learn tips on better ways to function.

Let’s start with the approach to bringing franchisees into the network. Of course recruiting franchisees is target-driven but unfortunately treating a franchise like a product or a business deal doesn’t bring the best results.

As Greg Nathan, founder of Franchise Relationships Institute, points out “Many people want to close the deal, get the agreement signed and move onto the next prospect.

“The reality of course is franchising is a long term, highly interdependent business relationship, and picking quality partners is critical.”

One way to improve the process – and the end result – is to ensure all stakeholder groups are involved in the recruitment process. Because recruiting franchisees is a classic case of balancing different needs and priorities – depending on the executive role, says Nathan. There are growth targets to meet, franchisee learning needs and expectations to understand and the legal stages to be completed.

So bring the franchise development manager, the franchise trainer, the operations manager and franchise admin in to the process for a rounded approach.

It’s also worth dedicating a separate website to recruiting franchisees – this shows franchise buyers the value the brand puts on its recruitment, and provides a platform for prospective franchisees to get the answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Nathan says “Quality candidates are unlikely to contact a franchisor if they haven’t been provided with enough information, or if the franchisor is using old school sales tactics to purposely withhold information in the hope of enticing candidates to call.”

How to lead effectively

Now, you’ve got your band of new franchisees on board. How do you keep them engaged and provide good leadership?

Nathan says “It goes without saying that franchisees are not employees. Yet a surprising number of franchisor executives communicate as though their franchisees were in some way beholden to them.”

Nathan points out that franchisees will adopt a ‘resist and fight’ attitude if they believe their franchisor is trying to dominate them. And this only creates an culture of negativity and distraction.

“Franchisors need to lead through influence, not through command and control techniques,” he says.

So how do you lead with credibility?

First up, he suggests, practice the three principles of credible leadership.

“Be honest and transparent in your dealings, sharing the why, what, when and how of all important decisions.

“Be competent, ensuring your decisions are based on good information and executed professionally.

“Be caring, ensuring franchisees understand you always have their best interests in mind.”

The Franchise Relationship Institute’s research findings on how to effectively recruit, support and lead franchisees will be shared at a Franchisor Excellence Masterclass launching on 21 and 22 February in Perth through the FCA WA chapter.

The program has previously only been available in the US, says Nathan.