How to say no to franchisees, and mean it

I don’t like to brag, but I am very good at saying no.  But…. There has been a glitch in my No skills over the last few weeks. I found I had taken on way more than I was comfortable with. And worse, I said yes to something I had no intention of doing! 

Shame on me.

Some things we just have to do and saying No isn’t an option. I’m not talking about those things. I’m talking about the requests that fall outside your job scope, or you don’t have the time to do, or its really not yours to do or what ever it is just can’t happen for whatever reason.

Saying yes when you want to say no leads to resentment. Whether it’s at work or in our personal lives. There are certain expectations in relationships and no one likes to disappoint. Being able to say no with out breaking rapport is an important skill in franchising.

How often do you have to tell a franchisee, No you can’t run that promotion, No you can’t have fee relief, No I won’t open your store for you…

It’s far worse to give people false hope or misleading information, than just rip the Band-Aid of with a respectful No.

No’s can be done effectively and  comfortably. It’s all in the intention and delivery.

So if like me your No needs a reboot, read on…

Express your gratitude

This sets the tone for a graceful conversation. It also recognises that for some asking for help is difficult. It can be helpful in keeping the lines of communication open. By coming to you, you know they have an issue or need help.

  • Thanks for thinking of me to help with this problem
  • It’s great to see you, thanks for stopping in.
  • It’s always good to chat.
  • I’m glad you have raised this. Thank you.

Say no

There is no wiggle room in saying no. Any ‘possibly or ‘some day’ or ‘if only’ and you’re on shaky ground. Saying maybe isn’t saying no. It’s just deferring the no. Paulo Coelho puts it perfectly, ‘don’t say maybe if you want to say no’.

  • I’m sorry I can’t help you.
  • I’m saying No.
  • I’ve  analysed  the information and it’s a no.
  • After careful consideration, the answer is no.

Tell them why

It can take courage to ask someone for help, so offering an honest explanation as to why you are saying no is a way to ensure the trust is protected in the franchise relationship. Most people are reasonable and will accept an explanation.

  • I’m working on a project that’s taking all my time.
  • Opening your store isn’t part of my job scope, nor is it the best use of my time.
  • The ad you want to run is not aligned to our brand standards.
  • At the moment you don’t meet the criteria to expand.

Offer an alternative

Depending on the reason for them seeking you out, you may be able to offer an alternative. A book to read, a website to visit, someone better positioned or skilled to help them, or the circumstances under which their request would be looked at again.

  • That is a question for Mary in marketing.
  • Have you read this blog post it covers a lot of what you’re asking
  • You might find this resource useful
  • The operations manual outline our standards on that
  • If you want me to reassess your request then you will need to do…

…And that’s it, stop there.

No’s get ugly when we try to justify, provide too much information, get argumentative or frustrated.

Stay respectful and calm. After all, no means no.