What do marriage and top-notch franchise recruitment have in common?

There is a saying among old psychologists, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

Assuming this is at least somewhat true, we took the top 10 characteristics that appear to create a happy marriage and examined how these same traits create a top-notch franchise recruiter.  

Our franchising colleagues Steve Olson and Rebecca Monet recently completed an in-depth Masters of Franchise Sales study about what separates top-notch franchisee recruiters and everyone else in the field.

We spotlighted their findings in our last blog, titled “Who makes a great franchisee recruiter?”

One of the amazing “I never saw that coming” takeaways was that 40 out of 41 respondents designated as “top franchise salespeople in the country” were married. We thought this warranted highlighting, analysis and deeper understanding on its own.

So here are 10 characteristics shared by the happily married and stellar franchise recruiters:

1. A calm demeanour

In a successful marriage, spouses aren’t given to quick bursts of anger. In franchise recruitment, that translates into someone with a cool head for problem-solving. When your recruiter doesn’t hear the answer they want, you don’t want someone prone to quickly dismissing the franchise candidate because they didn’t hear what they wanted to hear. Mediocre recruiters have a nasty habit of making the franchise candidate wrong and following their own sales agenda.

2. Friendly in the face of disagreement

A great franchisee recruiter likes the candidate more than they like the close or the commission. They want the candidate to win and they expect a few bumps in the road, which is why they cement a trusting relationship first. That puts them in a position to problem-solve in the face of disagreement or conflict.

For instance, a candidate might not get the territory or location they want or that they’re familiar with, therefore they want to exit the deal.

That doesn’t throw a skilled recruiter, who may be able to find a statistically similar market that will still deliver results with a high degree of probability.

3. Masterful sharing

Happy spouses are adept at creating togetherness or “sharing a moment.” In franchisee recruitment, many of the reasons franchise candidates kill deals are often withheld from the franchisee recruiter, meaning the recruiter is never given the opportunity to problem-solve.  

A masterful recruiter knows how to get the candidate to share everything — the good, the bad, the indifferent. They sort out the feedback and help the candidate make sense of it, heading off potential issues that could surface later in the process.

4. A sense of gratitude

Masterful recruiters understand that franchise candidates don’t want the business, they want problems solved, goals achieved and prayers answered. What is a more worthwhile and noble calling than to help others achieve their dreams? Successful recruiters think, “I have the greatest job in world! I’m listening to people who are sharing what they want their lives and careers to look like, and I’m giving it to them. What could be better than that? Who wouldn’t be thankful to have that job?

In contrast, less successful recruiters seem to live and die with every deal and exist in a constant state of frustration and tension.

5. Acceptance

If you start treating your spouse with contempt and derision every time something goes wrong or they tell you something you don’t want to hear, your marriage is going to start to unravel.

The same is true in the recruiter-candidate relationship. Unskilled recruiters often unknowingly practice contempt. They quickly judge, labelling candidates as hot, tyre-kickers or a waste of time.

Successful recruiters don’t have that head noise. Largely, their opinion of the candidate isn’t tied to an outcome. They give candidates the experience that they are accepted and appreciated whether or not they join the franchise.  

6. Kindness

Every franchise recruiter will eventually face rejection, but skilled recruiters don’t exhibit their frustration to the franchise candidate. They offer kindness even when they don’t feel like it.

Some conversations take place in the evenings and at weekends and are not always convenient for the recruiter, but they can always make it sound like the timing is perfect. They put the candidate and franchisor first and themselves last.

Sadly, kindness in today’s society has become a lost art.

7. Emotional maturity

When a franchise candidate says no to a peak-performing franchise recruiter, the recruiter’s world doesn’t just end. Top recruiters go right to the next call. Marginal recruiters call it quits for the day, go to their local watering hole and cry into their adult beverage of choice.

8. Appropriate boundaries

If you’ve been married for any length of time, you already know: there are certain places you just don’t go, such as mother-in-law jokes, male pattern baldness, or new-found facial wrinkles or back fat.

You know what happens when you step outside the lines.

Top recruiters can ask questions and go places an unskilled recruiter can’t.

A skilled recruiter can ask a question like, “I hear your concerns, but what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” and then, “So why aren’t you doing that?”

That line of questioning, in a firmly established recruiter-candidate relationship, can often lead to a candidate having an ‘Aha!’ moment and taking an action they would not have otherwise.

9. Doing the right thing

A skilled recruiter walks away from a deal that shouldn’t get done, regardless of the commission or the sales quota.

They’re always transparent. They don’t sugar-coat the business. They make certain candidates go into business with their eyes open.

Weaker recruiters withhold information or emphasise what they believe to be the positives of a concept to try to sell the deal.  Their commission check is more important to them than the candidates’ long-term financial well-being.

10. Shared joy

When a new franchisee executes a franchise agreement, top notch recruiters celebrate their decision with them. They share a victory.  

Underperforming recruiters celebrate their personal accomplishment and commission cheque.  

Top notch recruiters have a network of friends called franchisees all over the country, many of which would come running if the franchisee recruiter was ever in personal need.  

Underperforming recruiters relate to franchisees as notches in their belts and the relationship ends after the transaction happens.

We’re not suggesting you have to be blissfully married to be a great franchisee recruiter. The key takeaway is that your bottom line results are tied to how you view people and the consistent patterns you exhibit as you interact with others.

A ruthless person does not put away his daggers at 5 o’clock; he is likely to be just as ruthless with cashiers, servers and his own family.

Likewise, those possessing honour and integrity will almost always exhibit those characteristics around the clock.

  • Steve Olson and Rebecca Monet at www.olsonandassociates.com.spearheaded the research behind these conclusions and shared the results with Franchise Performance Group.