The franchise relationship lasts well past the grand opening. It is essential to develop excellent franchise relations to ensure long standing success. When a franchisor establishes strong bonds with their franchisees, the franchise network will grow stronger, be more successful, and may even expand further than anticipated. Here are a few ways to help build and maintain positive franchise relations.
Establish Trust in the Franchise
When a franchisee chooses to join your franchise network, they do so with a belief in your business model. Many risk their future, their finances, and possibly the wellbeing of their family on the outcome of the franchise. With so much at stake, they want to trust that you, as the franchisor, care as much about their success as your own. If a franchisee believes that you have their back, then they'll have yours. It's important that you take steps to earn their trust.
Get Personal with Your Franchise Leads
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Establishing trust is usually based on honest and consistent communication. This goes beyond sending emails or general updates. Providing a personal touch to your franchisee relationship is integral to maintaining positive franchise relations. The communication starts with the first inquiry about opening a franchise and continues through the full life cycle of the location.
Showing a sincere interest in the life of your franchisee will have a significant impact. Quick phone calls to offer encouragement and inquire about their life is one way to achieve this. Making sure to meet with them personally during visits to their location or at annual conferences is another.
Outside of the visits and contact that you initiate, making sure that you or a member of your team is always available to your franchises helps to maintain a healthy relationship and establishes an expectation of mutually desired success. Royalty and financing-related contracts should be quickly and easily resolved. Phone calls should be answered and responded to instead of going to voicemail. Emails should be replied to within one business day. Scheduling in-person meetings should be encouraged and straightforward. All of theses tasks should be pre planned and handled by a field representative, or account manager that stays with this franchisee for the life of the relationship. This should all be laid out in the Franchise Operations.
When your franchises feel secure knowing that they have access to their most important resource — you — they will be able to focus more on meeting profitability goals and franchise expansion.
It is inevitable that problems will arise. When a franchise does have a problem and you meet to discuss the issue and find a resolution, having already established an honest and trusting relationship will go a long way to quickly getting to the bottom of and fixing the situation. With trust comes the belief that the franchisee only wants the best for their business and yours, so it's imperative to listen first before placing blame or making demands. Regardless of the issue severity, how your relationship weathers a storm can set the tone for calmer times.
Building and maintaining positive franchise relations is integral to the success of the franchise and your business model. The most important aspect of a positive relationship is a mutual level of trust between you and your franchisee. When you build your franchise network on a positive foundation of trust, anything built upon it will be stronger and more successful.