Greg Nathan's best-selling book, The Franchisor's Guide to Improving Field Visits, includes a 6-step process for structuring visits with franchisees. Anyone who conducts coaching or business improvement meetings will find this book useful. One of the steps, Nitty-Gritty, is where meaningful conversations should take place. Here are 10 tips to improve the effectiveness of these conversations.
#1: Watch for signs of defensiveness, boredom or distraction. If necessary, slow down, speed up, or change your focus to be more in tune with the behavioural style of the franchisee.
#2: Create a safe psychological space. Adopt a calm, friendly and curious attitude, speak openly, minimise distractions and ensure the conversation can't be heard by customers or staff.
#3: Ensure you and the franchisee are both operating from the same information. Often differences of opinion are fueled by incomplete information or uncorroborated 'facts'.
#4: If a franchisee keeps bringing up a past issue, provide evidence you have understood by empathically summarising the key facts and feelings in your own words. Then respectfully request if it's okay to move on and focus on the future.
#5: When reviewing metrics, first ask for their views on what they see and why they think their business is trending in a particular way. Then if necessary, share your own interpretation.
#6: Before jumping in with advice on how to fix something, first ask if they want to hear your thoughts. Providing solutions to a problem you may not fully understand, or for which they may already have an answer, can come across as patronising.
#7: When addressing sensitive issues, remind them of your positive intentions, refer to relevant information or previous agreements, and ensure any requests are fair.
#8: Demonstrate respect by keeping your phone off and focusing fully on what is happening in the meeting. If you are expecting an important call, mention this beforehand.
#9: Where possible, link any requests for action to how these will contribute to business profitability, brand alignment and a better working relationship.
#10: Always keep in mind that visits and conversations should be conducted with a franchisee, and not to a franchisee.
If you found these tips useful, they are an example of the information you'll be exposed to in the Foundation Field Manager Bootcamp.
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