By Katrina Vo posted February 19, 2021

Best Practice Insights: 11 Ways to Improve Field Visits

It's been nearly 10 years since our Founder, Greg Nathan, published one of his popular Healthy Franchise Relationships Tips on 11 Ways for Improving Field Visits. Clients still regularly mention how helpful this particular Tip has been, so we thought we'd share it below. While COVID may have changed the nature of field visits, these 11 strategies are still as relevant as ever. Here they are...

# 1: Create a joint agenda. Work up a joint agenda with franchisees prior to the visit. Once the agenda is agreed don’t deviate from these topics. If they weren’t important, you or the franchisee would not have raised them.

# 2: Have a clear purpose for every visit. Ask yourself “If the visit were to go as well as it reasonably could, what would be achieved?” Review this in your mind just before you start each visit.

# 3: Stay alert. Have your wits about you and give people your complete attention during the first few minutes of your visit. You don’t know what has been going on in the business prior to your arrival, so check before raising any compliance issues.

# 4: Know the line between friends and friendly. Be friendly but not friends with franchisees. If you decide to socialise, for instance having a meal together, do this with a business purpose in mind. You are there to add value to the franchisee’s business, not for any other reason.

# 5: Arrive at decisions together, especially when analysing financial data. While you may have you own understanding, you’ll get better results by allowing franchisees to first contribute their thoughts. This demonstrates respect and gets buy-in to action.

# 6: Be open with how you'll use their data. Make it clear to franchisees that financial data is being collected and analysed for the purpose of improving their profit, otherwise, they can become defensive about how you intend to use their business information.

# 7: Define compliance. Explain compliance checks in terms of brand protection. Remind franchisees how much has been invested in building the reputation of the brand and how quickly this can be undermined to everyone’s detriment, including theirs.

# 8: Stay solution-focused. Keep discussions constructive by asking solution-focused “What” questions, for instance, “What would be a good outcome? What can I do to help?” This is an effective way to prevent unnecessary negativity.

# 9: Finish visits on a positive note. Remember the tone of your next visit will recommence from where this visit ended. If the visit has been challenging, acknowledge this and restate your commitment to the franchisee’s success.

# 10: Look after yourself and keep your energy high. The positive energy you give out, (which is a product of how you are feeling), will have more bearing on the effectiveness of your visits than any other single factor.

# 11: How can I be of use to you? Finally, always ask the magic question, “What could I do to make my next visit more useful for you?” This demonstrates your care for the franchisee and creates a learning opportunity on how to continually improve your performance If you found these useful and want more great techniques and strategies to improve your field visits check out our Field Manager Bootcamps.

Franchising Fact: How COVID is impacting on franchisee balance and mental health?

To answer this question we turned to our in-house number cruncher, Darian Hargreaves, who has been analysing thousands of responses to our ACE Franchisee Satisfaction Survey. It turns out that franchisees are actually experiencing greater balance with their work and personal life. But there's more to this story because they are also feeling more hassled and stressed. This indicates that while franchisees may be spending more time with their families, financial and other pressures are impacting negatively on their mental health. Keep this in mind when you are interacting with your franchisees.

By the way, many leading franchisors find our ACE Franchisee Satisfaction Survey is a useful and effective method to stay on top of how their franchisees are feeling in a number of important areas. To discuss how many leading franchise networks take advantage of this service, contact us today.

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