The unsung hero in the field of franchising

Understanding franchisees requires more than just mandatory visits and obligatory compliance checks. As many of us know, franchisors are often likened to parents and we all know being a parent doesn’t come with an operations manual. Fortunately, franchising is somewhat different and there are ways to upskill and train Franchise Field Consultants (FSCs) to be brilliant mediators between franchisor and franchisee, and thus really fulfill the role of being business advisors. We have witnessed countless positive relationship transformations between franchisors and franchisees by simply equipping the business advisors with the right tools to support franchisees. We cannot underestimate the pressure placed on FSC’s who require a greater dexterity in skills than most other employees. Some of these skills include:

 

  • Being an effective communicator: acting as the intermediary and source of information between head office and the franchisee.
  • Selling: selling the franchisee on new ideas or changes in the system which in itself is very challenging (especially if it involves a financial outlay).
  • Business consultant: advising on all aspects of business operations.
  • Financial advisor: equipped to interpret financial statements and advise on financial management.
  • Brand Custodian: share latest trends and motivate local area marketing activity and participation in national marketing efforts.
  • Systems Experts: knowledge of point of sale and accounting systems, and the ability to interpret reports and benchmark franchises against others with a similar profile.
  • Operations manager: full knowledge of day to day operations and the skill to bean on-site trainer.
  • Coach: provide emotional support and have “coach-like” conversations with franchisees to build trust, rapport and true engagement.

The FSC needs to be well versed in the business model and also have the ability to build a strong rapport with franchisees. They also need to express confidence in the franchisor’s actions in order to be able to sell new ideas to the franchisee, often painstakingly justifying to franchisees why they are paying management service fees. As FSCs often lack confidence in themselves as people as well as in their technical skills, the upskilling of FSCs needs to include critical financial and business skills, but this must also extend to self-mastery and coaching skills.
Ultimately, investing in FSCs builds not only the business advisor but also the franchisee, and thus has a positive ripple effect on the entire organisation.

The Fired Up Franchise Support Programme starts on the 12th of May

FASA Franchise Association South Africa
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