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When we talk about how to build credibility with your franchisees, I can’t help but remember when I was a 23-year-old Field Coach, the boss’s daughter with a blonde bob, and I was going to legacy franchisees explaining how I could help them run their businesses better.
Oh, and I was wearing a Scooby-Doo hat.
Okay okay, that hat came later, after I had won the franchisees’ over. But still, it paints a pretty good picture.
My time as a young Field Coach gave me a lot of experience in building trust and credibility with franchisees. I learned the value of addressing the elephant in the room, working extremely hard, and being clear on what I brought to the table.
Today, on our Field Coach Roundtables, we hear these sentiments echoed by many of the Field Coaches – especially those who are younger or newer in the Field Coaching space.
It’s difficult to build credibility with your franchisees as a new or young Field Coach, especially with top-performing or legacy franchisees. But the tips that I’ll be sharing below will make the process a lot easier, and more successful.
Let’s start with getting your mindset straight as a Field Coach. Legacy or top-performing franchisees may look at you in your new role and think “They don’t have my experience running this business, what can they really do to help me?”
Well here’s the thing — You don’t have to have the exact same experiences to be helpful as a coach.
When you learn from someone based on them having the same experiences, that’s more of a mentor. A mentor is someone who has done things that you want to learn from and you ask them for insights based on that experience.
But when working with a coach, you’re learning from their skills as a coach. They may help you with goal-setting, accountability, expanding your mindset, equipping you with new tools or resources, etc.
This is not to say that a franchisee won’t learn from a Field Coach’s past experiences, they most certainly will in some capacity, but it’s a good reminder that a coach is not the same thing as a mentor.
Want to build credibility with your franchisees right away?
Address right off the bat that you won’t know everything about their business. Even before they question you, it’s okay to be honest and say that you won’t be the expert when it comes to their specific business.
As a disclaimer: My above advice is still true, but Field Coaches should always be put through 2 weeks of the training that franchisees also go through to ensure they understand what the franchisee’s experience is like running the business.
Once you’ve addressed that you’re not going to pretend you know more than the franchisee about their own business, you can be clear on how you CAN help them make an impact on their business. Even if they’re already a top performer.
Explain your background, what you bring to the table, and how your coaching could help them:
Through all of this, be vulnerable and open. Don’t fall into the trap of taking an authoritative approach or becoming the compliance police.
You don’t need to take an aggressive approach to gain respect — being clear on your value to them and open to bonding will do much more for your relationship.
SHOW franchisees that you’re not just there to send them some spreadsheets.
Show franchisees that you’re willing to be a hard worker if they are, and meet them where they’re at — help stock shelves, meet at the times that work for them, and by showing them your work ethic can match theirs, your credibility will grow.
Within this step is also a crucial mini step which is to have boundaries and set clear expectations. Be clear that you are a partner who is here to support them, not do the work for them. If boundaries get pushed, go back to the expectations you set and walk through them again.
A really great way to build credibility with your franchisees as a Field Coach is to get them some quick wins within a short period of time of starting your work together.
If legacy franchisees see how you immediately made a difference, even a small one, their trust in your value will grow rapidly.
A few good wins to look for are:
a) If they don’t have a goal-setting structure that they use, create one for them. Seeing their goals organized and action steps mapped out in a system they didn’t have before is a great quick win.
b) Analyze their profit and loss statement, and other franchisees’ statements, and see if there is an easy way for them to save or make some extra money each month. This is another very tangible win that can be shown quickly.
When you take these steps as a newer Field Coach working with legacy or top-performing franchisees, you’ll be better prepared to build credibility and trust to develop a strong coaching relationship.
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Have more questions about how to best support and coach your franchisees? We discuss topics just like these in the weekly AC Roundtables — collaborative virtual calls where peers learn from each other and problem-solve together.
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