The whole system and nothing but the system

I was faced with a fairly unusual situation last week whilst training a group of new franchisees.

Let me give you the background.

I was running a three day sales and marketing course for a franchisor. The franchise, ostensibly, has a ‘person and a van’ format, but, nevertheless, like all businesses, there’s an element of marketing to get the ‘phones ringing and an element of face to face sales to win business.

As always we worked carefully with the franchisor to make sure we captured their sales and marketing system and, over the past three years or so, I think we’ve done a good job teaching the system to others. Because it’s not a massive amount of time to get people really good at marketing and sales, the course tends to be intensive. Nevertheless franchisees tell us that they get a lot from it and results have certainly gone up.

From our customer’s point of view the sales and marketing system is as much of the franchise as their product delivery processes. And they’re very good at explaining this to their new franchisees.

It came as a bit of a surprise, then, when I learned that one of the new franchisees had expressed a deep seated desire not to come on the sales and marketing part of the course!

It seemed very strange to me that someone would pay many thousands of pounds to learn how to do something and then decide that they didn’t want to learn how to make money from it. The situation got me thinking why this might be and I still haven’t come up with a satisfactory answer. It’s like learning how to become a dentist but only using the process for drilling teeth and not bothering with the numbing process because you can’t be bothered.

The franchisor, to their eternal credit, was very firm, making it plain the new franchisee had to take part, positively and fully, or he would not be allowed to trade.

And this is exactly the right line to take, for a whole number of reasons.

First of all, a franchise operation is a partnership – it’s the franchisor and the franchisee working together for their mutual benefit. A franchisee buys into the system and then applies it in a way that lets them achieve their goals – usually financial, but not always.

Secondly, and more importantly, when a franchisee buys into a system they buy the whole system… not the bits they like the look of or the bits they enjoy doing; but all of it. And if that means going out of their comfort zone to do it, well, so be it.

Remember: a franchisee will be successful to the extent that they apply the franchisor’s system. Deviation from the system means poorer results and that just cannot be allowed.

Please leave a comment - we all like them