Greg Nathan's Franchise Relations Tip #10

How to Uncover What Makes Franchisees Tick

You have probably played a game called “Who Am I?” where you had to guess the identity of the person playing “It”. A typical conversation goes something like this:
“Are you female?”… “Are you famous?”… “Are you dead?”… “Have you been in a movie?”… and so on.

Even though you can usually ask up to 20 questions, (a lot for such a simple task), it is common to not discover the right answer.

The reason why most people perform poorly in this game is the same reason why franchisors frequently fail to understand how to motivate their franchisees.

Most of us are stuck in a rut

In the “Who Am I” game, you are only allowed to

ask “Yes or No” questions. Technically, these are known as closed questions. You would be surprised to know the extent to which most of us are stuck in a rut of using these every day.

Our psychologists at the Franchise Relationships Institute regularly train franchisor executives in how to efficiently gather relevant and important information from franchisees. Two situations where this is vital is in franchisee recruitment interviews and in performance coaching discussions. While most executives rate themselves highly as interviewers or coaches, when we observe them in action we find they persistently fall into the trap of asking closed questions.

The problem with a closed question is it results in a closed answer – usually one or just a few words. And then you are faced with the challenge of where to go next, which is usually onto another topic. For instance:

“Have you been happy with how the business is performing?”… “Did you enjoy the conference?”… “Will you be happy to comply with our operating standards?”

What the best coaches and interviewers do

The best interviewers and coaches use lots of open questions. For instance, if we were talking to each other right now instead of you reading this tip, I might ask you the following:

“So Katrina, tell me about one aspect of your work with franchisees that you would like to be better at and why?”

I am sure this open question would result in a lively and productive discussion. In fact, this is one of the questions I will be asking you if you participate in our next Profitable Partnerships Boot Camp.

There is an art and a science to having productive conversations when recruiting and coaching franchisees. Asking open questions is one of several important strategies that we will cover at the Boot Camp. Details in the following link.

I understand it is filling fast so I hope you can join us. You will find it a great investment in your and your company's future. And if you are in the CFE program you'll get credit for your participation.

Register for Profitable Partnerships Boot Camp! May 25 & 26 in Denver. Hope you can join us!

Greg Nathan
Managing Director
Franchise Relationships Institute

CFE LogoAttendees will earn 300 Education Credits towards completion of the
Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) accreditation or CFE re-certification
by attending this program.

Greg Nathan, Managing Director of Franchise Relationships Institute


Often described as the international thought-leader and expert on franchise relationships, no one understands the unique challenges and rewards inherent in the franchisee-franchisor relationship like Greg and his team of psychologists at Franchise Relationships Institute. They have spent the past 20 years researching the science of successful franchise relations.

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