In Lisbon, Portugal, a shop sells a type of small custard pie created in ancient times at a monastery across the street. Owners and employees have kept the recipe secret since the 19th century. And although bakeries all over the country try to replicate the little pie, theirs just don’t taste the same. Franchise training programs are just like this!
According to Entrepreneur, franchising consists of distributing products through a network of franchisees. The franchisor owns the trademark and the way the business works.
For instance, the franchisor determines the sales method, the marketing system, and the logistics process. Then, franchisees pay for the right to operate the same way under the franchisor’s trademark.
But if you try to replicate a franchisor’s business without proper training, you’ll get yourself into a giant trap. Not only will you take ages to set up the business and reach the desired profit level, but you’ll also risk your own hard-earned money.
Don’t want this to be you and your business? Keep reading.
Types of franchise training programs
Depending on where someone is on their journey to becoming a successful franchisee, training takes different flavors.
Whether online or in-person, operational training explores the basics of operating the franchise. These are some examples of what franchisees learn during operational training:
- Franchise goals
- Brand values
- Style of customer service
- Product positioning
- Product handling
- Hiring policies
- Staff management
- Training plans
- Accounting practices
- Sales reporting procedures
- POS and other IT systems
For instance, during operational training, you can simulate sales calls or analyze real, previously recorded ones.
This type of training happens in person at the franchising headquarters for a few days. Franchisees get to know the facilities and take the opportunity to observe how the business works in loco.
Our advice is to offer hands-on training after operational training. This way, the hands-on training will be more productive. Franchisees will ask more questions and apply their knowledge of your business by interacting with the actual product, real equipment, and staff. And that’s how they’ll consolidate what they learned during operational training.
This time, the training site is the franchised store, and again, training is in person. The headquarters send a mentor to support the franchisee with setting up and opening the new franchise location.
In the process, the franchisee uses their knowledge of the business, product, equipment, systems, and procedures. This will develop their new skills even further.
Also, on-site training consists of training staff to perform different roles. Some franchisees anticipate this step by taking the store manager with them for hands-on training.
Franchise training doesn’t end with on-site training! It keeps going—online or in-person—with the intent of keeping franchisees updated on:
- Fresh tips and tricks to uplift the business
- Updated franchise goals, policies, procedures, and systems
- New products under development
- Upcoming marketing campaigns
What franchise training includes
A fundamental part of setting up a profitable franchise is an effective training program. But what does such a program include?
Here are a few examples of topics to cover by franchise training:
Do you know a store that changed owners, kept selling the same kind of product, yet lost clientele? The latter owners likely created a weaker brand.
A poorly branded company may as well not exist. It translates to yet another product of the same type cluttering the market. That’s why it’s so important to train franchisees on what the franchised brand is about.
Brand training involves teaching why the brand matters—or about the brand’s unique selling proposition. Your franchisees will soak the brand up, engage with it, and inspire their staff to breathe the brand too.
You see, brand training favors not only franchisees but also store managers, store assistants, and sales reps. When they’re bought into the brand, they tend to be prouder of belonging to your franchising business and stay longer.
At the end of the day, customers will enjoy buying from franchised stores, recommend the experience, and repeat it. In other words, brand training fertilizes the soil from which you’ll reap profit later on.
Unless you only license your brand to top-notch sales experts, you’ll need to train franchisees to sell your product. Selling a product in a single store is one thing. It’s a totally different game to do it consistently across many locations!
You know what works best for your product. You tested your sales system and techniques in your first store and proved they bring results.
The next step is to teach your franchisees to do the same in their stores. And we recommend doing that while they go through your franchise training program. Align them with your strategy of:
- Communicating with customers
- Creating sales opportunities
- Negotiating to maximize profit margins
- Closing sales at a superior win rate
As a result, you’ll achieve an average deal size that’ll grow consistently over time for the total of franchised stores. And you’ll maximize the profit you’ll get from royalties.
This is when the topics that franchise training programs include start to entangle seriously. Both product training and sales training are about communication. And both product training and brand training are about your product.
You can easily conclude that product training means two things:
- Syncing franchisees and their staff about the features of your product and how it works
- Making them confident about communicating the product’s value to customers (from customers’ point of view)
Only effective and enthusiastic communication builds trust in customers. It puts them in a comfortable place to choose your brand over others.
Plus, consistent product communication contributes to standardizing customer service across franchised stores. This means getting one step closer to offering the same customer experience regardless of location.
On the other hand, you’ll prepare sales personnel to:
- Promptly and accurately answer customers’ questions about your product
- Overcome customer objections on the spot
- Have more engaging conversations with customers
It’s highly unlikely—if not utopic—that your franchising business won’t have competitors. And modern marketing targets multiple communication channels. That’s why you can’t run away from a foolproof marketing methodology.
You also can’t overlook teaching your franchisees your tried-and-tested marketing process and techniques. For instance, explain to them how to plan and run social media campaigns and use PR to spread your brand awareness.
As a consequence, franchisees will market your product consistently in the various stores. And you’ll clone the competitive advantage of your first store in the entire franchise network.
All in all, adding marketing training to your franchise training program will do a lot for your business, including:
- Engaging customers
- Generating demand
- Retaining customers
- Growing loyal customers
- Reaching profit goals
Marketing training will ensure that, by the end of the franchise training program, franchisees will know:
- What your marketing plan for the brand looks like
- How they’ll be involved in implementing it
- The freedom they have to plan and execute customized actions in their franchised stores
Remember that franchisees usually better understand the local context of a region or state. They’ll notice changes in consumer habits faster and more easily than you. But with effective marketing training, you’ll equip them to communicate about your product on the best channels with the most fruitful strategy.
Soft skills training
The centerpiece of teaching soft skills to franchisees and their staff is customer experience. How can they connect with customers in a way that feels natural and trustworthy?
The answer lies in shaping their behavior and attitude, and soft skills training is priceless in that department. It teaches franchise team members to work together, communicate with customers, and solve problems.
Bottom line: you want to guarantee that the customer experience is similar in all franchised stores. Why? Because customer experience is a part of your brand. And although franchisees and their personnel aren’t your brand, they represent it.
For instance, if you’re franchising a luxury brand, your customers want to have the same high-end experience whether they’re buying in Paris or New York. They want to feel the same energy and have the same personalized customer service with fine attention to their needs and preferences.
Get your franchisees and their teams ready to listen to customers and read their social cues. That’s how they’ll understand customers’ tastes and live up to customers’ expectations.
Additionally, teach your franchisees to manage their teams and resolve conflicts that might arise. This all adds up to an outstanding, consistent customer experience.
Why develop a franchise training program?
These are the reasons why your franchising business is more likely to thrive with franchise training:
- Competition is fierce. Franchisees have a lot of franchising businesses to choose from. But fortunately, franchise training programs appeal to franchisees and set them up to make a profit.
- Reputation and trust are irreplaceable. And franchise training is their cornerstone. It’ll teach franchisees to replicate the experience your customers expect from your brand. This includes customer service and the product itself, and leads customers to buy from you wherever they are.
- Consistency is key to franchising. It’s the indispensable ingredient of a thriving franchising business model. And an effective franchise training program unifies customer experience across locations.
- Predictability is attractive to customers. A consistently trained franchise network with standardized, impeccable customer service is reassuring and risk-free for customers. It conveys that buying at one franchised store will be as good as it was at another. And the promise of a pleasing experience invites customers to buy from your franchisees.
- Financial sustainability drives growth. For all the reasons above, franchise training programs prepare franchisees to make money year after year. Isn’t that all you wish for your franchising? We bet it is! After all, you got into franchising to grow your business.
4 tips for creating an effective franchise training program
Our best set of recommendations for franchise training program design looks like this:
1. Customize the program
Your franchise training must target your products and buyer personas perfectly. That’s because most operational knowledge is exclusive to each franchising business. And even if you accept former franchisees of other businesses, they’ll need to take your franchise training program.
For instance, you might use the same POS system as many other companies if you bought it off the shelf. But your product portfolio and market positioning are unique to your business.
Some other aspects might vary between franchise locations—for instance, the supply chain and the marketing strategy. This emphasizes the importance of customizing franchise training programs.
2. Focus on standardized customer satisfaction
Listen, your current customers already trust your brand. But unless you deliver a well-designed franchise training program, they might not feel that confidence in some franchised stores. Consequently, they might stop buying your products, and your business model might fail.
To mitigate that risk, train franchisees to live up to what customers expect of your brand. For instance, teach them your way of:
- Styling the store’s interior
- Displaying products
- Communicating with customers
3. Keep all parties in mind
Franchise training programs meet the requirements of two major roles.
- Franchisors—who need to get franchisees on the same page about customer experience and prepare them to deliver it
- Franchisees—who need to implement operations to turn that customer experience into reality, making both customers and the franchisor happy
In addition, franchisors need to set franchisees up to train their staff, such as store managers, store assistants, and sales reps.
4. Measure the program’s effectiveness
The thing is: you can’t improve based on hunches—you need data to back up changes to your franchise training. But you can have that data!
Create learning assessments to evaluate the information your franchisees and their staff retained and the skills they built during the franchise training program. Then you’ll be able to figure out how ready they are to replicate the expected customer experience.
Truthfully, there’s no way you can have a rock-solid franchising business without effective franchise training.
Your entire franchise network must consistently grow in sales. Profit-wise, it must also be sustainable.
And teaching a standardized customer experience to franchisees pushes in that direction and is a win-win situation. Franchisors beat the competition and maintain customers’ trust, whereas franchisees make money.
Get in touch with us to get started with franchise training programs!