6 Ways to Navigate a Franchisor/Franchisee Conflict

Posted on August 25, 2014

franchisor franchisee relationship

If you’re a franchisor, you don’t want to lose your franchisees.

And if you’re a franchisee, you don’t want to give up on the franchisor or the brand.

How can these two reconcile?

6 Ways to Navigate a Franchisor/Franchisee Conflict 


Though I am no psychiatrist, I’ve collected tips from relationship experts. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when your dealing with a franchisee/franchisor conflict.


1.  Start with what you agree on: marketing the brand’s story.

franchisor/franchisee conflict

Though you may disagree on who you’re marketing to (national or local audience), or where you’re marketing (online, in stores, on TV), you can definitely agree on what your marketing: the brand’s product or service.

Your mission is to share this product or service together. Agree on this first. Then, start resolving your disagreements.


2. Know what the other wants.

In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie says,

The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

Disagreements usually start as a conflict of interests. Keep in mind what you want and what your franchisor/franchisee wants.

What does your franchisor or franchisee want?

Franchisors want multiple markets across the country, markets that expand their brand and grow their revenue. These multi-unit managers focus on macro-development: national advertising, regional growth, opening locations, closing others.

Franchisees, however, focus on local-operations. These store managers and owners want to beat local competition, maximize profits, and use the right advertising to reach the right people.

Keep these in mind when resolving your conflicts.


3. Respect the other’s unique (and necessary) perspective.


Just as franchisees and franchisors differ in purpose, both differ in perspective.

Franchisors are like professors: they’ve learned from their mistakes, from working, from doing. Now, they offer their expertise and guidance to franchisees. Because they have a plan, their perspective is visionary. 

Though franchisees learn from the franchisor, they are far from being students. Franchisees know their location. They have the “in” on local culture: when schools are back in, what’s trending in the city, who is willing to invest and who isn’t.

Both perspectives are necessary to profitably market the franchise. Without the wisdom of the franchisor, franchisees could make foreseeable mistakes. Likewise, without the inside knowledge of the franchisee, franchisors could not successfully execute local marketing campaigns.


4. Remember that both of you are important to the franchise.



This tip builds off the last: whether you’re a franchisor or franchisee, you are important to the growth and development of the franchise. 

Some franchisors treat their franchisees as a stern father to his children: discipline, authority, and regulation. With this kind of dialogue, franchisees can easily see themselves as unimportant.

5. Be inquisitive, not critical or condescending.

franchisor/franchisee conflict


Questions are at the heart of any good relationship, franchises being no different. Questions, however, can easily become stinging criticisms, or condescending remarks. “Why are you not performing well?” “Why are you not listening?” “What is your problem?”

As a rule of thumb, be inquisitive, not critical or condescending. In other words, ask questions to understand. Do not ask rhetorical questions that criticize.

Speaking about the negative power of criticism, Dale Carnegie says:

If you and I want to stir up a resentment tomorrow that may rankle across the decades and endure until death, just let us indulge in a little stinging criticism—no matter how certain we are that it is justified.

To be inquisitive is to start reconciling.


6. Share the brand message, don’t control it.

franchisor/franchisee conflict


In his book The Franchise Formula, Michael Meyer says:

The ability to control the message is everyone’s greatest desire, and most—if not all—other challenges stem from this one. Both the franchisor and the franchisee feel it is their right, and responsibility, to control the message.

What he means is simple: the franchisor spends big bucks to develop his brand. He doesn’t want a rogue franchisee to ruin that brand. Likewise, the franchisee has to advertise locally, offline and online. He doesn’t want his franchisor hindering his local marketing campaign with strict rules and regulations.

We must learn to share the brand, not control it.


How to Navigate these Problems with LocalMark

I hate salesy copy.

So I’m going to skip the fluff and get to the point.

LocalMark makes navigating franchisor/franchisee conflict easy by making communication easy. To learn more, check out its many features.


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