We and others have pointed out the similarities between training and marketing. Both involve communicating a message to a select audience. Both provide helpful information to the audience members. Both have the end goal of persuading audience members to take a certain course of action as a result of the communication.
In the case of marketing, we want that consumer to buy our product, or at least get in touch to learn more. In training, we want to change on-the-job behavior. We want our audience to buy into an idea or perform a particular task in a certain way.
Most importantly, both require an in-depth understanding of that audience. Without it, none of the other things will happen. We won’t get our message across. They won’t change behaviors or take the desired action.
Those of us who design and build training courses absolutely must create for the user. What do they want in a training program? Every audience is different.
What Makes Franchisees Different From Possibly Any Other Training Audience?
Whereas other training audiences are specialists in one business function or another (e.g. operations, sales, etc.) franchisees are unique. They need to be business generalists with an entrepreneurial fire. They may come to your franchise from all different backgrounds. And this is why, as a franchisor, you have The System. You may have a different name for it, but it’s the detailed program that covers every single thing a franchisee needs to know about the brand and how to open and run a location.
Franchisees are different because
- They have to learn a greater breadth of information, from marketing to operations to finance. Even seasoned franchisees with experience in these areas need to learn them within the context of your brand.
- The stakes are high. They’ve invested a good sum of money to buy into the franchise. While this drives motivation, it can also make a franchisee more likely to stray from the system if he or she hasn’t learned it well and needs to solve a problem.
What do franchisees want in a training program?
- Accessible & Repeatable - In-person training programs at the company headquarters or at an existing store can be very powerful, but they’re packed with information. If a new franchisee needs to review a topic, how easily is that done?
- Searchable - If after-training support materials are made available, how quickly can they be searched to find a specific topic of interest?
- Provides ongoing operations and marketing support - Training and support should continue beyond initial sessions to make sure each franchisee is up-to-date with the latest best practices and ideas. While a franchisee may hire additional managers to help run his or her business, they still will lack resources to craft creative marketing campaigns. They look to the franchisor to provide these on a regular, timely basis.
- Provides support for training employees, including managers - As a new franchisee begins to build a team, he or she will need support from the franchisor to adequately onboard those people and get them up to speed quickly. Employees of the franchisee are where brand experiences are delivered (or not) so it’s critical they be trained well.
- Ongoing - One of the most important factors for franchisee training is that it remain ongoing. Information changes constantly and details are difficult to remember. Ongoing training helps franchisees stay current and revisit important concepts.