Do you have to be a psychologist to be a good franchisor?

Moet je een goede psycholoog zijn om een goede franchisegever te zijn

Like all business leaders, franchisors need to have certain qualities, chief among them leadership, charisma and psychology.

“The psychology of the franchisor is a prerequisite for getting his troops on board,” asserts Emmanuelle Courtet, member of the College of Experts of the French Franchise Federation. The franchisor is the leader who represents the brand. As for the franchise contract, it’s above all a human relationship based on trust. Candidates for whom franchise development is a life project, in which they invest personal funds and commit themselves over the long term, have “a greater need for consideration and listening. Unlike an employee, they don’t receive a salary, but rather pay for a service. The franchisor must therefore take their comments into consideration, because the franchisee is not there to carry out orders, but to contribute to the development of the concept,” explains Emmanuelle Courtet.

According to Robert’s Dictionary, to be a psychologist means “to have an empirical knowledge of the feelings and reactions of others”, i.e. to be someone who understands others spontaneously. By taking into account their mindset, operating methods, length of time in the network and personal environment. For Laurence Pottier-Caudron, founding president of the brand Temporis employment and temping agencies (175 branches), you have to “love people, listen to them, try to be useful to them, help them find their way and be empathetic, otherwise it’s complicated to be a franchisor. If you don’t take people into account, any business model is not sustainable”.

Fortunately, franchisors can learn to work on this psychological side. Like Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger, who admitted in a New York Times article that he’d had to fight impatience and overreaction. “Overall, I’ve learned to be more patient. [I’ve learned to listen better and to manage my reaction time better. In other words, I try not to react too strongly to what I’m told, because that’s an easy reaction.

The franchisor must give the franchisee the opportunity to express himself, and show that he is interested in him and what he has to say. As a general rule, involving franchisees in the company’s decisions through thematic committees and encouraging exchanges with them at conventions or meetings is essential to identify any tensions or unspoken ideas. “The more we multiply the moments of exchange, the more we take the temperature of the network and can anticipate potential conflicts,” explains Emmanuelle Courtet. “If the franchisor’s aim is to build a long-term business, it’s inconceivable not to have a minimum of psychology,” asserts Laurence Pottier-Caudron.

There are two critical situations in which the franchisor needs to be psychological: during the mutual selection phase, to make sure that the franchisor and the candidate have understood each other’s motivations and expectations. The franchisor needs to know how to listen to and understand the candidate to avoid recruitment errors. The same goes for conflict. “In this case, it’s particularly important to be a good psychologist, so you can talk things over and find solutions to defuse the conflict,” explains Emmanuelle Courtet.

However, Emmanuelle Vaillant, associate consultant with Franchise Management, qualifies this judgment: “A franchisor needs to be a fine psychologist, but not the only one. Above all, he or she needs to be charismatic, a leader and a visionary to drive the company forward. These are innate qualities that enable them to train head office teams and support franchisee growth”.

For her, while the franchisor is not in himself a fine psychologist, this is a quality he can delegate. “The franchisor can surround himself with people who will act as psychologists on his behalf, whether in development, so that they are able to identify the right profiles at the outset, or in network management”. As Emmanuelle Courtet confirms: “A network is not just about the founder. The network head can be embodied by other people who can act as facilitators”. It’s up to the brand to surround itself with the right people.

So, “if he’s not a psychologist by nature, if he doesn’t listen to others and just does what he wants without trying to understand them, he’ll need to surround himself with complementary people to temper his character”, she continues. But while this is possible in large networks, which can rely on solid support teams, young, up-and-coming networks can only rely on the franchisor, who will have to show a certain amount of psychology.

Discover our franchises