Steve White, president and COO of PuroClean.

Steve White said he’s driven more change and growth through field support than through any other means, and at emergency restoration service franchise PuroClean it’s especially important to the success of national accounts.

“Determine what your field support staff-to-franchisee ratio is and then make a plan and budget to build out your support team,” said White, president and COO, who offered advice for this month’s Living Large topic.

In addition to educating the field support team on how to analyze the financials, which White said is the most important skill, he noted success for field reps means focusing on their relationships with franchisees. “Great relationships lead to more meaningful change and greater value from your field support team. Make sure your field support team stays in close communication with each contact they are assigned to oversee. At PuroClean that means monthly as a minimum,” White said. “The better your relationship with franchisees is, the more honest and direct they will be with you.”

Franchisee peers are another valuable resource for the field support team, especially when introducing a new program or pushing for change. “Use those occasions when gentle peer pressure can be applied to move franchisees in the right direction,” he said.

When it comes to common missteps young franchise brands make in establishing field support, White said it’s important that reps don’t feel like they’re on an island. “We encourage them to connect with one another, so they can share observations from the field,” he explained. “When the field support team connects, they can also gain feedback from each other that will help establish best practices for the franchise brand.”

Field reps must also strike a balance between compliance and consultation. “While they are the first line for compliance, the field support team also acts as consultants to franchise owners to help them establish a plan or develop a growth strategy to get to the next level,” said White. “Make sure they are focused on your brand, growth and overall profitability” to truly maximize their value to the brand and franchisees.

Living Large follows three emerging franchisors through a year’s worth of challenges. To offer expert advice on upcoming topics including human resources and using big data, check out the Franchise Times Insights group on LinkedIn.

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