Not all members of our team were excited about the rollout of our new technology platform. Here’s how we overcame resistance and got our reluctant non-tech franchisees on board with our tech overhaul.
In recent years, we have seen technology transform how the real estate industry operates. With a steady influx of advancements designed to help us streamline our systems and digitise our processes, there is increasing opportunity to expand our business while simultaneously improving the connection we have with our customers. What we have also seen, across a variety of industries, is that those who fail to adapt to these developments lose their competitive edge, and can easily find themselves left behind.
Often those who don’t feel comfortable with technology can be the ones who resist its introduction into a business, concerned that the new technological additions will disrupt the day-to-day business operations, and unfortunately, this is usually to their own detriment.
With the recent overhaul of our entire technological platform, we were able to successfully shift our franchisee’s focal point so that they could see the benefits that our new technology would bring. To achieve this, we employed these three simple strategies.
Take it slow
Over the course of my career, I have led a variety of teams and groups through a myriad of organisational changes.
One of the key lessons I’ve learned, and one that still serves me today, is that different people adjust to change at different paces. When making a monumental change, it’s imperative that you give franchisees adequate time to prepare by taking them through a structured step-by-step process in an orderly fashion.
Moving too fast can be risky, and it increases the chances of errors occurring. When you are already faced with resistance, a bungle is certainly not going to help make your case and win the support of your franchisees. But by developing a clearly defined time frame and action plan for the changes to take place, you demonstrate forward thinking and foresight, and you also allow them ample time to warm up to the idea.
As with all major organisational changes, strong communication is crucial in order to achieve a positive outcome for all parties. Educating your franchisees on the many benefits of the proposed changes must be a top priority, but you should also ensure that communication flows both ways.
Allow your franchisees an open dialogue in which they can ask questions or raise any concerns. Not only is it beneficial in converting them to your cause, but it also offers a highly valuable insight into issues that might have been previously overlooked. Take all comments on board, and use them to improve and perfect the new platform.
If you want your franchisees to engage with your plans for the future, the easiest way to guarantee this is to include them in the planning process.
Prior to the commencement of any planning, it’s important to spend time consulting with your teams directly. Find out what they each believe is stopping them from stepping their business up to the next level, and seek their ideas and suggestions on what they think could help.
More often than not, new technology will organically present itself as the next logical step, and in my experience, when your tech-resistant franchisee comes to this realisation on their own, they’ll be far more likely to appreciate the many benefits that technology will bring to their business as a whole.
Anna Thomas is the COO at Stockdale & Leggo. She is experienced in sales, customer service and training and recruitment and has served with a range of blue chip companies including Optus and Hewlett Packard.