27 Mar Advice from Veteran Brokers (Part 1 of 3)
“The following question was asked some years ago of quite a few successful business brokers – here are their responses. They were originally published in The Business Broker when it was a print publication. Subsequently, it was included in Wit & Wisdom of Business Brokerage edited by Connie Womack, an well-known industry veteran, now retired. The book is published by Business Brokerage Press (BBP). For information visit BBP online.
If you were to give one bit of advice to someone entering business brokerage, what would you tell them?
Business brokerage is a classic example of a business that is customer-service intensive, if it is to be a successful rewarding activity. New entrants should be “service dynamo’s” by nature, or they should find something else to do. And, in order to provide valuable services, they must have the skill and knowledge needed.
Take stock of your skills and what you like to do to see how you match up with business brokering; e.g., enjoy sales, like meeting new people, enjoy helping people, can handle rejection, self motivated, etc.
Get face to face with owners. Learn about their business and build a rapport. Do not try to use a mass market approach to list businesses.
Join an industry association, spend some money on courses, seminars, etc., and get out there now and listen – listen – listen to other brokers, owners, accountants – whoever will talk to you.
Never, never, never give up! It worked for Winston Churchill and it will work for you. Also get a major dose of “education” prior to entering business brokerage.
Entering . . . You need passion, commitment, not a part-time job. It is a way of thinking. Learn the basics, fundamentals and focus on listings. Attend association conferences and use all the resources available to build a personal library.
Plan to prospect proactively every day, setting precise goals for contact. Prospecting will become a habit that will serve you well as you progress in business brokerage.
Get listings; if you do not list you will not last.
Truly caring about your clients and customers makes this business professionally rewarding and contributes to success.
Tell the beginner to learn the business by selling small or main street businesses first, those businesses that sell for less than around $100,000. The greatest teacher in the business is to make mistakes. The more mistakes one makes the quicker one learns. If a beginner is involved in several small transactions mistakes will cause some to fail, but not all will fail. Success with some of the transactions is quite likely. With this technique, beginners can still learn from their mistakes and still make some money.
Anyone considering our profession may wish to ask of him or herself: What are my strengths and weaknesses? Am I service-oriented? Am I thick-skinned enough to face a lot of rejection and still maintain a positive attitude? Will my pride and personality allow me to cold-call on total strangers who really don’t want to see me?
If starting a new office, is my cash liquidity sufficient to cover personal living expenses plus the expense of organizing and maintaining a new business until the venture is self sustaining? Remember, landlords, phone companies, advertising media, direct mailings, licensing (in some states), trade association membership, continuing professional education, auto expense and other out of pocket costs prior to securing salable listings eat a hole in your net worth. Ultimately, listings will sell and you will be paid; however, I have yet to see anyone’s pro-forma or business plan work out exactly as written.
Wear a helmet and shoulder pads. Business brokerage is a full-contact, hard-hitting business/sport.
Business brokers need to like to help people and they need to have a little “cowboy” in them – in other words “they need to provide solutions” to buyer/seller problems using their learned and God-given talents. They need learned self-confidence so buyers/sellers feel confident dealing with the broker.