Working with Buyers in Today’s Market

Working with Buyers in Today’s Market

With all of the electronic devices available today, actual in-person contact is limited. Instead, conversations are done via email, smart phones, texting, etc. I actually heard of a deal made where the business broker met the buyer personally for the first time at the closing. Listings are placed on the various listing web sites. Potential buyers view the listings on these sites and then email the business brokers regarding the listings that interest them. The broker then emails the prospect a confidentiality agreement with a letter explaining the next step. The letter basically says that the broker needs a signature on the agreement before any further information will be supplied.

Generally, all the prospect really wants to see is the books and records and/or see the business. This is, of course, before he or she has been qualified, met with the broker or – what’s more important than anything – even seen the business. It has always been my theory that the sale is made when the tire hits the curb. All things being equal, appearance and location of the business are the crucial aspects in whether the prospect wants to go the next step. An attractive, well-located business can go a long way in closing the deal.

Here are some ideas that might help turn more listings into closings:

1. Make sure that your phone number is included in your ad on the various web sites that you advertise with.
If enough business brokers tell the listing sites what they want rather than allow the listing sites to tell the brokers what they want, the listing sites will have to listen. The ad should say: “For more information call (and then your phone number).” Will your buyer activity go down?  Maybe, but those who do call will likely be a lot more serious.

2. Make sure you have an agent manning the phone so that the buyer does not have to just leave a message.
Even if you don’t get a phone number in the ad, someone should be available to respond to the email promptly. It should be as personal as possible. You want the prospect to realize that it is a personal response and not a form letter requiring them to fill out a form or sign something. The personal touch works!

3. Remember, you want to make it easy for a prospect to reach you.
This step, combined with the first two, provides the personal touch that makes people want to deal with you. The following is how this all played out in “the olden days.” The prospect saw our ad in the newspaper (the business opportunity section), then picked up the phone and called us. We always had someone to answer the phone. The buyer asked (on the phone) the same things they ask in their emails today. However, the difference is that on the phone you can get a feel for the buyer, you can answer questions, you can tell them about other opportunities you can show them, etc. You can then set up a personal meeting.

4. One thing to always keep in your mind is: don’t think, for a minute, that you are the only business broker they are emailing.
You need to set yourself and your firm apart from all of the others. Do you have something you can email them on the business buying process, how to buy a business, and something about why they should deal with your firm? If not – get it. You will only get one shot at that buyer – make it unique and impress the prospect enough to want to use your firm.

As always, we like to hear your thoughts. How have you implemented the ideas above? What has worked for you?

Exciting News: A New Business Brokerage Website Is on the Horizon! Keep an Eye Out for Updates.