A Broker’s Road: Lead Generation – Finding Business Owners Looking to Sell

A Broker’s Road: Lead Generation – Finding Business Owners Looking to Sell

As I continue my young business brokerage journey, a big chunk of my time thus far has been dedicated to lead generation.  After all, a business broker needs businesses to sell!

We know there are business owners out there looking to sell.  And we know they’re not all finding a business broker to help them.  So how do we find them?  In an industry where confidentiality is a top priority, the word isn’t exactly out on who is looking to sell.

I’ve experimented with a few lead generation tactics so far.  Here is quick summary of each and how effective I have found them to be:

  1. Direct Mail – I’ve sent postcards to businesses in the area. These postcards give a brief rundown of our firm and instruct them to contact us for a free consultation if they are considering selling their business.  I have had a response or two, so I would say this is effective.
  2. Craigslist – I scan the local Craigslist boards almost daily in search of businesses for sale by owner that might be a good fit. Not every business listed here necessarily equates to a good listing, but there are certainly some.  I have had quite a few conversations with business owners who I have contacted through Craigslist, so I would say this is effective.
  3. LinkedIn – I have used LinkedIn for years, so it was a natural outlet to get the word out to my network about becoming a business broker. Besides posting updates, I have also experimented with LinkedIn ads (I had some free credits to burn).  The cost per click has been a little high for my liking, and I have not received any responses through these ads as of yet.  It’s too early to decide on the effectiveness of this tactic.
  4. Networking – We all know people, so why not talk to them? I have mentioned my new business brokerage endeavor to business owners and community members that I already know, and people have seemed genuinely interested.  I hope that this will plant the seed for those who are still content owning their business, but might be looking to sell in the future.  I plan on being a business broker for many years, so these seeds have plenty of time to germinate.  Without a doubt, networking will be effective.

Overall, I’m having conversations with business owners and I think that is the most important thing.  They are hearing my name, they are learning about what I do, and with time I am confident that this will lead to listings.

Are there any lead generation tactics that you find to be particularly effective or ineffective?  Feel free to share them for myself and other brokers to learn from!  We’re all in this together.

Dan Barner is a Business Intermediary with Capital Business Advisors, Inc. in Albany, NY and the Founder of Prolific Marketing in Ballston Spa, NY.  He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association and the Board of Directors for Ballston Spa Rotary.