29 Jul 5 Tips for Preparing Buyers and Sellers to Meet
The buyer-seller meeting is quite often a “make or break” meeting. It is the role of the business broker to do everything possible to ensure that this meeting goes as well as possible. Let’s turn our attention to the key steps you need to make to ensure that every buyer-seller meeting goes as smoothly as possible.
As our panelist Jim Parker pointed out during a recent webinar, business brokers need to prep their buyers much like an attorney would prepare a witness to take the stand. Parker is founder and owner of Boss Group International in Florida. He teaches classes for the International Business Brokers Association and is the State Chairman of Business Brokers of Florida.
1. Encourage Buyers to Follow Your Plan
Buyers need to be educated about how the process of selling a business works, what is expected of them and why they need to follow your plan. Buyers also need to understand, with complete clarity, that following your plan will dramatically increase the chances of a successful outcome.
2. Buyers Need to Have Done Their Homework
A major part of preparing your buyers is to make sure that they are respectful and refrain from any behavior that could come across as interrogating the seller. Questions should be appropriate and logical. It is important for buyers to place themselves in the shoes of the other party.
Buyers shouldn’t show up to the buyer-seller meeting without having done their homework. Or, phrased another way, buyers should be ready to go with good questions that show they understand the business.
3. Buyers Should Be Polite and Respectful
Buyers need to understand that they should be on their “best behavior.” Buyers should be polite, respectful and avoid discussing politics and religion, which often can be flashpoints for confrontation. When sellers don’t like prospective buyers, then the odds are that they will also not place trust in them. This, of course, will dramatically decrease the odds of a successful transaction.
4. Sellers Need to Come Across as Truthful
Sellers also have a significant role in the process. While it is true that sellers are trying to sell their business, they don’t want to come across as a salesperson. Instead, sellers should try to be as real, honest and truthful as possible.
As Parker points out, every business has some level of competition. With this in mind, sellers should not pretend that there is zero competition. A savvy buyer will be more than a little skeptical.
5. Sellers Should Avoid Off-Putting Statements
Business brokers should also prep their sellers in other ways. Sellers may be tempted to say that they “don’t need to sell,” but you should direct them away from doing so. Sellers must understand that they might lose a buyer the second they hear such a statement. It will often come across as strong-arm sales tactics.
For most sellers, their business is a legacy. It quite often represents years, or even decades, of hard work. Needless to say, sellers value their businesses. Many will feel as though it reflects them personally, at least in some fashion. Buyers should keep these facts in mind when dealing with sellers. A failure to follow these steps could lead to ill will between buyers and sellers and negatively impact the chances of success.
There is a great deal that business brokers can do to prepare buyers and sellers alike. The key to a successful outcome is for business brokers to work with their buyers and sellers well in advance and make sure that they understand what is expected and how best to approach the buyer-seller meeting. With the right preparation, the odds of success will skyrocket.