30 Jun The Science of Working with Buyers
In this week’s webinar we were joined by Greg Kells, President of Sunbelt Business Brokers, which under Kells’ leadership has emerged as the premiere business brokerage firm in Canada. Since beginning Canadian operations in 2002, Mr. Kells has opened 27 offices across Canada and is developing business brokerages in 10 other countries.
Over the years, Kells has served as the president/chairman of companies in fields ranging from manufacturing and the high-tech industry to tourism, television production, manufacturing, and business consulting. He has been a guest lecturer at Duke, Harvard and Yale Universities. In this article, we’ll explore Mr. Kells’ advice for how business brokers and M&A advisors should handle the buyer intake process from inception all the way through to accepting an offer.
Preparation is Key
Kells’ view is that business brokers must realize that there will be unexpected twists and turns in the process. It is part of your job to make certain that buyers understand the fact that the process has challenges and hurdles that must be overcome. Some problems are within your control and others simply are not.
It is critical that you realize that the problems which you cannot control are often still problems that you can influence with the right approach and preparation.
As Kells notes, if problems do arise during the process, it is usually because of something that happened earlier. A successful business broker is one who understands that the process of selling a business, and interacting with buyers and sellers, is a multi-faceted process. Kells explains, “The art of being a great broker includes getting the experience to engage your clients with the technical and human elements.”
The Emotional Aspect of a Sale
It is far too easy for business brokers and M&A advisors to get bogged down in facts and figures. These are clearly of extreme importance; however, the emotional element is often lost in the shuffle of the equation. You should never lose sight of the fact that for buyers and sellers alike, buying or selling a business is a life changing event. It is only understandable that there is a good deal of concern and even a little fear.
Kells states, “Our number one goal is to understand the buyer, and we need to know a lot about what their goals are, their life goals, their family goals, their business goals.” Kells further notes that you must understand the skills that buyers bring to the table, their lifestyle, and who else is involved in the decision-making process. Again, it is key that you realize the personal and interpersonal dynamics of working with a buyer. A buyer must be seen as a unique person, and that means getting to know the buyer. This can only happen by interacting with the buyer and asking many, many questions. In short, you must probe the buyer so you understand their life as well as their business goals. The two are interlinked.
In our next article, we will further explore Mr. Kells’ advice on how business brokers and M&A advisors should interact with buyers. He offers a range of actionable advice that is sure to help new and experience buyers alike.