How Should A Broker Or Agent Prepare For A Owner/Seller Meeting?
For a new business broker or agent, nothing can be more exciting than getting a call off some marketing material from a potential owner/seller who is thinking about selling their small business. There is no greater welcome than receiving a call from a potential seller that says, "Hi, I get your flyer in the mail and was thinking about selling my business."
Because business brokers invest so much time and energy in getting sellers to call them, it’s important that there is a system in place that is well thought and professional, and the business broker’s sales presentation has been flushed out and well rehearsed.
Getting The Call
Many potential business sellers will simply call and ask for a price valuation over the phone, when asked this, I tell the seller that I'm unable to give them a price valuation without seeing the business and attempt to set up an appointment, anything else is a disservice to the seller. A business broker or agent should also take the time and be in a place that they can give the potential seller their full attention they deserve.
Ask Good Questions
Before going out and meeting with the seller, a business broker should pre qualify them. One thing I try to explain over the phone BEFORE I go and meet with a potential seller is explain that I only take exclusive listings, and not open listings. I ask the seller a number of questions, which include, how long they have been there, their rent, lease information, and general gross sales? Some sellers don't want to get into too much detail with someone over the phone, and until they feel comfortable disclosing such information. Obtaining pertinent information, such as, rent information and basic gross sales, lets the broker know what they have on their hands, so if the rent is $10,000 and the average gross sales are $33,000 and has been gradually decreasing, then the broker would know that the seller is in trouble. I will also ask if the business has previously been on the market previously. I tell the potential seller to have a copy of the lease when we meet, so that I can briefly review it, so I can anticipate any problems.
Do Your Research
I also go on sites like BizBen.com and BizBenNetwork.com and see what other businesses that are like the business I'm going out on, that are also on the market, because many sellers have already been reviewing these websites. If the business has a liquor license, a business broker should go on to ABC website and make sure it's in good standing and who is on the liquor license. Social media such as Yelp is a good service to read reviews, and see pictures of the business. Before meeting with the seller, do a quick drive around the neighborhood, and see if there is any future competition on the way.
Meeting The Seller And Being Prepared
Upon getting to the location I'll ask to see the business license, because I'm interested whose name is on it. When I meet with a seller, I have copies of my marketing material, showing how the business will be shown to the public. I have my listing contracts ready to go. I plan to meet with a seller during slow hours, for instance, I sell several restaurants, so either early morning or later afternoon. A business broker should not meet with a potential seller when they are very busy, because the seller may be tempted to just say, "Leave your information with me and I'll call you if interested." The listing presentation is another blog discussion all together, but these are the steps I take before I launch into my presentation.