Real estate agents are great. Except when they’re not.
They’re not my pick to sell a business, but many people hire them anyway. Here’s the typical scenario.
Biz Owner Joe calls Agent Sam and tells him he wants to sell his Whatzit Shop. Sam, thrilled to get a listing, takes down the information and gets it into the real estate flier just before deadline.
Three days later, Joe’s long time customers start calling him. “Hey, I hear you’re selling your business. I guess I’ll have to go over to Bob’s Whatzit shop from now on.” Word spreads like wildfire about Joe’s pending sale.
Some people get it wrong and say Joe is going out of business. Others say he’s in financial trouble. Still others say Joe has already left town.
The irony? None of the people talking about Joe’s business is a potential buyer. They are customers, gossipers, and looky-loos.
Don’t be Joe. Before you announce that your business is for sale, do your home work. When you are ready to sell, make a few discreet contacts to let appropriate people know about the opportunity.
Selling a business is tricky in this way. You need to let the right people know about it, but not everyone else.
The problem with real estate agents is that they often advertise businesses and commercial real estate sales in the same media they use to promote residential sales. So, a lady at the grocery check out lane, for example, might see your business for sale when she’s looking to buy a three-and-two on a cul-de-sac. She could be your best customer, but she’s not interested in buying a business. In fact, she’s afraid to patronize a business that’s for sale. What if she buys a gift certificate and the new owner doesn’t honor it? What if you close your doors instead of selling? She doesn’t want to get stuck holding an empty bag.
The person who has to sell your business is you. Get the targeted help you need to make it happen.