Secret Seller episode 3 – Meeting with buyers

If you’ve been following our Secret Seller’s sale journey, our third exciting episode, entitled “Meeting with buyers” is below. If you haven’t read our most recent episode, entitled “Preparing to sell”, go back and check it out before enjoying this one.

When you’re selling your business, one of the most challenging and sometimes daunting prospects is meeting potential buyers.

Thankfully for our Secret Seller, Brian is extremely experienced in getting the best possible outcome for both seller and buyer, so he worked closely with our client to help them prepare for the meetings in the right way.

Our Secret Seller says: “I have to admit, having my diary fill up with buyer meetings was a little daunting – I felt like I was off for a lot of job interviews… and I never did like them when I was younger!

“Brian was, as always, there (figuratively speaking) to hold my hand throughout the process.

“We put together a list of all the points I wanted to get across about the business and some of the questions that needed covering – and a general layout for the meetings.

“I would talk about the business and myself, then the buyers would talk about their business, and then there would be questions to see if there is a fit to take things further.

“What became quickly apparent was the importance of getting the right fit to match us as a business, as not all businesses are run the same way. Getting a similar client proposition to what we offer was important – I wanted to make sure that our clients didn’t have reason to feel that we had sold them out because that simply wasn’t the case.

“Other important things to consider were our current team and how they would be looked after. We had two succession advisers in place that clients were familiar with because we wanted to make sure that they were part of the future.

“When meeting potential buyers, I was left with various decisions to make:

  • I knew that the buyer who just wanted to give us money and then have me continue to run the office was not the right buyer for us.
  • The buyers who were owned by a big organisation and would look to move all our clients to that platform (not where our clients are currently) would be disruptive for our clients. It wouldn’t be the smooth transition that we would want our clients to have.
  • The buyer who really couldn’t afford us and wanted to try to do some kind of ‘deal’ …in Brian’s defence, it was the only time he left me unattended…
  • I will always have a soft spot for the buyer who said he was “smitten” by us – but unfortunately, their circumstances meant that it wasn’t the right time for them.

“One of the most popular questions was ‘What are you going to do after the sale?’ Although my advisers are in their 60s, I’m a good 10+ years younger, and no buyer wanted the risk that I would be setting up a firm in two years’ time to poach back clients.

“After being ‘self-employed’ for more than 20 years, trust me when I say I can’t wait to not have to check my emails when I wake up in the morning and all the time when I’m on holiday!

“After each meeting, Brian and I would stay on Teams and chat through the meeting and initial thoughts. We created ‘Yes, I really like them’, ‘They are a maybe’, and ‘Definitely not’ lists!

“What did become apparent was that the 20 years of building a business was appreciated and each meeting reconfirmed that we had worked hard and built a business to be proud of. Letting go was going to be hard, and this was getting more real with each meeting.

“At one point during the process, Brian and I were chatting after a meeting, and it hit me that my role wouldn’t exist. Nobody was going to want me, as compliance director, finance director, and HR director roles would already be in place with the buyer. The look on Brian’s face suggested he was a bit concerned, but then I broke into a huge smile! We were definitely doing the right thing!

“Hindsight being what it is, my first buyer meeting was with the company we eventually accepted an offer from – I could have saved myself all those other meetings!”

Get in touch

If you are looking to sell your business and want an organisation that looks after you and every single aspect of the process, speak to Melo.

Email or call 0113 4656 111.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.


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