While I am a huge believer that whichever side takes charge of the deal usually wins out, that is significantly different from being a bully in this transaction. Buyers must be sensitive to a seller’s concerns just as a good seller understands what worries a buyer. Think about this as a dating process. You do not go on a first date with a pre-nuptial agreement handy and ready to buy furniture together. Long-term relationships grow over time as the parties get to know one another – that is pretty basic “Dating 101” stuff. The same holds true for the business buying process.
Allow the situation to unfold naturally. If you are demanding in your attitude, you will not get to second base. A case in point is a seller who contacted me recently who was approached by a prospective buyer who seemed genuine and interested according to the seller. Unfortunately, the buyer is driving the seller completely crazy just trying to get a standard non disclosure document executed. The buyer’s inexperience is obvious and the seller, who was initially impressed with the buyer, told me “if it is this hard to get him to agree to this document how are we ever going to get a purchase done?” I cannot argue with that logic at all.
Remember, this whole process includes several steps and an ongoing discussion and negotiation is an integral part of the process. It is okay to be tough when structuring a deal, but choose your battles wisely. Do not expect any seller to simply give you complete and open access to their financials, employees, suppliers or location. It takes time to gain credibility in any relationship and it is much easier to destroy trust than it is to establish it.
Have a great week!
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