Do’s and Don’ts of a First Buyer/Seller Meeting
All transactions start with a first buyer/seller meeting. There are lots of ways to get this meeting right, and a few ways to get it really wrong. In this article we’ll share some do’s and don’ts you need to have on hand for a successful buyer/seller meeting.
Meet in Person
While the pandemic normalized video meetings for buyers and sellers not geographically convenient to each other, meeting in person is always the best case scenario. You get all the advantages of real-life meetings, including enhanced body language reads.
But if you can’t meet in person, definitely opt for a video meeting. It’s a new normal that we’ve seen enhance the business transaction process significantly.
Build a Relationship
If the end goal is a transaction, realize that this is where everything starts, so take it seriously.
Be yourself and truly get to know the other person via the frame of their business. Before they decided to put the business on the market, what were some of the high points they experienced in growing the business? Ask about the lows too.
Some Basic Diligence
The worst thing we as brokers can experience is an unprepared buyer. They don’t just make themselves look bad, they make us look bad as well, as the seller might understandably assume we didn’t prepare our client for the meeting.
This is not the meeting to be asking questions about add backs or negotiating on price point (it is a first meeting, after all…slow down!). Just as an employer doesn’t like it when a candidate for a job has zero questions during an interview, a seller might understandably be skeptical if a buyer doesn’t come with at least one or two questions to this meeting.
Get Overly Detailed
This is not life-story time. It’s enough to find out what a day in the life is for the seller as well as what mistakes they feel they’ve made and what opportunities they have not yet taken on but could be attractive to a seller.
On the other hand, don’t let sellers get away with short, closed answers. They should be willing to give context, not just answer “Yes,” or “No.”
Think You’re Special
American consumer culture teaches us that “the customer is always right.” The healthiness of that attitude is a topic for another day, but we can certainly say it does not apply in business transactions. The seller is interviewing the buyer just as much as the buyer may be interviewing the seller. Stay humble and try not to lead by bragging.
This isn’t a job interview or a home purchase (it’s actually a little bit of both) so don’t fall into old habits of meetings but think about this as a different sort of meeting than you might be used to.
Buyers should remember that this is a 60-90 minute meeting, tops. It’s a high-level meeting to establish a relationship and ask some key questions.
That begs the question…can you make an offer at this meeting?
Absolutely. We see people ask for an Offer to Purchase form and sometimes end the meeting by signing one and giving it to the seller.
However, that’s not the expectation for most transactions. As we noted above, this is a first meeting and it’s understandable that both parties may want to take some time to reflect before progressing further.
Want to make sure your first buyer/seller meeting goes well? Ask one of our team to prepare you! Give us a call today.