Most certified business brokers are well versed in the principles of good customer service, and notice whether or not their clients manage this responsibility effectively. But the intermediaries don't always adhere to those ideas in their own practices.
For those who are so busy that they’ve cut corners when it comes to dealing with clients, here is a reminder about five important rules for providing excellent customer service.
1. Tell it like it is. There's often a temptation to take a listing even though the company is not really ready for sale. The alternative, of course, is to tell the seller it’s best not to go to market until the cost savings have been instituted to improve profits. But what if another broker is willing to take that business as a client right now?
In the long run the best strategy is to stick to your principals. It’s often the case that after wasting 90 or 180 days with another broker unable to bring a good buyer, that seller may be ready to listen to reason.
2. Cooperate with other brokers. There is good reason, other than just greed, to decline working with brokers who have someone interested in your listing, but are inexperienced in business sales. Another broker’s errors could cause problems for your listing client. But in order to properly serve the seller, how about working out a deal to provide a finder’s fee to the other licensee, then manage negotiations and any transaction details going forward?
3. Properly equipped with technology to communicate. Not only is it important, in the 21st Century, for certified business brokers to have the tools needed to stay in touch with clients, 24/7, it’s also critical to know how to use them. Time is of the essence when a buyer is ready to make an offer, or a seller has an update on negotiations with the landlord. Whether the client wants to tweet, text message or use voice communication, the sales professional needs to be equipped so he or she can be instantly contacted and can respond in kind.
4. Patience is a virtue. For seasoned business intermediaries, it often is difficult to “shift into lower gear” to explain the fundamentals of buying and selling to an inexperienced buyer or seller. A “need to buy” client just learning what’s available might require more attention at the beginning. But it might be time better spent for the broker than working with a “want to buy” customer who’s fully informed but unmotivated to act.
5. Committed to continuing education. Buyers and sellers expect certified business brokers to be well informed about the mechanics of the profession. And that’s a requirement to obtain and retain the certified status. But it’s not sufficient to do the minimum needed for the certification.
A broker who provides excellent customer service is also knowledgeable about the law --although never giving legal advice, is up to date regarding how and where to get financing, is familiar with various earn out strategies, and is informed about other kinds of information that will help clients complete their deals.
Because certified business brokers are exposed to severe time and competitive pressures, it might be tempting to get out of good habits, and neglect to properly take care of clients. But any short-term gains that result for those who fail to follow good practices, such as the five mentioned here don’t equal the long-term benefit of practicing excellent customer service.
About The Author: Peter Siegel, MBA, (a former business broker), has provided consulting services for buyers, sellers and other certified business brokers for more than 25 years. He is an SBA counselor, nationally known author and blogger, and founder and CEO of BizBen.com. You can reach him at 866-270-6278
|Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses|
|Joe Sandbank, Esq. - Legal Services
I have provided legal counsel to business buyers, sellers and brokers for over 17 years. With prior experience as a business broker and SBA loan officer, Joe brings both a practical and legal approach to all aspects of the business acquisition process.
|Ranvir S. Sandhu, Esq. - Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers
I've worked at top Bay Area law firms and have extensive experience with business entity formation, mergers, dissolutions, conversions, employment matters, including experience in reviewing and negotiating transactional documents such as leases and purchase agreements.
|Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow And Bulk Sale Services
California Business Escrow, Inc. is a full service independent escrow company serving all of California and has expertise in a wide range of escrows. Our team prides itself on providing an exceptional escrow experience. For more info phone Diane Boudreau-Tschetter at 888-383-3331 or 209-838-1100.
|Brad Steinberg, Broker - Laundromat Specialists
PWS is the leading laundromat broker in California. Since 1968 PWS has brokered over 2,500 laundromat sales. With over 90 employees dedicated to the coin laundry industry, PWS has 18 licensed agents, a 3 person in-house finance department, 10 service technicians and a 20 person parts department.
|Janet Carrera - Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - SF Bay Area
Redwood Escrow Services, Inc. is a full service, licensed independent escrow company. We are EAFC Fidelity bonded, fully insured & licensed with the Department of Corporations. Committed to offering our clients the most comprehensive variety of escrow services available. Phone Janet at 510-247-0741.
|Mark Chatow, Esq.: Legal Services For Buying, Selling Businesses
Mark has a broad range of small business purchase & sale experience from analyzing potential acquisition targets to successfully guiding buyers and sellers through the purchase & sale of small businesses. Mark can assist with contracts, negotiations, legal matters, etc. Reach Mark at 949-478-8393.
|Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - SF Bay Area
McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.
|Helen Yoo: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - Southern California
New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.
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