Benchmark Business Group

5 Tips to Negotiating A Win-Win Sale

November 19, 2019

Selling your business is a big deal. It is often the biggest financial deal a person will negotiate. Aside from sale price, key concerns for sellers are: confidentiality, tax implications, employees and customers being cared for, and the time they will be tied to the business post sale. It is a lot to think about and make decisions around as you negotiate with buyers.

A win-win negotiation explores both your own position, and that of the buyer. It’s through negotiation that you’ll find a mutually agreeable outcome that gives you both as much of what you want as possible. If you both walk away from the closing table happy with what you've gained from the deal, then that's a win-win.

5 Tips to negotiating a Win-Win Sale

1. Remember the buyer isn’t your opponent: Think of your buyer as your partner in negotiating the best deal. Buyers are interested in what you have, you simply have to agree on what you’re willing to take in exchange for it. Together, through thoughtful negotiations you can arrive at a deal, or respectfully agree there isn’t enough common ground to strike a deal. Demonizing your buyer is a quick way to a bad experience.

2. Put on the Buyers Glasses: Buyers see things differently than you do, and it’s important you value their perspective. You don’t have to agree with them, but you benefit by understanding what’s important to them, and what matters in their decision making. Read our article to learn how to put on the Buyers Glasses for a critical look at how buyers value your business.

3. Don’t make judgements or assumptions: Avoid jumping to conclusions and try to keep an open mind as you consider buyers offers. People's positions are rarely what they may initially appear. Keeping an open mind and being flexible in your thinking will enable you to see opportunities that assumptions prevent you from seeing.

4. Avoid digging in and not budging: It’s good to know your bottom line needs when selling your business, but be open to different ways of getting to them. If you are too adamant on what you will or won’t consider, you might be denying yourself the opportunity to achieve your goals.

5. Stay Calm and Carry On: Be committed to not taking personal offense as you are negotiating. Buyers that offer low-ball numbers aren’t insulting you, unless you choose to be insulted. Low ball offers are simply a buyer's way of starting a conversation. When you are calm, and remain objective you can negotiate with confidence. You’ll likely talk to multiple buyers and the more you can learn about them, and from them, the better prepared you’ll be for the next buyer conversation.

Leveraging these 5 tips will help you through negotiations, but keep in mind you’ll be in a stronger position to negotiate a win-win deal if you’re clear on what you’re willing to exchange for your business. Start by discovering the market value of your business.

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