Salespeople are in short supply in Saskatchewan so most business owners would love to know the secret recipe for increasing sales. Deep down, though, you know that there are not 4 silver bullets just waiting for you to read them so your sales will go through the roof. You know there’s a lot to making a sale – especially when buyers are tightening their belts.
Every sale requires development of relationships with the buyer, an understanding of the market and the potential customers’ needs. By the time businesses are mature, owners have this down to a science. Your experience in the market has taught you what customers are looking for and what they don’t want. You know your customers and may even have personal relationships with your best clients. In the end, they know you can solve their problems so they come back again and again.
When it’s time to sell a business, most owners are experienced salespeople and they know how to sell. The challenge comes when the sale is complex or urgent and there’s no time to learn about prospective buyers or their other options. “In cases where there’s an emergency sale, no one in the business has time to explore the market. Even though they would never enter a new market in their business without doing research and analysis, owners seem to forge ahead without knowing what they’re getting into,” explains Travis Kellett of Bridgepoint Business Brokers. “If the sale is complex with a number of partners, real estate holdings, shareholders, etc. the territory is still unknown and ramming a deal through can cause a lot of problems afterward.”
Kellett recalls a DIY deal that went really badly before he got the call. “The owner was trying to find a buyer without letting employees know. This is common but it’s hard to do while you’re trying to run a business full time. The owner found a buyer, went through the process then the deal fell through. This happened two more times before he called us.” The client spent a lot of time working on the sale and neglected the business. Travis recalls, “By the time we got involved, the business was short-staffed, had lost a big client, and sales had dropped due to a shift in the owner’s focus. Not an opportune time when buyers specifically look for businesses with staff and management in place and are typically willing to pay a fair price for a business with steadily increasing sales and profits. When we got to work, it allowed the owner to focus 100% on the business and get it back to a solid place which also got a higher price when the sale finally happened.”
Learning as you go is never easy. When you’re breaking trail in a new market, it’s the only way to learn. On the other hand, if you could find someone who has travelled the road before you wouldn’t have to learn from mistakes. You wouldn’t make them in the first place.