This first thing to do is move quickly. In most of the businesses we sell, the seller will receive multiple offers. Get your offer to buy the business in before the others and get the business under agreement. The best buyers can do this because they are experienced and know when they have found a business they want to buy. Experienced business buyers know how much they are willing to pay and make an offer that has a good chance of being accepted. How do you become this type of business buyer? By learning about the process, looking at businesses for sale, and meeting with owners. Moving quickly is probably the most important attribute of successful business buyers.
Don’t argue over the lesser terms. If you can do so, agree with what the seller wants. For example, in a recent deal, the seller owned the real estate and wanted a minimum five year lease. The unsuccessful buyer offered a three year lease and other terms which the seller had already said were unacceptable. Not surprisingly, this buyer was not successful.
Know what the business should sell for and make a realistic offer. If you really want the business, make a good offer. If you think the business is over-priced, discuss why you think so with the business broker rather than presenting a low-ball offer. If you present a very low offer, the seller and broker may decide you are not likely to buy the business or are not serious and not respond to the offer.
Develop a friendly relationship with the seller. People give their best deals to their friends, not their enemies. And, keep in mind that after the sale, the seller will be the one who can help you the most (or not) to have a successful transition.
Be careful about criticizing the business to get a lower price. What you say may be true, but it still might offend the seller. Better to discuss this with the broker. Or, point out the investments that you will have to make in the business because of the condition and how that will reduce your offer.
Be right about the numbers. If you are going to argue that the sellers numbers are wrong, be sure yours are right.
There are many qualified buyers looking for a good business to buy. If you are interested in buying the business, assume that there are other buyers who are also interested. Use the advice in this blog to buy the business you want.