Business No Longer For Sale – Releasing a listing with grace

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It hurts a lot, there is no denying that. But is a lot like ripping off a band-aid; just do it quickly and get it over with. As a professional business broker you are going to find yourself in situations that are potentially dangerous and you need to learn how to deal with them in quick and efficient manner in order to protect yourself. This can be a very emotional experience for both the buyer and the seller even when everything works out perfectly. The broker needs to understand this expression in itself poses no real issue; it is natural for people to experience a range of feelings when buying or selling a business including anxiety, frustration, and elation. Do not try to fight it, but instead learn to calmly weather the storm and to guide both parties gently down the pipe line ever towards the closing. As you are doing exactly that, you may find that the ship has suddenly and violently drifted off course; you are now suddenly taking on water. The financials don’t add up, there are undisclosed liens on the business, or some other crucial piece of information has been misrepresented. At this point any and all concern for the clients feelings must be put on the back burner because the facts are all that’s important. Nobody likes being confronted in these type of situations and you need to be understanding when they get a little defensive about it. But focus on the evidence at hand, gather any documentation that you can obtain to either prove or disclaim any proposed inconsistencies. It will become clear fairly quickly what the true story from this alone or by the lack of cooperation that you are getting from the seller. It is not your job to jump to conclusions or to step outside your role and to play the accountant or attorney. It is your responsibility to immediately drop any listing where you have concerns about the accuracy of the information being provided by the seller, or to at least update the listing immediately to reflect said changes. If you do not do so then you are just facilitating this misrepresentation and can be held responsible for whatever consequences may come from them. Take a deep breath, forget about all of the time and money that you have potentially wasted, and just let it go. There are always more listings to work on and it is better to take on a manageable short term lose then a to deal with a drawn out lawsuit that could cost you everything.

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