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Finding The Right Listing Broker To Sell Your Business

written by Willard Michlin CPA

What makes Kismet Business Brokers different from every other Business Broker in town? It is the way we advertise our listings. Let me explain. Kismet has developed a marketing strategy that has been applauded by other brokers and is incredible. It took 5 years of research and testing to get it right. Other brokers have not, even now been willing to take the time and money to institute this system.

Kismet places its list of businesses, available for sale, on web sites developed specifically for marketing businesses. Prospects for businesses do not normally come to kismet's web site to find a business; they go where all businesses are being marketed. Kismet has search out and recognized the best sites for exposing a business to prospective buyers.

There are many printed publications that list businesses for sale. Most of them are designed for big businesses. They charge both the business owner, agents and any prospective buyer, to have access to their publications. Many run as much as $300.00 just to look at what is for sale. Kismet has searched out and subscribed to publications that have the track record of bringing prospective buyers to their publication looking for businesses for sale.

If the business we are selling is the type of business that a prospective buyer might consider looking in the "businesses for sale" section of the local or major newspaper of the area, then Kismet will put ads in the paper. The newspaper is not the place to advertise that it was, even as recent as 3 years ago. The Web has cut into their business substantially.

Contacting Prospective Buyers - our specialty! Normally when a prospect sees a business being marketed, that appears to be of interest to him or her, he will contact the seller's broker or the seller directly by only one of two ways. They are 1. Make a call to the contact number, or 2. Send an e-mail inquiry.

Both have good points and bad points. Lets take them one at a time.

Before caller ID's were invented anyone could inquire about a business listing, or a real estate listing, and could pump a seller or agent for information, without even giving his name or number. He could even lie about the name and/or the phone number. I have had competitors call because they are very curious as to a listing for sale. I have seen and heard about casual buyers who ask questions about a business until the agent or seller, gets tired of the questions, and finally informs the prospect that a non-disclosure is required. Then the agent tells the casual buyer they need to come in to the office or sign a confidentiality release. This sometimes stops the questions and the prospect hangs up, because he doesn't want to be pursued by the agent or seller, until he, the buyer, is ready. Even with caller ID, the prospect can block the caller ID. This is not a desirable position to be in as an agent.

If a prospect sends an e-mail inquiry, quite often they will only give you their e-mail address to respond to. You still can't call them, if you wish, but at least you have a way to re-contact a prospect. Buyers are interesting people. They have many motivations for calling on businesses for sell. They may be on a fishing exposition and wish to get maximum information about a sellers business without letting the seller know who is asking the questions, or why the prospect is interested.

People looking for information, besides being a legitimate prospect, may also be:

1. A competitor looking to find out who wants to sell their business.
2. A competitor looking to find out the strength's of the competitor and then steals trade secrets, and successful marketing ideas.
3. A competitor looking to get seller's client's names so they can try to steal accounts,
4. A competitor who wants to compare the seller's financial reports to their own, and
5. People who do not want to buy a business but are going to enter the field and want an education on the profitability of this type of business. They want training and an education for free.

Kismet's system eliminates the buyer being in control and puts us, in the drivers seat. When you call Kismet's 800-phone number, on its advertisements, you are not calling our office, but rather a high tech message center. Each listing has a box number. Each box number has a recorded message, about a specific business; this is to create interest, before the prospect even talks to a person. Then if the prospect is really interested he will then be put through to an agent.

If you wonder, what difference it makes if they call Kismet's office number or if they call the message center, I will explain. The caller ID, which most people have, can block an agent from getting the callers phone number. Our system is located out of state and captures 100% of all callers phone numbers, and it tells us, which ad they were calling on. Call Blocking does not work against our system. Even if they listen to our recorded message and hang up, we know who called. If they hang up while talking to an agent, we also know whom they are.

When this system was first put in to use, we discovered a frightening fact. One third of all the callers never tried to talk to a person, or leave a message. What this told us was that all other agents were never even aware of 1/3 of all the people that responded to their ad.

I found people would call on an ad, and if a machine answered, they hung up and never called again. If a receptionist answered they sometimes hung up before the agent could get on the line. Sometimes they would ask a few questions of the agent, if they didn't like one answer they would just hang up on the agent, leaving him no way to re-contact the prospect. Another examples that was found; prospect called on an ad, got an incoming call on another line, would of course hang up on our call and take there incoming call. But, many times never bothering to call back.

I received a call from a very wealthy individual on Christmas Eve. He had just been notified that he had won a major contract and needed to find an operating business to produce the product. He saw our ad and picked up the phone and called. I missed the call and he hung up leaving no message. When I discovered the call 30 min later I called him, and spent 6 months looking for the perfect fit for him. He told me that he would of never called back. And he called originally, only because he had our letter in his hand. His urgency had disappeared 30 min later, and he was leaving for Europe in two days and would be gone for 2 months. Because I called him back instantly, I got a shot at showing him my business that was listed.

Finally, Kismet has developed its own list of buyer prospects that we have had phone conversations with. We keep a record of what type of business they want, how much cash do they have available and how profitable does the business need to be. When we get a new listing, we run it through the database and find who is a fit. This database is never shared with anyone outside the company. Many a prospective buyer is still looking 2 years later for a business to buy.

In conclusion, picking a business broker is a lot like picking a husband or wife. If you have a good one, your life is blissful and happy and it is the best thing that ever happened to you in your life. If you make a mistake, and marry the wrong one, it is the worst thing that could ever happen to you. A bad marriage makes the story of "Dante's Inferno" seem like a picnic in comparison. May your marriage be long and joyful.

Willard Michlin is a Business Broker, California Real Estate Broker, Accountant, Well known Public speaker and Administrative/Business Consultant. He can be contacted at his Orange County, California office by calling 800-864-0420 or by e-mail at See other articles by Willard Michlin at

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