Mergers & Acquisitions

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Why Do Buyers Disappear When Selling My Business?

Day #1

“I have a buyer who contacted me last week and is interested in buying my business. I want to see what happens with this buyer before I do anything.” (Seller talking to us)

Day #5

Seller talks to the buyer, and they schedule a meeting for next week.

Day #11

Seller and buyer meet, and the meeting goes great. Seller calls us and says, “I think he is going to buy it. I want to hold off before we do anything else.”

Day #13

Seller calls the buyer to move the ball forward. No answer. Seller leaves the buyer a voicemail.

Day #16

No answer from the buyer. Seller calls buyer again and leaves a message.

Day #20

Still no answer from the buyer. Seller calls a third time and leaves a message.

Day # 25

No answer from the buyer yet. Seller calls a fourth time and leaves a message.

Day #28

The seller calls us, exhausted, and doesn’t know what to do.

We hear this story all the time from our clients. What has happened here, and what can be done about it?

Why do interested buyers disappear?

Buyers are like everyone else — they’re busy and are likely considering multiple alternatives to acquiring your business. A buyer may initially appear interested and may later change their mind after considering another business.

It may be easier for them to duck your phone calls and emails than tell you that they are no longer interested in your business. While this may be useful information to know, it is irrelevant because it does not change the process you should follow.

Selling a business is not easy. However, if you keep it simple and try not to get emotionally involved in the process, you can greatly reduce the stress associated with selling your business.

What is the solution?

The solution is simple, although not always easy for sellers to implement.

  1. Don’t get emotionally involved in any one buyer. This does not mean that you shouldn’t be aggressive about selling your business. You should be very aggressive. However, you should keep a level head and focus on running your business during the process and remain emotionally detached from any one buyer.
  2. Prepare for the sale upfront by preparing a confidential information memorandum (CIM), so that little energy is expended prescreening buyers, which allows you to avoid becoming emotionally attached.
  3. Focus on running the business and don’t become too emotionally attached to selling it. Many sellers seem overly eager to sell their business and spend far too much time and energy thinking about the process, and they end up neglecting their business in the short term.

The Bottom Line:

Keep cool and focus on running your business. Prepare a simple plan to sell and execute it with precision. Don’t become emotionally attached to the idea of selling your business or to any single buyer.