Tip 4: Stay Calm and Collected

Stay calm and collected throughout the process. Buyers will become nervous if you lose your cool. Do your best to remain emotionally objective.

Here are several tips to help you maintain emotional objectivity:

  • Use a third party, such as an intermediary, as a buffer between you and the buyer and refer all negotiations to them. Never negotiate on your own behalf when selling your business since it’s too easy to lose perspective. If any discussions become contentious or emotional, refer them to your intermediary to handle.
  • Don’t be dependent on the outcome of the sale to accomplish any short-term objectives. Continue investing in your business so you’re not disappointed if the sale fails. 
  • Don’t spend the proceeds before you receive them. Don’t make definite, elaborate plans such as for an extended vacation until you complete the closing. General plans are okay, but definite plans that include a specific date are rarely a good idea. Be aware that 50% of accepted offers don’t close. Proceed on the assumption that the deal won’t go through until the check clears. 
  • Keep your interest and focus on your business with the objective of maintaining or increasing revenue. Increasing your revenues improves the value of your company and is the foundation of a strong negotiating position. Continue focusing 100% on your business until the day of closing. Imagine the scene – it’s one week before the closing, and the buyer approaches you to re-negotiate the price and terms. The worst position to be in is one in which you have to sell, you’re desperate, your revenues are declining, and the buyer knows they have you backed in a corner. The best position is one in which you don’t care if you sell, and your revenue for the last quarter was up 10% over the previous quarter. If the deal falls through, putting your business back on the market could yield a higher price. The best negotiating position you can be in if the buyer attempts to renegotiate the price or terms is one in which you’re fully prepared to walk away. 
  • The lower your sunk costs, the easier it will be for you to maintain your emotional objectivity. Take the steps outlined previously to limit your sunk costs in any one buyer.