What Do Business Brokers Do?

What Do Business Brokers Do? (excerpted from Volume 8, Issue 13, IBBA Weekly Communication for April 8, 2008)

Shari Bayne, CBB, CBI
Vanguard Resource Group, San Diego CA
Over the years, I’ve run into many women who are intimidated by the fact that the majority of business brokers are male. They seem to think that just because they are female, they are at a disadvantage in business brokerage. As a result of this widespread point of view, “Women’s Forums” have been formed in both IBBA and CABB; forums created, I guess, to help us poor, disadvantaged female brokers compete with the vast army of bullying male business brokers.

Enough of this nonsense. Is business brokerage really different for women than for men? I’ve given this much thought, and after looking back at my experiences in this industry, I’ve come to the conclusion that women actually possess more innate skills for successful business brokerage than men do.

I’ve been asked by many people, what it takes to be a successful business broker. We all know there’s no college degree that you can obtain for this career, so what does it take to be successful? By looking at what we do every day, we can get insight into what it takes to be successful. Here’s my list of what a business broker does:

Prospects for listings

Presents brokerage services to business owners

Assists the business owner with appropriate pricing

Lists the business for sale

Prepares a professional offering package to marketplace

Interviews and qualifyies potential buyers

Presents the business to potential buyers

Assists with an offer to purchase

Helps the business owner to evaluate offers

Organizes the due diligence process

Follows through to a success closing and transfer

To sell a business, the broker must first find a business owner who wants to sell; convince the owner that they have the ability to assist them; help the owner price the business; prepare the marketing package; and, then market the business to prospective buyers. When a buyer has been identified, the broker should be able to assist the buyer and seller in the negotiation of a purchase contract and assist both parties in the due diligence and closing procedures. All of this can be done successfully if the broker has the ability to listen to and understand the motivation of both the seller and the buyer. And ladies, let’s face it, we are the communication experts. While our male counterparts may be able to grunt and groan out the latest scores in the NFL better than we can, we are the masters of person-to-person talk.

So, since we know we’re the best communicators out there, let’s look at the entire skill set needed for business brokerage to see if we lack anything in other areas. Here’s my list of needed skills:

Sales and marketing skills


People skills (communication, empathy and listening)

Problem solving

Honesty and trustworthiness

Organization skills and attention to details

Life experiences and a willingness to learn

Every broker should implement a marketing plan to target potential business sellers, and persistence in required; the phone won’t ring simply because you have made the choice to become a business broker. If there are problems with the business, the broker should be able to understand them fully to ascertain whether or not these problems can be overcome. The broker should possess the quality of honesty, and use it to confront issues and resolve them. And, finally, all successful business brokers must have organizational skills and be able to pay close attention to the details of any deal.

No offense, men, but I think that the typical woman in business excels in persistence, honesty and organizational skills.

It’s also certainly true that a successful business broker should have a background in business ownership, business management, business financial management and/or business sales and marketing. Fortunately, our society has given us women many opportunities to gain these business skills over the years. And, in addition, there numerous opportunities for anyone – male or female – to get training in key areas of business brokerage through CABB and IBBA. So, if you are a woman who might has excellent sales and marketing skills, but don’t know much about business financials or business management, the doors are open for you to get training.

So in closing, I have just this to say: Ladies, start your engines! Let’s go out and show the industry how good we are at being successful business brokers.

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