If you are considering selling your company, you have no doubt considered using the services of an intermediary. An intermediary’s job is to sell your business. He or she must maximize the selling price, terms and net proceeds, plus handle the details of the sale effectively. There are some things intermediaries will expect from you. You will improve the chances of a successful sale by understanding these expectations. Here are a few:

  • Working with your intermediary in helping to sell the company is very important. It takes this kind of partnering to get the job done. You have to return all of his or her telephone calls promptly. You, other key executives, and primary advisors have to be available to your intermediary.
  • Selling a company is a group effort. It will involve you, key executives, and your financial and legal advisors all working in a coordinated manner with the intermediary. You need input about all aspects of the sale, beginning with the gathering of information through the transaction closing. Only they can provide the necessary information.
  • The selling process can take anywhere from six months to a year, or even a bit longer. An intermediary needs to know what is happening and changing within the company. This includes the competition, customers, etc. Keep the lines of communication open.
  • The intermediary will need key management’s cooperation in preparation for the future visits from prospective buyers. They will need to know what is required, and expected, from such visits.
  • The intermediary will develop a list of possible buyers. You can help in several ways. You can offer the names of possible candidates who might have an interest in acquiring your business. Supplying the intermediary with industry publications, magazines and directories will help to increase the number of possible purchasers. This will also help educate the intermediary in the nature of your business.
  • Keep your intermediary in the loop. At some point, a letter of intent is signed and the deal turned over to the lawyers for the drafting of the final documents. Do not assume that the intermediary’s job is complete. It may just be beginning. The intermediary knows the buyer, the seller, and what they agreed on. You may be keeping the deal from failing by keeping the intermediary involved in the negotiations.
  • Be open to all suggestions your intermediary may have. You may feel that you only want one type of buyer to look at your business. Your intermediary may have some other prospects. Sometimes you have to be willing to change directions.

The time to call a business intermediary professional is when you are considering the sale of your company. An intermediary is a major member of your team. Selling a company can be a long-term proposition. Make sure you involve yourself in the process until the job is complete. Maintain open communications with the intermediary. And, most of all – listen. He or she is the expert.

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AUTHOR: EBIT Associates, Ltd.
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