In IFA business sales, the pivotal moment arrives when potential buyers sit across the table. How do you prepare for these crucial meetings that could shape the future of your business?

At Gunner & Co., we are the UK’s leading deal advisory service specialising in IFA and financial planning business sales and we have a wealth of experience in managing these meetings. Let’s delve into key strategies and insights to ensure you not just navigate but thrive in these buyer meetings.

1.  Making a Positive First Impression

This is your opportunity, not only for potential buyers to impress you with their acquisition strategy and their firm, but for you to showcase your business in the best light. Therefore, make sure you approach the meeting with the awareness that you are putting your best foot forward – because your initial impression could potentially set the tone for a long-lasting business relationship.

2.  Structuring Your Presentation

Typically, a buyer meeting follows a structured format. We would usually suggest you, as a vendor, provide a concise 5-minute history of your business and share insights into what a successful transaction looks like for you. This sets the stage for the buyer to delve into their acquisition strategy and business history. While not necessarily scripted, having a clear idea of your talking points is essential and helpful.

Learn more about the other steps needed to sell your business in our 9-step guide.

3.  Defining Your Non-Negotiables

Before the meeting, take the time to understand your non-negotiables. What elements of the deal are essential to you, and what aspects are preferable but flexible? This clarity not only helps you express your needs but also guides the conversation toward mutually beneficial outcomes.

4. Crafting Tailored Questions

It’s always worth preparing questions specific to your concerns and needs such as what integration plans the acquirer has, what employment scenarios they offer to you and your staff, and any other crucial details that align to your essential objectives. In addition, make sure that you tailor your questions for each potential buyer because you might have different concerns or uncertainties for different buyers about their capabilities and resources.

5. Embrace Open-Mindedness

Flexibility is key to a deal. It might be the situation that the acquirer says or explains a few things that don’t fit your criteria, but these criteria change sometimes as these processes go on, or you and the buyer might find another way to align with your goals. Please be as open minded as possible when you are in the meeting.

6. Honesty is The Best Policy

Nobody is looking to buy a perfect business because that ultimately doesn’t really exist. Honest and open discussions foster trust, preventing potential misrepresentations that could cause both parties to invest time and effort into a non-viable deal. If there are certain aspects of your firm that you’re less proud of, it’s best to bring it up in this conversation.

7. Assessing Cultural Fit

Initial meetings are a great opportunity to evaluate the culture of potential buyers and consider how well it aligns with your staff, clients, and business ethos. Are there any sticking points that might impact a smooth transition? Are there any scenarios where you or your staff feel your clients would struggle to adjust? Take the opportunity to identify and make notes during the meeting to ensure a comprehensive assessment.

8. Understanding Buyer Flexibility

Many buyers have more than one approach to acquiring a firm, and they often have a degree of flexibility.  It’s unlikely to be ‘this is our way or no way.’ Don’t hesitate to communicate your preferences and ideal deal structures as you might be pleasantly surprised by the accommodation potential buyers can offer.

IFA Business Sales with Gunner & Co.

Navigating buyer meetings requires a combination of strategic preparation and an open mindset. By following these guidelines, and discussing with your Gunner & Co. broker, you will have a clear understanding of your current position and how to progress forward.

Gunner & Co. works with more than 150 buyers across the UK, and we will guide you through your buyer meetings step-by-step, tailor your approach for different buyers, and ensure your meetings are not only well-prepared but strategically aligned. Book a meeting with us or explore our upcoming IFA merger and acquisition events.

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