A few years back I received this question from a gentleman looking into selling his business. It was one of several questions he had submitted to me and had asked for a formal, written response. So I thought it might be good to offer you the summary of what I sent him, minus a few edits for reasons of confidentiality…
1. My personal and professional ethics. As someone who in essence becomes one of your trusted advisors, I would hope that this is something that is as important to you as it is to me. This sometimes takes time to become fully aware, but someone like yourself who has risen to your position I would expect you to be a good judge of character and if I don’t pass the smell test you would not engage me. It is one of my biggest battles I fight in my industry is to overcome the past indiscretions of other brokers who at times choose to forget their fiduciary responsibility ode to their clients. Also, growing up in the steel mill country outside of Pittsburgh, I have an engrained work ethic that I would challenge any other broker to match.
2. My personal buyer network. Over the years I have built a large list of buyers who have either approached me on some of my prior listings or that I have been introduced to through business associates or friends. These buyers include high net worth individuals, private equity groups, and corporate c-level executives. Admittedly, not all are active buyers at all times, but most will take a look at any new, compelling opportunities and may even refer other buyers to me that may have interest.
3. As part of the Murphy network, I have access to over 300 brokers nationwide all of which have buyers they speak to on a regular basis. One survey I read showed the 40% of buyers come from outside the region. This is where a national firm can have advantages over a local boutique with as few as one or two brokers in the office and no out-of-region connections.
4. The Murphy system has other advantages such as our broad internet advertising campaign. There are at least a dozen web sites that buyers (individual and corporate) search on a regular basis. Our advertising captures all those sites, whereas other firms may choose to pick only a small subset. I meticulously track where my inquiries come from and they do in fact can come from all of those sites. Those sites are constantly trying to “out-SEO” each other so a buyer inquiry one day to the next may lead to two different business for sale websites.
5. For larger M&A engagements and/or if your business is large enough to attract the attention of private equity groups and larger corporations, my marketing approach to selling your business in the shortest time at the best price will also include reaching out to other presidents/CEOs that I did not engage with on my prior activity. I use a mixed method of direct mail, phone calls and emails to get their attention and present this opportunity to them. This is a very time consuming activity that quite frankly other brokers and investment bankers do not perform or will charge you an exorbitant fee to do so.
Hopefully this is a good start! I look forward to a face-to-face meeting where we can discuss in more detail.