Kirsten Lowis

Selling

I was compelled to share some of the language I use in my day-to-day life selling other people’s businesses.

Here’s a few phrases I regularly use to kick it off the tone of this post:

“Tell me”

“OK”

“is there anything else?”

“in my experience”

“is that ok with you?”

“Excellent!”

“When you choose to buy…”

“It looks”

“Firstly,… however…”

“Are you happy to move forward today?”

“So, why do you think…”

“Does that make sense to you?”

“I can see…”

“my major concern (with you hesitating) is…”

“I strongly recommend”

“How did you feel?”

“Would you agree?”

“Do you think… OR do you think…?

“My understanding of the situation/business is… is that right?”

So, today I got an objection.

When we are selling, our words, tone and dialogue can be compelling, especially when it comes to handling objections.

Here’s what happened 2 weeks ago.

BOOM. Objection #1

I got an objection on the listing price from the sellers. They want way more than what the valuation came back at.

  • Welcome – the objection from the seller

“(seller) you’ve made a valid point regarding (what you think your business is worth) and that the valuation (800 thousand) is too low. I’m glad you’ve raised it because it’s something we could certainly go through now.

  • Confirm – Drop the defence barrier

“(name) I can understand your desire to sell for (900 thousand), and you want this because you’ll be able to pay off all of your debt ?  Is that right?”

  • Modify – the interpretation

“However… in my experience with selling businesses, that price you choose to list at will have a significant impact on the amount of enquiry you receive.  My concern is that a buyer wants the best price, not to pay off your debt. The valuation in todays market says that your business looks to be closer to 800 thousand. How do you feel about that?”

  • Closing question

“(name) that’s why I’d really like to agree on this Listing Price, that we can prove on paper, and move forward with the sale – does that make sense to you?

Decision: The sellers agreed to list their business for $825,000 (remember they wanted 900 and the valuation was 800)

BOOM. BOOM. Objection #2 (Today)

I got an objection on the selling price from a buyer. They wanted way less than what the business was listed at.

“(buyer name/s)… appreciate you coming into the office.  It’s a great little business isn’t it?  What did you (and your accountant) come up with as an offer? Would you like to buy it?

(Offer of 725 thousand)

  • Welcome – the objection from the buyer
  • “Well, I appreciate the offer of 725 thousand dollars. Would you mind me asking… how did you arrive at that figure?

    (we know the owner works over 50 hours in the business and doesn’t get paid more than 40 thousand)

  • Confirm – Drop the defence barrier
  • “Ok.  So what you’re saying is that the salary is your main issue. Tell me… What is the salary you’re wanting to take from the business when you own it?”

    (between 50 and 100 thousand per annum for my wife and I)

  • Modify – the interpretation
  • That seems achievable, especially when the current manager is paid 80 thousand per year, and the owner is supporting the manager. This business is ideal for a couple to fully manage. That’s just part of the reason why I’ve priced this one at 825, however just so that you understand the process of what’s going to happen here.  I’m certainly going to submit that offer of 725 thousand dollars to the owners in writing, however as their broker, they’re actually going to ask me what I think of the offer, and I’m going to have to advise them that I believe your offer is well on the lower side of the true market value of the business.  So, if 725 wasn’t accepted, what would your next price be?

    (no more than $755..)

  • Closing question
  • And if I had another buyer at 800, should I have gotten back to you, or are you prepared to miss it?

    (I want to know about it)

    Ok – you want to know about it.  Well, this is my concern for you… and that is, I don’t play buyers off against each other.  Just as I wont be disclosing your offer and ringing around the whole town about your offer, I certainly wont be disclosing their offer to you.  SO… you may only get one opportunity to put your best foot forward here this evening… would that be 755 to 800? Where would you be?

    (between that can be achieved, around 780 max)

  • Closing the deal
  • Well, let me put that offer forward to the owners in writing. What’s the latest I can get back to you this evening?

    (time)

    (repeat time & write down). Thanks for coming into the office (guys), I’ll speak to you later on this evening.

    The offer is now sitting with the sellers to accept or decline, and I will manage the deal from there.

    If the topic of language of sales interests you, a good book to read is The Language of Sales: The Art and Science of Sales Communication by Tom Hopkins. I can only find it on Amazon, but check out Ebay too.

    Have fun with the craft of selling.

    “When you’re uncomfortable with the words you’re using, it becomes obvious to your listeners. When they recognize your discomfort, their defenses are likely to go up making the continuation of the conversation or sales process more challenging than when you are comfortable with what you’re saying. This is where dedication to your craft becomes very important.” – Tom Hopkins

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