I have rarely found an owner who, when asked if he would consider selling his business, immediately says, ‘‘Yes, I want to sell, and I want to sell now.’’ If you did actually get an immediate yes, this might well indicate weakness on the part of the prospect. Most often, though, the responses you will hear are ‘‘Probably not,’’ ‘‘Not right now,’’ or flat out ‘‘No, thanks.’’
When you first approach an owner to discuss the possibility of an acquisition, different factors shape an owner’s mindset and affect his initial response—factors such as history, age, family and community. Older owners may see their company as their life’s work, while younger owners may be less invested emotionally or financially. For most company owners, “no” is a knee-jerk response.” It’s simply a lot easier for them to say “no” than “yes.”
When an owner says “no,” you may be tempted to give up. That would be a huge mistake. In fact, you should embrace every rejection, because if you listen carefully to the reasons, they can lead you to the hidden equation for which the owner will, in fact, sell.
*This post was adapted from David Braun’s Successful Acquisition, available at Amazon.com