Whenever Fred hits the road, he tells me where he’s going and what his meeting is about. I appreciate this even though I’m likely to forget the details. (Please don’t worry about the state of my brain matter. I’ve been like this for most of my life.) Even if I forget, this much I know: The longer the meeting, the better the signs. If he’s talking to a potential seller, a long meeting means that those people are comfortable with him (who wouldn’t be?) and the get-together is going beyond an exchange of basic business information. If he’s attending a meeting that includes a seller and a potential buyer and it goes past an hour or two, it’s a great sign. He calls me when he heads home after these long sessions, and I’ll always ask him how it went. I’m excited when he answers, “Great. I hardly said a word. They like each other.”
Such a simple statement: They like each other. But it’s a very big deal, the best sign of all. An owner who has poured their energy and passion into a business wants to pass it on to someone they like. Yes, the goal is to make the best deal possible for our client, to help them realize the profit from their hard work, but who they sell to matters. And if they like a potential buyer, it can make a huge difference in the process. Roadblocks they might face with someone with whom they feel no connection magically become less substantial and more manageable with someone they like. Terms that might be unacceptable when attempting to work with a person they’re not attuned to become more pliable with someone they like. It’s a wonderful alchemy. You can’t make it happen. It does or it doesn’t. But it’s sure a great sign when it does!