Tips & Tricks: How to Find Clients Interested in My Business Brokerage Services?

For any business broker, recommendations are an important source of new leads. Given the very personal nature and intrinsic subjectivity of selling and buying a business (especially in the case of SMEs!), it is obvious that trusting the official representative in this process is a crucial element. As the saying goes, trust is not given, but earned - thus, establishing a business relationship based on trust is an easier task to accomplish by following a recommendation. The trust gained in front of a former client is transferable to a new one, thus giving you the chance to start with an important advantage in the relationship with the latter.

Cultivate and maintain recommendations

If you ask any experienced business broker, you will definitely find that a large percentage of the clients he has had over the years have been the result of recommendations. Not only is this completely normal, but building such a network can be a goal in itself for a novice broker. Building a relationship based on trust and a network of satisfied customers are two more powerful marketing tools than any social media platform.

Thus, we can only emphasize once again the extreme importance of implementing an articulated strategy to maintain the relationship with each client, with maximum emphasis on maintaining professionalism towards each lead. Whether your lead materializes in a contract or not, your ethical, moral, and business duty is to treat every opportunity equally and with as much professionalism as possible.

Always know your market and competitors

In order to have a successful brokerage strategy, it is vital that business brokers know their markets, both at macroeconomic and macrosocial level (the national and even international context), as well as the characteristics of the local area, such as the elements of seasonality that influence the local business environment, the main directions of economic activities in the area, the massive market players and the structural elements of business support (public administration organizations or NGOs that aim to serve private entrepreneurs).

In addition to this general information, any business broker must have the ability to correctly segment the market and evaluate competitors. This means that it is essential to understand your competitors and what services they offer: what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, possibilities for new services, and any market saturation. A careful study of the competition provides a unique perspective on what already exists and what could you do to differentiate yourself, giving you a starting point for new strategies you could implement or new services you could offer, which are incompletely covered by competitors. For example, in a market where business brokers do not offer complex services - such as calculating financial indicators, evaluating the business, or compiling Information Memorandums, you can attract clients who seek this type of services, giving them professionalism and novelty. 

Properly analyze your region 

The geographical, demographic, and socio-economic dimensions of your brokerage region will definitely influence the way you work. For example, a business broker in a large city, with several million inhabitants, can aim to build a portfolio of several thousand customers (sellers and buyers alike). On the other hand, if you work in a small town or cover a geographical area made up of small municipalities, the numerical targets you set must be adapted to the local specifics.

In order to correctly identify potential customers for your services, it is necessary to know the size of the market in which you operate. A small market will bring advantages and disadvantages: on the one hand, the competition will not be numerous, and creating a personal brand is easier when you do not have to reach millions of people at the same time. However, the disadvantage is that local business people can be very selective and cautious about selling their businesses: in small markets, news spread blazingly, and fears that a strategic competitor, employees, or other stakeholders could cause the seller to be reluctant about promoting the business for sale through classical methods and via the regular channels.

On the contrary, a large market (large city, large population, significant economic indicators) will bring along the challenge of getting out of anonymity and creating a strong enough personal brand to impact potential (numerous) customers. Differentiation is much more difficult to achieve in a highly competitive climate. The advantage? Well, a bigger pond usually holds more fish. Thus, even if you do not necessarily succeed in creating a strong brand, you can resort to the classic sales strategies - cold calls, business visits - and get leads this way.

So, here are three paradigms in which you can work to improve your client portfolio: recommendations from former clients (the most effective source of new business!), adequate knowledge of local competitors, and the analysis of the region in which you operate. Good luck!

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