Debriefing after meeting the buyer
After striping out the formalities and pleasantries of the first meeting it’s time to focus on what “really” took place.
Some answers, or signals given off (perhaps unwittingly) may be obvious but other perhaps less subtle, which is why it is always advantageous to attend the meeting with another person, perhaps a trusted business confidant, your accountant or even the broker themselves.
What were the true aims of your counter-party and did you really gain an understanding of the kind of people they are?
When your broker suggested you meet them you probably formed a mental image of the people, both in terms of demeanour but perhaps even as to whether he or she would be fat or slim, tall or short, young or old and such like. Complete nonsense of course but that is the human condition and an initial shock at them being the opposite of your expectation or being an exact match, can affect your initial performance by throwing you off-balance.
So how did they actually behave during the meeting? Was there any strange behaviour or did their body language contradict what they were telling you?
Perhaps they were dropping hints as to their expectations or more likely what they thought yours should be, conditioning you for a “reality check”.
Were they on a “fishing trip”, otherwise known as industrial espionage? Whilst it may have a whiff of the spy thriller about it, such tactics do occur even lower down the food chain and with a greater frequency than you may imagine.
Are the buyers serious or timewasters, the sort of people who attend meeting after meeting but will never commit to anything in a month of Sundays.
What about funding? Are they secretly planning to fund the purchase out of profits because in reality they have no funding but aren’t letting on?
You’ll need to make a decision about which party you wish to meet for a further meeting and the outcome of the above thoughts will play a pivotal role in making that decision. You will also have to work out how to respond to each party as you’ll likely wish to proceed with one initially but keep others as an insurance policy.
And finally, if you always trust your gut instinct, this occasion is no different.