Selling your pharmacy – key questions to ask any agent or broker

When you’ve finally reached the decision to sell your pharmacy, a couple of things become apparent very quickly – you really only have two options.

You can attempt to sell your business privately and without the assistance of an agent or business broker, or you can enlist their services (at a fee of course) and leave the heavy lifting to someone else.

There’s a few factors that tend to sway most business owners towards engaging a broker at sale time…

  • As many would attest, most business owners simply don’t have the time, resources or expertise to go it alone, particularly when approaching such an important transaction.
  • It also takes contacts to sell any business, and industry-specific brokers dedicate a vast amount of time and money building, establishing and cleansing buyer databases – giving you the very best possible chance of a sale that ‘sticks.’

So now you’re convinced you need a broker, who on earth do you turn to?

It’s critically important to solicit the right broker to sell your pharmacy business. This decision can mean the difference between achieving the sale price you need and not selling at all. And in some cases, taking on the wrong broker can not only ensure the business doesn’t sell, but it’s reputation and good will is damaged forever.

Here’s some essential questions you’d be a fool not to ask your prospective broker…

Get Specific: Do you sell pharmacy businesses?

This is probably the most important point of all. If the broker on the other end of the line mentions anything other than pharmacy, then move right along. Those brokerages with a single industry focus will reap the greatest rewards for you and won’t burn time and money getting up to speed with an unfamiliar industry.

Numbers Game: How many pharmacy businesses have you sold this financial year?

Another critical question. In most situations, the adage ‘quality over quantity’ rings true, but not when it comes to selling businesses and getting deals done. You want to make sure there’s an established track record of success before signing any agreement. Remember, success begets success.

Buyer Beware: How many registered buyers do you have on the books?

Buyers are a broker’s bread and butter. A decent brokerage should be able give you a comprehensive rundown of their database numbers, personas, ability to complete and other relevant demographics. Put simply, the more eyes that are sighting your business, the better.

Price is Right: I want to re-coup my investment and make some money; can you achieve that?

It’s worth testing the broker you’re vetting to see how they respond to a question like this. It seems like an innocuous query, but an experienced broker knows they need to price your business at the right level to achieve a successful sale.

Remember, they don’t get paid unless you do, so you want them to be honest and up front about the true market value of your business as opposed to what it could be sold for. Any broker can luck out and sell your business at an exorbitant premium, but if the figures aren’t transparent and the deal doesn’t add up, the highs of a great sale can very quickly turn sour.

See it Through: Do you manage the settlement process?

Unfortunately, some brokers are great salespeople, but awful project managers. It’s all very well to achieve a great sale, but the hard work really begins after agreements are signed and the settlement process begins. Make sure your broker will see out the process and be on hand until your money is in your account. Better yet, a serious brokerage will have an in-house legal division to liaise between all parties during settlement.

Of course, there’s probably a raft of other queries you’re likely to have when it comes time to sell, although in checking-off the suggested questions above, you’ll very quickly get an understanding of who you’re dealing with and how successful their processes are likely to be.

– Will Brown, VIC & TAS Sales Manager at AP Group

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