As a pharmacy broker, I try to meet face-to-face with clients and prospects as much as possible. Physical meetings are still undoubtedly the most effective (and enjoyable) way to engage, share ideas and build connections with people in a relatively short timeframe.
However, in the busy and geographically expansive world of pharmacy sales, face-to-face meetings are not always an option. At present, with COVID-19 restrictions in place, they are definitely not an option.
Thankfully, our IT team has been busy building and refining our online platform and communication systems, ensuring that our team and our clients are benefitting from the latest technologies.
We now have a zero-touch selling system that allows us to effectively and securely transact pharmacy businesses without ever having to physically meet with the vendor or purchaser.
The system integrates a number of technologies, from the relatively commonplace to the sophisticated.
Some of the key components include:
Online Data Room
Our purpose-built online data room is our way of sharing our listings with prospective buyers. When a new listing goes live on our website, our members (all verified pharmacists and industry advisors) can immediately log-in and view all of the relevant data for that business. Importantly, the information that we share cannot be printed or downloaded, making it a significantly more secure method of sharing data than the traditional ‘confidentiality agreement’ method where documents are sent out in hard copy or via email. We can also monitor who is viewing the data and we can block certain members from the listing, if necessary.
Comprehensive Data Package
We spend a lot of time building sales documentation and preparing our listings for market. Our aim is to provide our members with everything they need to make an informed decision on a business. To complement the Information Memorandum and vendor-supplied reports/documents, we provide an ‘Indicative Bank Valuation’ from a registered bank panel valuer. This helps give buyers confidence in formulating an offer and minimizes the need for them to meet with their advisors to discuss the business. In addition, we also minimize the need for interested parties to physically visit the pharmacy, by providing a range of professional photos and an ‘interactive competitor map’ that shows the location of other pharmacies in the area and their proximity to the listed business.
Online Offer System & Digital Signature
We have developed a stepped online offer system that is tailored to be quick, clear and secure for our members. The whole process takes about 15 minutes to complete and all the prospective purchaser will need is their computer or phone. Firstly, they enter their details and specify the terms of their offer, including their due diligence and finance clauses, and any ‘special conditions’ they want to include. The system then creates a PDF version of their offer which they can review and ‘digitally sign’ using their keyboard or mouse via an e-signature service. We will then receive a ‘locked’ PDF version of the offer which we can forward to the vendor for review. If the vendor is happy with the offer, they can sign it too, creating a fully executed Heads of Agreement.
We also use the e-signature service throughout the settlement process for executing contracts, leases and other agreements. It is a legally binding, secure and verifiable system, with no need for the parties to meet in person or even visit a post office.
I recently had the pleasure of selling a pharmacy in a distant corner of North-Western Victoria. Due to the remote location of the store and the subsequent arrival of the pandemic, meeting up with the vendor (and later the purchaser) was off the table. Luckily, thanks to our zero-touch selling system and the collaboration of all involved, the business sold, the contracts were exchanged, and we are now progressing swiftly towards settlement. All without a single physical meeting between any of the parties.
Like most people, I am eager for the time that the lockdown restrictions are eased, and I can start meeting with people in person again. However, in the meantime, I am extremely grateful that we that we have a system in place that allows us to deliver excellent results for our clients as we ride out the COVID-19 storm.
– Will Brown, VIC & TAS Sales Manager at AP Group