My Business Broker was a Doofus, so I Gave him $80,000

My Business Broker was a Doofus, so I Gave him $80,000

I’ve worked with several business brokers over the years.  Some have been exceptional, some just ok, but this one was a real knucklehead.    

He was this kind of doofus:

Me on the phone, “What’s the answer to this question?”

My Broker: “It’s seven.  The answer is seven.   No question.  Seven.”

Me after hanging up, “hmmm . . . that doesn’t make sense”, so I call around.

Me on the phone, “What’s the answer to this question?”

Someone who knows: “The answer is Tuesday.”

As our closing date neared, the bad information just kept coming.  He would provide wrong answers confidently, and without hesitation.    More than once it was information that would have killed the deal if I hadn’t checked with someone else before following his advice.  Once I realized how uninformed he was, every interaction was a game of “are you sure?”

And then on a cold, snowy, December day we sold the business and I handed him a commission check for $80,000.

I gave $80,000 to a blockhead.  Why?  Well, because I was contractually obligated to, and because he absolutely helped me sell my business,

The broker had a gift for connecting with people.   It worked on me, which is why I ended up listing with him.  And it worked with the prospective buyers that he brought to my business.   I’m certain his strength in connecting, and in staying connected, made the sale of my business possible. 

So, I’m thrilled we sold the business, and I appreciate the part he played in that.  At the same time, I would never recommend him, would never use him again, and remain bitter about his obvious incompetence and the stress it created for me.

Selling a business is a huge transaction for an owner, and you want to believe that the person you’ve selected to help you will get it perfect.  You want to believe you’re dealing with someone that knows the right answer.   

But how do you get that? 

  • How do you select the right business broker? 
  • What should you look for when selecting a broker? 
  • What key questions do you ask? 

What’s the answer?  I’m hoping we’ll get some comments below from owners and brokers on how you can do a better job of picking a broker than I did.

The guy I picked was a knucklehead, but if I’m being honest I must tell you that I handed him the check with a big smile on my face.

Mike Finger

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