As business models have evolved over the recent decades, increasingly most every relationship has been defined as being a customer relationship.  Business buyers and sellers are no exception.  I love this trend it seems so much more civil and more likely to result in good things – everyone working together to – whatever.

This is a quick list of relationships that might be considered customer based:

  • Staff member to manager
  • Manager to staff member
  • Sales person to client
  • Teacher to student
  • Teacher to parent
  • Parent to teacher
  • Doctor to patient
  • Broker to buyer
  • Broker to seller
  • Colleague to colleague
  • Etc.

In the sale of a business, customer plays out in several ways.  Brokers have the buyer and seller as a customer – organizing and providing information, lending insights, referring to others who can assist, and beyond.

The seller should view the buyer as their customer, if they want the business to sell.  A buyer that does not feel valued will potentially not want to buy.  Valuing a buyer can come in the forms of respecting education and experience, making time to meet and share as much as you can without being vulnerable, give perspective on the future – perhaps a business plan, and making the place and all else neat and tidy.

The buyer should view the seller as their customer, if they want the seller to sell to them and finance the transaction.  The buyer should talk about their interest, even admiration, in the business, personal business background, capability to buy and run the business, personal items that one can share openly.

Remember that, while in most cases the relationship between buyer and seller is short lived, it is critical to it being as strong and respectful as possible.   Sellers may have a vested interest their financing being paid off and usually want the pride of watching their former business succeed in the future.  Buyers usually want the consult of sellers beyond the training period.

Most every customer relationship goes both ways even when it seems not.  But, then I am a believer in honey, not sticks.