Is there any information that you have not disclosed to me, which might have a bearing on the viability or the value of the business for sale?
Too many business buyers don’t pose that question to sellers, their representatives (and the company’s employees, customers, suppliers, landlords, sources of financing and others).
Worse, too many buyers asking the question let answerers get away with a non-definitive answer.
Here’s a tip: Get the seller’s answer to this catch-all question in writing and make it part of your purchase and sale agreement.
Business buyers who correctly ask that question at the right time will be gifted (by the respondents) a road map for further inquiry. Not asking that question (or not verifying the response) is why so many dumb deals occur.
As for your interactions with anyone other than the seller, unless the seller has informed whomever you query and given you written permission to communicate with whomever, you should not infer or refer to the fact that the company is or might be for sale.
If you let the cat out of the bag, you can expect a forceful response, and it won’t be good for you. You will need a good defense attorney and lots of time and money to cope with the aftermath of mishandling sellers and their employees.
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Email Ted J. Leverette, The Original Business Buyer Advocate ® Since the 1970s.
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