How to Meet With Only the Best Quality Buyers

Almost everyone dreams of owning their own business at some point in their career. For some, this is a serious dream, and for others, well, not so much.  There was a time when my wife would come home from her corporate job and mutter out of frustration, “I just want to quit my job and buy a coffee shop.”  Such a proclamation did not qualify my wife to buy or run a coffee shop. Many people only think they want to own a business.  Those who actually buy a business are genuinely determined and ambitious in pursuit of their dream.

And such is the inherent problem with screening buyer candidates. How is it possible to weed out the wheat from the chaff, buyers from lookers?  One of many reasons to work with a business broker is to avoid spending your own time screening buyers; many of whom make a career of evaluating, but never actually buying, a business.

A buyer candidate must jump through several hoops at Sunbelt, before we consider them as a real candidate.  A prospective buyer will often request more information after reading a posting on a business listing website.  Other times, the prospective buyer is responding on an outbound campaign, where a qualified business broker has strategically reached out to candidates that meet pre-established criteria.

Sunbelt requires each buyer candidate to complete a non-disclosure agreement along with a buyer’s financial profile and background.  This minor hurdle disqualifies a majority of buyer inquiries, simply because most inquiries are far from serious.  As a result, the simple requirement to complete and return signed paperwork is not completed.  We believe that any suitable buyer should be willing to complete 5 minutes of paperwork; and if they are unwilling, they were unlikely a serious candidate in the first place.

Once we receive a completed “NDA package” from the candidate, we’ll engage in a discussion with the individual(s).  Through conversation, we seek to understand whether they have experience in the Seller’s industry, and whether they’ve owned a business in the past.  We like to understand how they will fund the purchase of a business, along with a host of additional questions.  The answers to these questions help us determine when it’s appropriate to share otherwise sensitive information with the candidate; and more importantly, whether to set up a meeting between the Buyer and Seller.

We know that our Sellers are extremely busy running the day-to-day operations of their business.  By the time a Buyer/Seller meeting is on the calendar, our clients can rest assured that their time is being well spent with a serious buyer candidate.


Jordan Zweigoron is a Senior Advisor with Sunbelt Business Brokers. He can be reached at (408) 436-1900, x105, or at Or connect with Jordan on LinkedIn.