The Business Transition Blog

The Importance of Asking Questions

Anyone who knows me knows that I love questions. I’m naturally curious and I like to understand what’s going on in the mind of the other person. If you can better understand others, their perspective, their wants and needs, their values and beliefs, their rational and emotional reasons for doing what they do, then you are in a better position to:

  • Communicate more effectively,
  • Address their wishes and issues,
  • Have a more meaningful, honest discussion,
  • Help them get what they want,
  • Better position your ideas to match what’s important to them.

When it comes to selling your business, a prospective buyer will be very curious too. They will want to know as much about you and your business as they can, in order to judge the value of your business as well as to understand what you want to get out of the deal. They’ll want to know why you’re selling and what’s critical to you in this negotiation. In addition, they will have a long list of questions they’ll want you to answer.

In order for you to be prepared and show that you’ve thought this through, you’ll do better if you know what those questions are and have documented the answers. If you’d like a free list of due diligence questions that a buyer is likely to ask, you can request it by sending me an email: WAV@TACresults.com.

You too should have questions. What is the buyer looking for? Why are they interested in your business? What will they do with it once they buy it? What are their priorities? How will your employees be treated? Will they want you to stay on? For how long? How will they structure the financing? How many businesses have they purchased in the past? What is their track record? What changes have they typically implemented once they purchase a business? Would they see doing that here? What else do they see? How does your business fit with their short and long term goals? Will they plan to move the business or leave it where it is? What are the strategic advantages to them in buying your company?

Stephen Covey wrote: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Most people are happy to answer your questions because they want to feel understood. It’s an innate desire that we have. You can tap into that and ensure you are making a win-win agreement that benefits both parties by asking good questions.