From time to time, personality conflicts can arise between buyers and sellers, especially during the “due diligence” phase.

I recently handled the sale of a franchised power-sports dealership. Both the buyer and the seller were from the same city and knew each other. The buyer already owned a dealership and the two were fierce competitors with puffed-up egos. I learned very quickly that if this sale was going to continue progressing in the right direction toward closing that I would have to hone my refereeing skills to complete the sale.

Establish communication ground rules

When buyer and seller meet for the first time, pay attention to how they communicate with all parties involved. Communication styles will reveal early on that there might be conflict, friction, etc. The broker’s intermediary role is to establish ground rules which both buyer and seller agree to. They need to have confidence that their broker will provide polite and reasonable solutions to any and all areas of concern.

When communication became “less than friendly” in the above story, I reminded the parties of the original ground rules of agreeing to communicate through our office rather than directly with each other.


    • • Recognize communication styles of buyer and seller.
    • • Identify potential areas of conflict.
    • • Establish communication ground rules.

I am convinced that implementing the above ground rules allowed us to close this difficult sale and will help streamline future listings.

Steve Schaub is an Advisor with Sunbelt Business Brokers. He can be reached at (408) 436-1900, or at [email protected]