5 Reasons Why Your Business for Sale Ad Isn’t Getting Any Responses

One of the most common frustrations in selling a business is attracting qualified buyers – those who are ready to make a purchase and are familiar with the business buying process – as opposed to unqualified buyers. Those “lookie loos” and “tire kickers” will do nothing more than waste your time. This can be especially difficult when confidentiality is important and you must market your business without alerting employees, vendors, suppliers or competitors. In order to overcome this, you must create a business for sale ad that is well-written and includes pertinent information that will both filter out unqualified buyers and stand out to those who are serious about buying a business.

Here are 5 reasons why your business for sale ad may be getting overlooked by qualified buyers:

1. It’s Too Long and Over Written. It’s easy to lose someone’s attention when you offer so much detail and meaningless information that the most important features about your business don’t get noticed. When writing a business-for-sale ad, be succinct and to the point. Don’t leave out any essential facts that would be important to a potential buyer, such as key financials. Highlight what makes the business unique and stand out. Focus on its strengths and future potential. Don’t elaborate; tell them just enough information to get them interested and inquire to know more. Providing a geographic location is also important. For confidential listings, sellers should provide as much geographic information as possible without revealing the exact identity of the business.

2. It Sounds Anxious and Desperate. Oftentimes, business-for-sale ads include language that implies you will do just about anything to sell it, such as putting OBO (“Or Best Offer”) next to the selling price. It’s okay to mention that you’re selling because of “retirement” or “death in the family”, but using language such as “burnt out” or “declining business” makes the business sound worthless and unappealing. An ad such as this would most likely attract bargain hunters and unqualified buyers.

3. It’s Too Hyped Up. Coming on too strong is a fast way to turn off high quality prospects. Describing your business using all caps, saying “A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY!!!” OR “THIS WILL SELL FAST” sounds brash, like you are screaming to get buyers attention. Using exaggerated or embellished descriptions such as, “always packed with customers” when there’s no cash flow or gross income listed will only attract low quality prospects. Any information that’s later discovered as misleading or fictitious may lead to a buyer withdrawing their offer.

4. No Photos or Poor Quality Photos. Contrary to popular belief, a confidential business-for-sale listing can include pictures. Any visually appealing photos that represent the business – even stock photos that represent the business – will draw attention and make your ad much more likely to be noticed than an ad with no picture at all. On average, listings with photos receive twice as many views. If you’re trying to sell a bakery, put a picture of a baker holding a cake; if you’re trying to sell a pizzeria, put a picture of a slice of pizza.

5. No Easy Way To Contact You. Buyers get frustrated if they have difficulty contacting you or if you are slow to respond to their inquiries. It’s very important for you to be accessible and easy to reach; the buyer should receive a response from you within the first 24 hours. Always include a way in which potential buyers can easily contact you, such as voice mail box or an email address that you can check frequently. If a buyer has a hard time reaching you, they will give up and move on.

Is your business for sale ad getting enough exposure? Some businesses are located in very competitive markets, and it may be helpful to boost its exposure by upgrading your ad. BizBuySell’s Showcase Ads receive up to 5 times more leads than basic ads and include a prospect list of potential buyers who have requested information on businesses like yours.

Overall, your ad should be short and to the point, and present your business in a positive light. It should stand out with visually appealing images, be written with clear and accurate information and include an easy way to contact you.

7 Comments on 5 Reasons Why Your Business for Sale Ad Isn’t Getting Any Responses

  1. Great points – thanks!

  2. was a business broker, the first & foremost reason is simply too many businesses for sale and too few genuine buyers !

  3. #6. The price is too high for the value (i.e. risk/reward proposition is bad or maybe the business just sucks, lol). Should actually be number 1 – don’t you guys watch Shark Tank???

  4. Good info. Thank you!

  5. As a business broker, I’ve sold almost every type of business. Some weren’t making money and some were, but I sold them all the same way. I was honest and I didn’t try up sell. I put enough information in the ad to allow people to decide if it was for them without breaking confidentiality. I also got back to them promptly, shockingly not something common in my industry. Choose a broker carefully, they are representing your life’s work.

  6. “It should stand out with visually appealing images…” People are very visual, and it’s very easy to make a judgement based on the images associated with a listing. Strong images undoubtedly = a strong listing.

  7. All the point are dead on correct. They apply th selling anything. The key is to make it simple for qualified buyers to actually buy.

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