Like any good salesperson, veterinary practice brokers will rattle off a litany of reasons you should have them represent you and your practice in a sale. However, of all the well-intentioned traits they will profess to have, there is only one that will ultimately provide value to you, the selling practice owner. Before we get to that one, let’s discuss three qualities that are completely inconsequential yet bandied about as though they are the be-all, end-all of veterinary practice brokerage:
- Years of Experience – Is the oldest veterinarian the best veterinarian? There is a marginal correlation between years of experience and skill in many professions, and veterinary practice brokers are in this boat. The groups that have been around the longest would like you to believe that their experience selling a practice to VCA back in 2010 has prepared them better to sell your practice today, but it is meaningless. The market is changing so rapidly that yesterday’s experience barely prepares you for today’s transaction.
- Number of Practice Sales Brokered – If a veterinary technician does a mediocre job holding a large dog on a thousand occasions, does that make him/her more apt to do it better the next time? No. Their quantity of deals represented is an excellent indicator of skill in convincing veterinary practice owners to sell with them. It is a nonsensical predictor of getting a seller the best possible deal out there.
- They are a DVM (or VMD) – Please, let’s bifurcate between a doctor’s clinical acumen and their business aptitude. There is no course in vet school related to being a veterinary practice broker. Expertly repairing a golden’s ACL does not put you in a better position to represent a seller. Rationalizing one’s prior clinical career as a reason to represent is playing to people’s desires to associate with someone like themselves, nothing more, nothing less.
The only traits that matter are one’s breadth and depth of expertise in operating a business. Period.
There is a multitude of elements a selling practice owner could desire in a sale. They could be financial. They could be related to their team. They could be related to real estate. They could be related to their employment agreement. The spectrum is wide and it is deep. The ideal broker has expertise, not just experience, in all of these areas. They understand how to grow a private practice. They understand how to make an independent practice more profitable without disrupting the day-to-day. They understand how to optimally structure a lease for a landlord. They know what education and development opportunities are actually meaningful when it comes to making their team better off post-sale. They understand complex transactional details. Knowing these things is the difference between a pretty good deal for you, the seller, and an exceptional deal.
It pays, as a veterinary practice owner, to be inquisitive.
When you interview prospective brokers for your business, ask the tough questions. Don’t bother with asking about being a broker or how your practice will get sold. Ask about the things that were important to you when running your practice. If they seem light on details, move on. Hiring a salesperson will get your practice sold. It won’t necessarily get you the deal you deserve.
How a GretelVet veterinary practice broker could help…
Our veterinary practice broker team prescribes to a business first, sales second approach. We’re extremely selective with the clients we take on, accepting only those who are interested in embarking on a thorough buyer selection process together. In our experience, this methodology is the only way to ensure a seller achieves maximum financial value while also handing over the practice team to a new ownership group that is committed to their ongoing professional wellbeing. To learn more about our broker services, click here.