Closing is complete and the task of getting the clients and employees settled in with the new owner begins. Seller and buyer working closely together with the same goals should yield a successful, smooth transition, but it is not without potential pitfalls.
No human likes change, including sellers, buyers, clients or employees. So, investing time in planning for this process prior to closing will make the actual transition go much smoother. Having the seller on board and willing to commit the proper amount of time necessary to the process is key. The seller best knows what each client needs to feel comfortable with the change in ownership. The seller knows best what each employee needs to be able to settle in with the new owner as well.
Below are some tips we can offer after being involved in a few hundred of these transactions:
- Make sure buyer and seller are on the same page and in agreement with how to handle client contact. You need to be a united front. You may choose to have face to face meetings with certain clients, send letters, emails or phone calls
- Let the seller handle any upset clients or employees initially so as not to take a chance on them leaving the firm before they have had a chance to fully understand what is happening and how it affects them. It is hard for a buyer to handle disgruntled clients and employees as they could be viewed as the “problem” initially, the one that caused the change.
Transition is a word that rolls off the tongue easily, but in all reality is a task that demands much time, much care, and great wisdom to be create a successful outcome.