When was the last time you clicked on an advertisement while visiting one of your favorite websites? If you’re like most people, you may think, “I never click on ads!” and maybe you’re right. The reality is, just enough people click on an ad to allow advertisers to justify paying for running those ads.
So, can you actually find someone, that you do not know yet, to acquire your business through a website? Well, the answer is maybe and largely depends on the type of business and the location of the business (and the buyer).
If it is an e-commerce business then the location is not an issue – a buyer can be anywhere in the world. However, if you run a local services business or a retail business, marketing to a national or worldwide audience is not that helpful.
In fact, less than 20% of businesses listed on websites actually sell. If those do not seem like great odds, you may be right. So how do you know if spending a few hundred bucks to list the business on said website is worth it?
If Your Business Is Local, It Is Very Likely A Buyer Will Be Local
Most sites that list businesses for sale will tout the number of visitors to their site, suggesting that more eyeballs will lead to more potential buyers. We have gazillions of monthly visitors!! While there is some logic to this, it is important to recognize a few things before you decide to spend a few hundred dollars on listing fees.
Practically speaking, having lots of eyeballs is not going to help unless those eyeballs are in your community. Additionally, those eyeballs may be looking for an entirely different type of business. Location and industry weed out a vast majority of potential buyers. Throw in the tire kickers . . .well, you get the point.
It is possible that someone in another part of the country is contemplating a relocation but the odds of this are not in your favor.
Instead, you may find that talking to other business owners in your area, contacting the chamber of commerce and other local business entities is far more helpful than an online ad.
Understand If The Value Delivered Is The Value You Need Before Spending Any Money
There is nothing wrong with sites that make money from listing fees. However, if reaching a wide audience across the nation is not your goal, then your goals may not be aligned with the value of this sort of website.
Let’s face it, you’re going to pay a listing fee whether you attract any qualified buyers or not. If no one reaches out after 60, 90 days, or more, you are still getting charged to have your listing on that site. What happens if you are unsuccessful in finding a buyer? Who is going to help you decide what to do next?
Car dealerships are a great example of local advertising – they want to reach people in the local community that will come to the dealership and buys a car. Paying to reach people well outside their market is a waste.
Sites that help you prepare for a sale are great for those that have an interested buyer. The value is not on promoting the business and instead on the steps to take to prepare and complete a transaction. This may allow you to access resources or services not available in your local community. Again, what would be most helpful to meet your goals, and will this online site help you get there?
In summary, getting found is different than getting found by the right people. When it comes to selling a small business, focus your efforts and money on the biggest bang for the buck. Rarely does a “may as well try it” approach lead to success.