Never Let a Website Buyer’s Criticism Sabotage Your Website Sale

September 11, 2014  |   How to Buy & Sell Websites   |     |   Comments Off on Never Let a Website Buyer’s Criticism Sabotage Your Website Sale

The process of selling a website can be very emotional. In fact, selling any asset for a large dollar number is emotional. Even veteran website sellers get offended when website buyers criticize their website or asking price. Many sellers get so angry that they decide to pull out of negotiations.

As a website seller, you must remember that your objective is to sell your website. Your objective is not to socialize or make friends. You’re trying to sell your website for the highest price you can receive for it. And website buyers are trying to buy your website for as little money as possible.

These conflicting objectives mean that buyers and sellers will sometimes say things to each other that the other party doesn’t want to hear. As a seller, you have invested time, money, blood, sweat, and tears in your website business. So it’s normal if you get offended by negative criticism about your website from a potential buyer.

A website broker can be very effective as a buffer between a buyer and a seller. A broker is less emotionally-attached to the website for sale. He’s less likely to get offended and emotional in the face of criticism. He can “translate” the buyer’s criticism into less offensive and more palatable language that is easier for you to digest. A good broker will rarely relay to you the exact insulting language or harsh words that may come out of a buyer’s mouth.

If you sell your website without a website broker, then you have to keep your cool in the face of negative criticism from potential buyers.

You also have to put yourself in a buyer’s shoes. Buyers never offer the asking price of a website. They always offer less. Thus, they need to justify these lower prices. How else can they do this without discrediting some value in your website?

It is expected. Don’t allow yourself to get offended and sidetracked by this. Focus on closing your deal. The trick is to always ask a buyer for his offer after he has criticized your website.

Some buyers criticize a website just for the sake of discrediting the website and its seller. They may have no real intention of buying the website. Get rid of these tire-kickers as quickly as possible.

Separate the tire-kickers from the real buyers by telling buyers “I’ve heard your opinion, so now what’s your offer?” 

Always ask for an offer.

If you don’t like the buyer’s offer, calmly explain in factual terms why you disagree with the buyer’s opinions and submit your counter-offer.

At this point, many inexperience website sellers talk about the amount of hard work they put into building and operating the website. Buyers do not care about your hard work. They only care about themselves and acquiring the asset for as little money as possible.

Some other sellers talk about the potential and future value of the website to justify a higher multiple for the website. The website was started by the seller but any future value in the website will be based on the buyer’s work. So experienced website buyers never pay higher multiples today based on unpredictable value tomorrow.

Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. Buyers buy what has already happened. They buy actual historical numbers that they can verify today.

The lesson today is simple: Do your best to remove emotion from your website transaction. It’s not as easy as I’m making it sound here. It is difficult. Even the most experienced website sellers that I’ve worked with occasionally “lose it” when a buyer criticizes their website or makes a low-ball offer. It happens to everyone. It’s business. Don’t take it personal.

I’ve been part of negotiations where a seller receives a great offer on his website but wants to turn it down because of a negative comment made by the buyer about his website. There is a financial agreement but an emotional disagreement.

If you can’t reach a financial agreement, it’s OK to walk away. But never walk away because you have an emotional disagreement.

Your job is to sell your website. Focus on the historical facts of the website. Use comparable website sales if you have them to justify your valuations. Ignore you inner emotional noise. Sell your website.

Take the buyer’s criticism and take the buyer’s money.


Kris Tabetando provides mergers & acquisitions (M&A) advisory and brokerage services to Internet companies. He also partners with investors to acquire & manage Internet businesses.

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