10 years ago I was laid-off as a Chief Financial Officer of Universal Music Group’s internet technology divisions, after nearly ten years in the entertainment business that included playing a key financial role in the acquisition of Polygram Music Group, a $10.5 billion acquisition.
There weren’t any jobs in the music industry at the time as the internet and digital music killed the business. So I began searching for a business to buy. That didn’t work out to well as I found business brokers to be non-responsive and often unprepared. Two in ten of my inquiries went unanswered. Keep in mind I was a 1%’er as they say today, so one would think a broker would attach themselves to me, they didn’t! So after a failed two-year search and three broker blown deals, I thought about developing a business model whereby technology and the internet could be used to empower buyers by providing quality information at their finger tips instead of a broker controlling all the doors to information, using internet technology to help the broker indentify buyers, and building a brand that attract Sellers.
I think we’ve succeeded. Do a Google search for “Sell my Restaurant” or “Sell my Bar.” We’re at the top and that has generated more than 400 seller leads this year alone. Some 8 years later SellingRestaurants is the top restaurant brokerage in the nation with a website generating 8-10,000 unique vistors per month and over 50,000 members who have signed up for our listing updates and educational information. We’ve sold nearly 500 restaurants with a market value of nearly $75 million in those 8 years and we did this with an average agent role of 6. And four of those years have been tough years, as we all know.
Brokers have empowered companies such as BizBuySell.com (BBS) to control their internet marketing. Brokers give their content to BBS who turns-a-round to use that content to build their business by attracting buyers, and we pay them for it! Brokers get no direct access to the buyers the broker’s content attracted, none! You have a listing with a price change, too bad. No one who had an interest will know. If you want to know who’s viewed the listing for that fact, you’ll never know. These advertisers have controlled the buyer market place giving broker no access.
So it is time for broker to wise-up and control their internet marketing! So what I did to fight this problem was to build a website that gives buyers an incentive to become a member so it empowers me to market directly to them. Then when I have a price reduction, I notify those interested buyers immediately because I know who they are. I have also added features that reduce the amount of time and energy an agent spends doing paperwork and shifts it to giving them more time to analyze buyers and sell. This all adds-up to a brand-building model
There is obviously a lot more going on with my business model, but I hope that I can get a few brokers to revisit their internet marketing strategy!