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TIME TO SELL? DON'T LEAVE ANYTHING ON THE TABLE

It's a common fear. You've come to the decision that it will soon be time to sell your brokerage. Will you walk away from the table confident that you negotiated your best deal? Could you have done more to get more?

According to Tony Carlton, there are many things brokers can do to ensure they achieve top dollar for the sale of their brokerage. Carlton is the CEO of Carlton Advisors Inc. (CAI), a consulting firm specializing in helping insurance brokers prepare for and negotiate the sale of their brokerages. "We work with brokers to develop plans to get their brokerages running as efficiently and effectively as possible -- from processes to people and everything in between. Regular check-ins ensure that the plan is being executed and on track." Not all brokerage owners end up selling. After completing their consultation, some owners have "the fire in their belly" reignited and decide not to sell after all.

Begin with the End in Mind

Of course, before the plans can be developed, it's critical to establish clear goals for life after the sale. Are you headed straight for the beach of the golf course? Do you foresee a slower transition, wanting to cut back on your responsibilities over the next year or two? Is rewarding key employees or preserving the legacy of your firm's reputation critically important to you? "The answers to these questions have a great impact on the plan, the kind of buyers with whom you'll want to make a deal and, ultimately, the deal you want to make," Carlton explains.

Get Experience on Your Side

There is no shortage of consultants who aim to help improve your brokerage's performance and productivity. However, what sets CAI apart is Tony Carlton's firsthand experience in the brokerage sale process. Carlton was a broker for over 21 years and the owner of his successful brokerage for 17 years before deciding he wanted to sell. "I spent 13 months evaluating and improving every aspect of my operation to best position my brokerage for sale." Carlton eventually sold his brokerage at a value that exceeded industry standard. He stayed on in management for a while before realizing what he really wanted to do was to help other brokers improve their operations, prior to selling their brokerages for increased returns. "I knew brokers could use a hand at the negotiating table and really benefit from the lessons I had learned," Carlton says.

Value is in the Eye of the Beholder

Some of those lessons led to a keen understanding of what is important to brokerage buyers and what will give you leverage when negotiation your deal. "Buyers will know that if CAI is involved in prepping the brokerage for sale, they will be buying a turnkey operation, which they find extremely appealing."

Rounding Out Your Team

"When I decided to sell my brokerage, I had the best lawyer and accountants as advisors, but because they weren't insurance brokers, they couldn't see what needed to be done to increase the sale price," recalls Carlton. "They also didn't understand the nuances of the industry enough to see the opportunities for structuring the best terms of the deal. That's where I ADD VALUE."

Because More Means MORE!

You've heard the expression, "Less is more." Well, when it comes to the sale of your brokerage, the opposite is true, says Carlton. "More is MORE! The more value you bring to the table means more leverage for commanding a terrific offer. The more expertise you have on your team means more negotiating skill and power. And, the more you earn on the sale means more funds for your retirement or next adventure."

So, if you're thinking of selling your brokerage, don't leave anything on the table. Visit CarltonAdvisors.ca and follow @moneytreesmatter on Instagram.

-The Alberta Broker
April-May 2020