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Should Brokers Identify Themselves Here as Brokers?

There appear to be a few brokers here who have taken every possible step to hide the fact. In their profiles they categorize themselves as individuals or business owners. They also don't disclose their website and use a free throwaway email account like Yahoo. When you contact them on the assumption that they are the owner, you are shocked to discover that they are a broker.

I have compared notes with a couple of other buyers here who have been caught in the same type of trap. If you trick a buyer into thinking that you're a seller, he or she is unlikely to trust you. It's a really bad way to start a relationship.

Please identify yourself honestly.

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Answers (26)
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How to Buy a Business
WA

HOWEVER, we do not endorse the use of being anonymous or falsely identifying oneself as a means of baiting other users to gain business.

--

Glad to hear it.

Oct 12, 2009
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BizBuySell
Los Angeles County, CA

Good job folks. Thank you for not forcing us to shut this one down.

I am glad to see how so many of you really read the thread, understood the good intentions of each post and helped to get to some objective resolution.

For the record, BizBuySell's stance on the initial subject is that users of the forum should be free to be as anonymous or open with their identity as they are comfortable with. HOWEVER, we do not endorse the use of being anonymous or falsely identifying oneself as a means of baiting other users to gain business.

We don't care what email address service you use whether it be yahoo, mailinator or your professional business email address, please just do not choose an email address simply to deceive our users. Again, if you just wish to do so to remain private, that is perfectly understandable.

Thank you all for continuing to make this forum a useful tool to all.

- T

Oct 9, 2009
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How to Buy a Business
WA

Is there a lesson in the market feedback provided by this discussion? I believe that there is. However, people can choose to either heed or ignore it.

As for my comment about "upgrading," well it was a joke, and I suppose a lame one at that. It merely reflects my goal from the very beginning which was to transition into ownership. During my years as a broker, I was proud of my profession and never tried to hide my job title from anyone. That's the best strategy for building trust with potential clients and buyers in the brokerage business.

Oct 9, 2009
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Hello John. Thank you for your kind comments. I know you are just trying to diffuse the situation on the board. And yes, you were right about the "grudge" comment, however, I should have not let him get to me. All brokers have to deal with people like this and I should have just realized that it's part of the process. Again, I apologize for my part of keeping this ridiculous discussion going. Continued success to everyone.
Angie

Oct 9, 2009
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Mark, you are correct. i did not mean it the way it sounded. i just wanted to her to know that there was no heat btween me and her and that my opinion was from a business owner with no agenda at all. I could have worded it differently and kept you out of it but you were "convenient." Sorry for presenting my point wrong.

Oct 9, 2009
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Monmouth County, NJ

John:

This is not a case of having a "grudge". I posted a completely anonymous post to this board. When someone is ignorant and in turn responds with a plethora of fallacies, I have a right to defend myself.

Oct 9, 2009
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Actually Angie, if you look at the responses by matthew richardson you will see that his responses started this mess:
quote
Sounds like you two gentelmen are just upset that you can't keep sales people off the board. This board is open to everyone not just you, so stop complaining to the bizbuysell and putting out the fake complaints on the message board. If you are as good as you claim you are, then competition won't be a problem for you now will it? Matt end quote
Mr. Richardson even accused Don of trying to "squeeze out the competition."
I do agree with you that the "upgraded " comment was not right but other than that both peter and don are spot on. If you read Mr. Richardson's posts he is endorsing brokers who use clandestine tactics by writing they are justified because they are "little guy competion."
Slightly off subject:
When I was selling my one business i specifically wrote " no brokers please." You know I got 3 responses from potential buyers who after the second or third e-mail came out of the closet and told me they were brokers. A fourth told me he already had a buyer for me but then he proceeded with the usual procedure of listing , etc. I asked him point blank if he had a buyer for real or if he just wanted to list my business. I never heard from him again. I didn't have a problem with getting a broker but if i wanted one I would use one of the ones that I know in town and not some stranger in Myrtle Beach. No need to be shady about things was Peter's point and I agree. Mark might have a grudge against you but I do not. But seriously not disclosing you are a broker and using an alternative e- mail adress to lure somebody in is a sad attempt to get a sale.

Oct 9, 2009
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Monmouth County, NJ

Excuse me Ms. Graviola. But how do you know what I did and did not provide and what brokers I have dealt with? Not put any money down? Not sign NDA's? Excuse me. But you have NO CLUE of what you are talking about. I have signed multiple NDA's and have CASH to put down. Oh but excuse me for not wanting to pay ALL CASH for one of your dating service website businesses. ( boy, those should have interesting non competes ) Hey, and thanks for providing any references, your brokeage firm name ( if you have one ) and/or a website. Very professional. Do I really want to deal with someone who I contacted here and that person did not even have the decency to provide this info? Was I supposed to JUMP IN and sign your NDA to view your so called profitable Webites and Ebay Stores prior to you even telling me "who you are" ( yes, remember that question.. "who are you" )? You have your FACTS ALL WRONG. I have done my diligence for months now and have gotten nothing but the run around from brokers who have listed businesses that portay numbers that are unrealistic. Oh, and how do you think I found the businesses to go look at? You cannot get an address unless you sign an NDA and I have looked at at least 15 businesses during the month of Sept. Oh, and I also was in contact with my local SCORE representative. So yes, Ms. Graviola, I am a VERY SERIOUS BUYER and you fall into that category of brokers ( or is it business owner ? ) that are just not worth my time.. So when you say: "This is why "we brokers chose" not to communicate with you. Nothing "deceptive" about that.", you really are speaking for youself not other brokers because I have had multiple conversations and face to face meeting with brokers.

Your empty defensive statements are proof of your lack of professionalism. Read what you copied and pasted over again and perhaps one day you will realize that you are way off course with your desparate comments.

Oh, one final note. I currently own two companies and have decided to form a 3rd and I am buying pieces of other peoples businesses to build mine. I found these sellers via my own diligence. 100 % my own.

Oct 8, 2009
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Once again, there is no disagreement on this subject. There is only disagreement about wild accusations being made by the "Gods" of the board who have now "upgraded" above and beyond us lowly brokers. And the fact that we underlings may use someother kind of "crude" email accounts to track different leads does not mean we are doing something "deceptive". That's what some of us are in disagreement about.
Angie

Oct 8, 2009
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I agree with Peter. All he is asking is that you accurately represent yourself from the beginning. I would never do business with somebody who did not represent to me from the beginning who they were. I am shocked that there is disagreement on this subject.

Oct 8, 2009
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Case in point to Mr. Makuta,
I was someone you also contacted and as I recall, you were ignored by SEVERAL brokers because of your attitude of wanting to know all about everything without providing any business information on yourself. In addition, you did not want to put any money down, making a big deal about signing an NDA, and basically not wanting to decide on anything. I believe, you even wrote about it on this message board:

"Well, I think I am getting screened out because I am not responding quick enough to the brokers I have made contact with. I am beginning to wonder if there is any "business buyer consulting firm" or "buyer business broker" in existance because I am begining to get extremely frustrated in searching thru business for sale listings via brokers I have registered with. They all talk to you and give you a lot of their time on the phone for the first few weeks but if you srcutinize the listings they suggest for you and it seems if you do not file an LOI sooner rather than later, they tend to stop communicating. I've been very seriously looking at listings for the past 6 weeks and I tell you my phone did not stop ringing for the first 2 weeks of that period. But, being that this does not work like Real Estate meaning No co-op on fees, no similar MLS, etc.---everyone has their own listings so a buyer has no choice but to use multiple business brokers and research everyones listings which takes time.

Am I missing something? Here is what I've been doing:

1) going over multiple business broker websites whom I have registered with
2) searching on mulitiple "business for sale" websites for potentional new opportunities. Just today I went over 1500 listings in my State from a new website I found and bookmarked about 35 for further review and possible broker contact.
3) Narrowing down the businesses where the "initial' numbers potrayed by the seller look intriguing.
4) Requesting addresses of those business locations that meet # 3 requirements and then go to view the business(s) on multiple occassions of course after filing NDA's.
5) After reviewing the establishments and patronizing them I decide whether or not to remove the business from my list or continue to view. A LOT get removed because of location issues, store conditions and just common sense that tells you that there is absolutely no way the establishment is doing the numbers that the seller portrayed in the listing. ( THIS is a major issue ).

I do all of this because:

A) I do not want to waste my time and money. But, I have no problem going to various locations.
B) I do not want to waste my accountants time ( my money ) while he conducts diligence on multiple listings.
C) I do not want to waste the brokers time
D) I do not want to waste the sellers time.
E) I do not want to waste my lawyers time ( and again my money )

If I found 24 businesses that interest me from a website and/or broker and the numbers look intriguing, am I supposed to file an LOI on all 24 without going out to view them? One would think not. So the catch 22 that I am finding is being that I am not responding quick enough, it appears that I am being put in that 95 % "buyer window shopping" category."

This is why "we brokers chose" not to communicate with you. Nothing "deceptive" about that.

Oct 8, 2009
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Monmouth County, NJ

Case in point. I contacted someone from this community board. That individual was listed as a business owner. The e mails I received clearly indicated that the individual was a business broker. When I inquired about any association with a business broker corporation, a website or references, I received nothing regarding that requested information. But, I did receive some businesses for sale via type written e mails. I chose not to communicate with this individual anymore.

Oct 8, 2009
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How to Buy a Business
WA

Angie, you really need to reread the part in my posts where I mention brokers who identify themselves as business owners rather than as brokers. Now why on earth would anyone do that?

Oct 8, 2009
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The BAF Group LLC
MD

Angie, I would be happy to drop this line of "conversation", except that I believe you have repeated an error that caused me to respond a second time on this topic. That point being that I do not believe you or Matt really read the original posting, or my responses to it.

If you read - really READ the original thread - you will see that I really did not accuse anyone of anything. I asked questions. And I was very careful to suggest that the people who do not list their status as Brokers may not be doing so in a way that was purposefully deceptive. I specifically addressed Matt's concerns by saying, "I am not criticizing you for a possible alternative position on the subject."; I just did not understand his point.

Moreover, I believe it was Matt, and now you that have been accusatory. Matt suggested a conspiracy about an effort to prevent other Brokers from posting comments on the Community, and you have accused me of not listing my own status as a Broker. Angie, what the heck are you reading? I began my participation in this posting by stating that I was, in fact an active Broker. And I list my Web Site in every posting I write.

Finally, I see nothing wrong with a HEALTHY dialogue on this, or any other issue. I have offered advice that, on several occasions other Brokers have argued against; sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong - in my opinion. When they are correct, I have even gone so far as to thank them. When I believe they are wrong, I don't attack them for their opinions, and I certainly don't suggest they stop writing.

Oct 8, 2009
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For God's sake Peter and Don, give it a rest will you? You both sound very accusatory in your postings. Just because someone may use a yahoo or other type of account doesn't mean they are, in your words "deceptive". And why are you even posting about brokers when you admited you aren't one now? Are you being "deceptive"? I think everyone has made their point so let's just move on and enough with the pointing fingers.

Oct 7, 2009
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Monmouth County, NJ

I find both Peter and Don to be two of the most informative contributors to this forum.

Thank you for that.

Oct 7, 2009
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The BAF Group LLC
MD

Peter, I thank you for the very kind words. Now, I hope I don't screw up in what I am writing below and cause you to eat your words!

Matt, I don't know what to say to you. My response to Peter's original post had absolutely nothing to do with attempting to keep other Brokers off the board. Far from it; it was simply an affirmation that they should identify themselves as such.

In Maryland Real Estate Law, any advertising by Real Estate Agents and Brokers stipulate that they clearly identify themselves in such a way that they are able to be held accountable for their claims. I see no reason why, if a Broker here is offering advice, he/she should not do the same. Not necessarily as any kind of ethical or legal requirement, but simply as a matter of common courtesy.

Moreover, if the reader is given advice, it would seem logical that it would be best for him/her to know the source of the information. Who is giving this advice? How do they come by the knowledge on which they base the advice that is given? If the comment comes from a business person, that person should ideally also divulge their background, for that same reason. If a Buyer is looking for information on Gas Stations, and someone offers a comment, wouldn't that be far more valuable if the Buyer knew that the Broker/writer had dealt with Gas Stations before; or that the writer had owned a Gas Station, and that was the basis for the response? What is wrong with that?

But Brokers, in my opinion - and it is only my opinion - have a bit of an added responsibility in this area. We are selling ourselves; we are selling our expertise; we are selling our experience and knowledge. The bigger question is: Why should a Broker NOT disclose his/her position? What does he/she have to hide?

I am not criticizing you for a possible alternative position on the subject - whether you think a Broker should or should not disclose his/her identity is your choice, and you obviously have strong opinions of your own on the subject. I am uncertain you explained that in a way I can appreciate.

And what I REALLY cannot comprehend, is how you came up with the idea that this was some conspiracy to keep other Brokers from posting in the Community. I have read Peter's thread over and over again, and I cannot find a single place where this would seem to be his stated intent. And all I did was to state that, as a Broker, I agreed.

If I were looking to block others, I would be saturating the Community with inane comments, a number of times each day, every day of the week. I am not. Take a look. I attempt to contribute only when I feel I have something of value to offer. And I find Peter's comments to be germane and worthwhile. Neither one of us would seem to be attempting to monopolizing the boards and crowding others out.

The issue is not to prevent Brokers from posting comments; if Peter is correct in that a number of Buyers have felt tricked by a failure of some Brokers to disclose their true professions, then whether that was their purpose or not, it is a reflection on the rest of us Brokers. And it is a negative reflection.

The primary question is then: What is wrong with being honest?

Oct 7, 2009
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How to Buy a Business
WA

I will just add one final comment in defense of Don Barrick. I do not know him personally as we are on opposite coasts, but he has shown himself to be an exemplary intermediary judging by his posts. He actually takes time to answer people's questions instead of merely using the opportunity to flog a franchise or listing.

Moreover, he clearly identifies himself as a broker.

The profession needs more like this gentleman.

If I ever have a business to sell in his state, I will be talk to him first about the listing.

Oct 7, 2009
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How to Buy a Business
WA

Matthew, I never singled you out, so why are you taking this so personally?

I'm also not a broker. I was years ago but upgraded to buyer.

Oct 7, 2009
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Cook County, IL

This is the last time I answer your ridiculous claims Peter. Obviously, you're not doing such great business if all you have is time to harass people.

#1, I never listed myself as a Business Owner, so that's just more of your made up rhetoric. AND #2, I do not have a yahoo account, but, some people do, so that means they are doing some deceptive?

Just grow up and stop making accusations against the little guy competition. What type of "broker" does that make you?

Oct 7, 2009
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How to Buy a Business
WA

Matthew, if you want to use a different email account as a crude way of tracking leads, you can still identify yourself as a broker and post your brokerage firm's website here.

Oct 7, 2009
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How to Buy a Business
WA

Matthew, I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that anyone is trying to keep sales people off this board. No one is. What some people are annoyed with are brokers who hide the fact that they are brokers, as I clearly explained below.

If you're a broker why on earth would you hide the fact by selecting the "Business Owner" option instead of the "Broker" option offered by BizBuySell and use a Yahoo email instead of one tied to your corporate website?

Is it just a case of a broker trying to avoid paying the BizBuySell account fee for brokers? Or is there more to it?

Oct 7, 2009
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Cook County, IL

Gosh Peter, there is nothing deceptive about using a different email account to see where your leads are coming from. I've known two other people that you have tried to make trouble for on this board. The only complaints are from brokers like you trying to squeeze out the competition. Stop whining and just do your job.
Matt

Oct 7, 2009
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How to Buy a Business
WA

Gosh Matt, sounds like you support deceptive business practices.

Don and I don't.

So, we will have to agree to disagree on this one.

Oct 7, 2009
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Cook County, IL

Sounds like you two gentelmen are just upset that you can't keep sales people off the board. This board is open to everyone not just you, so stop complaining to the bizbuysell and putting out the fake complaints on the message board. If you are as good as you claim you are, then competition won't be a problem for you now will it? Matt

Oct 7, 2009
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The BAF Group LLC
MD

Amen! And this is stated by a Broker!

Oct 6, 2009

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