How to Negotiate Dental Practice Transitions Like a Pro
For a NAPB dental practice transition broker, negotiation is part of the job. From partnership buy-in agreements to space sharing agreements and everything in between, our days are spent dealing with contracts and covenants. Most of the time, negotiations go smoothly, but if one derails, it can cause a tremendous amount of stress, frustration and holdup for all parties.
The ultimate goal when buying or selling a dental practice is for all parties to walk away from the table feeling like they got a “good deal.” Tensions can run high when making such a big transition. The seller may be embarking on a new phase of life and they want to capitalize on years of hard work. The buyer may be just starting out or making a shift in their career and they don’t want to bet on the wrong horse, if you will.
Trusting in the process and having a sense of humor can really help your dental practice transition.
Here are a few tactics to negotiate like a pro:
- Be knowledgeable: Get a sense of who is sitting across the table. Humanize the person(s) you’re dealing with during the transaction. That aids your ability to stay steady and negotiate from a place of calm.
- Be flexible: The best solutions often come from unexpected places. If you’re locked into an outcome, there’s no room for those creative possibilities.
- Be optimistic: You’re receiving guidance from a dental practice transition specialist. There are no enemies here. Everyone wants the transition to go well so approach the experience from a place of confidence that you will find workable solutions for all parties.
- Be fair: If you ask for something for your benefit, be prepared to give up something to the other party in order to close the deal. Quid-pro-quo. Again, not with an attitude of score keeping, but from a perspective of: How can we ensure this is a genuine win-win?
- Be realistic: Along the same lines, operate from a place of reality. If you are selling a dental practice with antiquated equipment and a less-than-ideal location, you may have to lower your asking price. Go in with a clear understanding of what’s most important to you, but not in the vein of “let’s make a big stack of cash without improving the practice in any way prior to listing it.” This would be considered unrealistic and counterproductive. You do have to consider the buyer’s viewpoint as well.
- Be polite: You’d be surprised what can be accomplished simply by being courteous and asking nicely. If you find yourself getting heated or frustrated, take a breath or even take a break. A walk around the building can often alter my outlook in a significant way.
- Be respectful: Stay right-sized. In other words, don’t operate from a place of inferiority or superiority. Neither will ultimately help you arrive at a consensus.
As we’ve discussed in previous articles, because there is so much intrinsic and intangible value within a dental practice, it’s important to uphold goodwill throughout the dental practice transition process. There is more than just a building, equipment and money changing hands. There’s a history, patient relationships and a presence in the community. All these factors require some fluidity and sensitivity.
Call your local dental practice broker today for a free consultation.