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Three generations of chiropractors discussing selling a practice.

Selling Your Practice: Understanding Your Buyers

Selling your practice? Not all buyers are created equal. Understand the type of person purchasing your practice, and you may have an easier sale.

Guest Author

When it comes to selling a practice, communication is key. Preserving the relationship between the concerned parties is essential for a successful sale.

This can be challenging when there’s an age difference involved. Different generations have widely varying expectations for the style, frequency, and type of communication that takes place.

To help avoid conflicts and smooth the sales process, I’ve compiled a few rules for communicating across generational lines. I’ll also go in depth on the differences between generations and how to effectively motivate each.

General Rules

  1. Respect your peers. Not everyone will share your background, perspective, philosophy, or priorities. This isn’t a bad thing—if you enter conversations with an open mind, you may even learn something. Extend each doctor the respect you would want in a transaction. People often don’t know what they don’t know.
  2. Be willing to communicate on their terms. Even if it’s outside your personal comfort zone, do your best to accommodate the preferences of the people you work with. Baby boomers may be most comfortable speaking in person or on the phone, while younger doctors might prefer to text or email. Adapt as best you can.
  3. Don’t overcompensate. It’s important to welcome other perspectives, but don’t change who you are. There’s no need to pick up trendy slang or learn to use social media platforms if that’s not your style.
  4. Give them a break. Not everyone will be as respectful, prompt, or professional as you might like. This can be especially true in a practice sale because all parties will be spending extra time and money on the sale, and emotions are likely to run high due to the impending life changes. Show grace and understanding as often as you can throughout your communications. Try to understand where miscommunications might occur, and don’t let difficulties discourage you. Remember- this is a big life change for both parties. Many can get caught in analysis paralysis.

Generational Tips

Baby Boomers

  • Baby Boomers generally are the least comfortable with digital communication. Face-to-face conversation is the best choice and speaking over the phone is the next best option.
  • They prefer direct, clear communication and value detailed background information.
  • Their standards are high, and they appreciate quality in goods and services.
  • Many baby boomers structure their lives around work. To connect effectively, steer conversation toward work-related topics rather than personal lives.

Gen X

  • Generation X was the first to adopt email as the primary mode of professional communication. They are most comfortable with written communications, although phone conversations are still welcomed.
  • Gen Xers are more likely than Baby Boomers to accept an informal and flexible communication style. Many are comfortable with alternative platforms like Facebook. However professional etiquette is still noticed and appreciated.
  • To motivate Gen Xers, acknowledge their expertise. Feel free to bring up both professional and personal topics in small talk.

Millennials

  • Millennials favor efficiency and a digital-first approach in communication. They generally prefer conversations over email, text, or private message to talking on the phone.
  • Work-life balance is a strong priority for millennials. Overall, this generation is less likely to structure their lives solely around work.
  • Millennials embrace change more easily than older generations, and they may be less formal in professional communications. This can come off as disrespectful or unprofessional to baby boomers however it truly is generally a reflection of the lack of experience that they have not yet had the time to acquire.

Gen Z

  • Generation Z is most comfortable in a digital-only world. They prefer quick communication through text, chat, or images.
  • Gen Z tends to be emotionally aware and engaged with social issues. Political correctness is valued. Everything needs to be perceived as socially accepted and “fair.”
  • Technological fluency is a major asset in today’s world, but some Gen Zers lack the in-person social skills of older generations.
  • Gen Zers also tend to be excellent multitaskers, but they may have a short attention span, less attention to specific details, and more interested in “the big picture” versus the minutia or “why” of a specific communication experience.

No matter which generation you’re speaking to or which you come from, do your best to enter conversations without judgment. The above generalizations may be useful in building connections with buyers and sellers of different ages, but everyone is different. Treat your peers with respect, courtesy, and civility, and you’ll be much more likely to achieve a closed practice sale and enjoy a pleasant post-closing transition.


About Crystal MisenheimerCrystal Misenheimer

Crystal Misenheimer received her BBA from Baylor University in International Management Information Systems. She worked in database management in the non-profit sector prior to taking over the management and marketing aspects of three of Kevin's chiropractic clinics. As the Lead Broker for Progressive Practice Sales, Crystal has helped hundreds of chiropractors to successfully transition into the next stage of their careers. With an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of practice valuations, the constantly changing challenges of the current marketplace and the many complexities of practice sales, Crystal is the leading expert in the chiropractic practice sales space. You can find her regularly featured in industry podcasts, blogs and periodicals. She lives in Chattanooga, TN, and enjoys spending her free time hiking, practicing yoga, and spending time with her husband Kevin and their four children.

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