Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive Listing Agreements
Peter Drucker said “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes, but no plans!”. We have seen the truth of that statement far too many times. Too often, practitioners are hesitant to sign an exclusive contract with a transition partner. While they recognize the need to have someone working to get their practice in front of potential buyers, they fail to recognize the importance of the exclusive contract as a symbol of commitment to the transition consultant. While it may seem self serving to write about the importance of exclusivity, we find the opposite to be true. Insisting on a non-exclusive listing agreement is a lot like trying to sail a ship without sails. The capacity is there, but motivation and direction are not. With the perfect wind, and the right current, you may get lucky enough to get where you want to go. But wouldn’t you rather set the course?
While the practice owner’s expectations must never be overlooked, it is unreasonable to expect a consultant to execute an effective strategy without an agreement that will give them confidence that their efforts will be rewarded. No one wants to work for free! I’m amazed by how many practice owners are unwilling to sign an exclusive agreement, but expect to receive an “exclusive” level of service. They worry that exclusive contracts limit their options, when in reality, non-exclusivity adds complexity and limits the consultant’s efforts. If all you want is an ad at the bottom of a long list, then by all means, go for it . . . you may even want to consider Craigslist.
If you’re serious about moving on, if you want to see the results of a focused approach, then unbridle your transition partner. Show your commitment by signing an exclusive listing agreement. Give your consultant the opportunity to really invest in your practice, just as you’ve done all these years.