Ray White Commercial to Embrace Business Sales

by Allan Johnson 26th of March, 2024
Ray White Commercial to Embrace Business Sales
Ray White Commercial to Embrace Business Sales

His varied and exciting career experiences have equipped Brett Buckley of Ray White Business Sales with the knowledge and skills needed to be an outstanding business broker.

From leading and managing large private, listed and local government organisations across seven industries in addition to owning two small to medium enterprises, Brett’s business experience is evident. With a strong history of applying this experience in mergers and acquisitions, Brett has the skills to successfully transition businesses to new owners. “I’ve been a vendor, and I’ve been a purchaser. So I have absolute empathy and
understanding for what vendors and purchasers go through, particularly the emotional rollercoaster involved in transacting a business,” commented Brett.

He has also gained formal educational qualifications in management, marketing, property and project management, and (of course) business broking.

AIBB has recognised his ability to apply his knowledge and skills with the SA Business Broker of the Year award for 2020, 2021, and 2022. In 2023, he received the award for the highest dollar value of business sales in Australia.

Do you have a preference for working with purchasers or vendors?

“Early in my career, I worked as an acquisitions specialist, and when I became a consultant, most of my consulting work was around acquisitions because that’s what everybody knew me for,” explained Brett. “I also became a buyer’s advocate for a couple of corporates that work in the dental field and we still do some buyer’s advocate work but only for medium or larger SMEs.”

Brett started his business broking career initially on his own before joining another business broking firm. Despite his history as an acquisitions specialist, Brett realised he enjoyed working with vendors.


Brett continued, “I actually prefer working for a vendor. Quite often, when you’re transacting a business for a vendor, you’re dealing with vendors who are probably reaching the end of their working career, and this sale will form part of their retirement. So there’s great satisfaction in knowing you’ve assisted them to enhance their retirement.”

And now you’re with Ray White?

“Yes, I was approached by the SA/NT CEO and have been with Ray White since December 2017. We have gone through a massive rebranding exercise,” said Brett.

He explained that the “Ray White” brand is synonymous with residential property for most Australians.

“But we’ve grown the commercial business (commercial property and businesses) large enough to warrant a separate brand now. The idea is to make it easier for the marketplace to identify the difference between residential and commercial. So we’re now RWC, which is Ray White Commercial,” Brett continued.

Although the rebrand will enable efficient marketing of the commercial side of the business, the restructure encourages specialisation, which Brett sees as the most valuable benefit. “Within Ray White Commercial, some of the sales team focus on commercial property, but I operate as RWC Business Sales (my company) and as RWC Practice Sales specialising in medical and veterinary practices,” explained Brett.

“We don’t sell property of any type unless it’s part of a business we are selling,” Brett elaborated. “So now we’ve got people who are specialists dealing with each area. It also means that whatever you are selling, we can help.”

As Ray White is a national (and international) brand, RWC Practice Sales is already a national presence, and RWC Business Sales is on the same path with plans to expand both businesses internationally in the pipeline.

And Brett also plans to utilise his M&A pedigree to build that service into RWC Business Sales. “Traditionally, the big four accounting firms have only been interested in the large, high-profile transactions. I see a hole in the market in the mid-size range for a specialist, formal M&A service instead of a simple buy/sell transaction. We have the skill sets and people with the business acumen to achieve that,” Brett commented.

Currently, what businesses are difficult to sell?

Brett’s response was encouraging for business owners - “they’re not more difficult or less difficult than any other business. There’s always somebody who’s interested in that market.

What you’ve got to do is be smart enough with your marketing to be able to engage those people without spending too much of the vendor’s money.”

As part of the initial appraisal process, Brett and his team always ask, “Would we buy this business?” before listing. Brett is convinced that there are no bad industries, but there are poor businesses within any industry.

We sell all sorts of business. I’ve even sold a memorial business - a tombstone business!

We’ve sold electronics businesses, engineering businesses, recycling businesses, and so on. As long as they’re a good business, there’s always a market for them,” Brett continued. The appraisal process is critical to the whole sales process, and Brett emphasised that it’s
not a one size fits all situation. “You can’t automatically say profit times a multiple equals value. Each business will have some unique characteristics that feed into the valuation process.”

“That particularly applies to RWC Practice Sales, where we deal with medical practices. With dental, for example, it’s not just the number of patients on the books. You have to consider the opportunities for extra services in addition to the regular checkups. You need to analyse the item numbers of the services provided and what each of those is worth to the practice. You need a higher level of expertise,” Brett explained.

“For any business, the value of referral sources may be significant. You can’t ignore these types of factors if you are doing the right thing for your vendor,” said Brett.

And, what is your sales process?

Brett is convinced that the relationship between broker and client is critical to a successful outcome, so the initial meeting focuses on ensuring both parties can effectively work together.

Once the relationship is established, Brett prepares an appraisal. “We normalise the financial statements to adjust for items unique to the vendor. We review market information for similar sales and the features of this particular business, including competition and history. We also include our marketing plan for the business and our estimates of the costs,” Brett explained. “We list 98% and sell about 96% of the businesses we appraise and sell them at the listed price because of how our appraisals are conducted.”

With the vendor’s approval, the business is listed and the marketing plan is implemented as specified in the appraisal. As well as responses to the general marketing, Brett has access to the Ray White database of potential purchasers. “I can search the database using parameters such as budget, industry, location, etc to identify possible leads,” he noted.

All the preliminary work completed during the appraisal pays dividends when an interested purchaser is found. “Now, it’s not the purchaser we’ve got to convince because we’ve already convinced them, the person we’ve got to be able to look in the eye and give good solid answers to, is their accountant,” Brett stated. “Their accountant is tasked with making sure that they’re making a good investment. And, because I complete a thorough initial appraisal, I’m going to have most of the answers for them.”

“In the end, vendors are choosy about where their business goes,” Brett observed. “In most cases, they want their employees taken care of, the business to keep growing, and their suppliers and clients taken care of. If the vendor isn’t quite sure about that fit, it won’t transact.”


But that doesn’t happen very often. “Because we get to know the vendor well to start with, and we know what they’re looking for in a purchaser, we usually avoid those situations,” Brett commented.

In conclusion

Brett’s meticulous approach to the appraisal process, tailored to each business’s unique characteristics, showcases his commitment to achieving successful outcomes. The emphasis on relationship-building and thorough preparations underscores the importance of trust in a successful broker-client relationship.

He is looking forward to building the business broking business within the Ray White ecosystem and utilising his M&A expertise to meet the needs of mid-sized SMEs everywhere.

Tags: selling exit strategy tips feature

About the author

Allan Johnson

As a former accountant and financial planner with almost 50 years in the industry, Allan has a wealth of experience to share. Offering his unique pers ...

view profile

Related Articles

The Dance of Business Sales

10 March 2024

The Dance of Business Sales

The absence of the business broker, serving as the principal of the ballet, gracefully performing on stage and...

6 Ways Cafe’s Can Apply AI to Increase Their Value

15 February 2024

6 Ways Cafe’s Can Apply AI to Increase Their Value

With over 2,000 cafes for sale in Australia, a competitive advangage is important. In the next 5 years Artifical...

Want to Exit Your Business in 2024, Here is What you Need to do Now

18 January 2024

Want to Exit Your Business in 2024, Here is What you Need to do Now

The decision to exit your business is a significant milestone that requires careful planning and strategic...

10 Key Benefits of Providing Vendor Finance

31 October 2023

10 Key Benefits of Providing Vendor Finance

With the increase in interest rates and difficulty obtaining loans, vendor finance may be an option you should...