Selling Your Dental Practice: Why You Should Not Tell Your Staff About the Sale

In his decade’s long experience as a dental practice broker, Dr Gary of Health Care Practice Sales, LLC has had to repeatedly caution selling dentists not to tell their staff about their plans to sell the business. As a former dentist and current dental broker, Dr Gary has negotiated hundreds of transactions. In all his experience, he’s never seen an instance where informing the staff benefitted the staff or enhanced the sale. In fact, it was always detrimental. Here’re a few reasons why the dental staff should never be told of the sale until the transition is, at least, finalized.

The sale is disruptive

A dentist’s staff is often made up of professionals who’ve worked harmoniously together for an extended period.  They’ve all learned to work fluidly as a team. The dentist, however, is the center, or the nucleus, of the dental practice. Once you take away the nucleus, you destabilize the entire entity.

Since the dentist and staff work well together, the announcement that the practice is being sold is never met with enthusiasm. To the staff, they see the sale almost like a divorce. The selling dentist and staff have become a working family and no family welcomes the news that they’re breaking up. It’s an emotional time for all parties.  Unfortunately, emotions are unpredictable and hard to control.

How will the staff react to the news about selling the practice?

Ideally, the selling dentist who announces that the practice will be sold hopes that their staff will be supportive of the dentist’s decision. This is a very optimistic perspective. The reality is two-fold. Yes, usually the staff does (personally) support the selling dentist’s future plans, but their primary concern is, of course, their own well-being. They may feel their jobs are in jeopardy.

In truth, your staff’s jobs are rarely in jeopardy. When Dr Gary’s dental accountants do a valuation on your practice, your staff is valued as an asset. Simply put, they add to the net value of what you can ask for your selling price.

Key staff members may still jump ship

By prematurely announcing that the practice will be sold, the selling dentist creates an element of chaos into a formerly predictable and stable environment. Your staff contributes significantly to the value of your office, which contributes to the price you will eventually get for your business. If you create an atmosphere of chaos, you may encourage an exodus of your whole staff.

While it’s highly unlikely your staff will quit, there could still be a slowdown in office production if the staff is prematurely told you’re selling the practice. As a preemptive measure, your staff may start taking time off or using vacation days to check out available opportunities elsewhere.  Any reduction in activity will reduce your income. To you, this may not seem like a big deal but to an anxious buying dentist, this may plant seeds of doubt about the stability of the practice.

Welcoming the buying dentist

Your buying dentist wants to feel welcomed as the new owner of the practice. At Health Care Practice Sales, Dr Gary will find you the best possible buying dentist. Until that buying dentist is selected and a viable deal is hammered out, your staff doesn’t need to know anything about the transition. You should not feel guilty about keeping them in the dark. Their jobs are safe, and in the end, their jobs are what they’re most worried about.

Dr Gary has counseled hundreds of dentists in the successful sale of their practice. Admittedly, it is a stressful process to sell your practice to another dentist and say goodbye to your life’s work. It’s an undeniable fact of life that time doesn’t stand still for anyone. Nothing lasts forever and letting go is hard.

Moving forward with the sale

Luckily, Dr Gary has been through all this himself when he sold his own practices. He has personally stood in your shoes. Although you may be uncomfortable about keeping your plans to yourself and not telling your staff, this is actually the most caring and kind way to proceed. If you care about your staff and your business, keep your plans to sell your practice to yourself. It takes time to find the right buying dentist and sell your practice. Deals often fall through. Sometimes it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride but rest assured, Dr Gary will find you the right buyer and get you top dollar for your practice.

You and your staff need to just focus on business as usual and let Dr Gary handle the rest. He’s been through all this and you’ll be grateful and glad that you listened to his advice about keeping your plans to yourself. You can’t unring the bell. Speak to Dr Gary at Health Care Practice Sales before proceeding. His cell phone number is 201-663-0935.