Industry Spotlight: Ben Jerrom Advises Buyers How To Get The Upper Hand

Ben Jerrom, Liquor License Advisor Partner & Buyer Specialist

In April of 2018, Liquor License Advisor welcomed Ben Jerrom as a Partner and Buyer Specialist.

Jerrom learned to navigate legalese and politics early in his career after interning at the Massachusetts State Senate, working for a local Boston attorney, doing some liquor license lobbying and working in New York City at Baker & McKenzie LLP.

Jerrom admits those experiences have helped him transition nicely into the liquor license and liquor store industry as he has mastered how to communicate effectively with very high-powered, high-operating professionals.

At Liquor License Advisor, Jerrom works closely matching Buyers with stores and licenses that suit their capacity – he gives them the greatest chance of success by working closely throughout the deal with all key stakeholders involved.

 

Here’s the Q&A with our own Client Concierge, Michelle Hansford, who took to interviewing Jerrom.

Where do you spend your time outside of the office?

I love the outdoors in all sorts of different ways. It’s not limited to the mountains, or flatlands, or the ocean. I love doing outdoor activities. I try to get my dog off-leash somewhere at least every other day. I go out on my boat, both with my wife and alone, and I love to hike and camp and go fishing. I do love video games, as a typical millennial boy, and I like to read a lot of news, as political stuff is what I went to school for and I do enjoy educating myself on it a lot.

 

What’s your favourite part of a transaction for a buyer deal?

My favourite part is when a buyer is clear about what he wants and the pre-offer phase. There’s this dopamine rush when you know you have someone really close and they’re excited about a store and there’s all of this opportunity rushing in– and none of the hurdles have gotten in the way yet. Being able to guide them and make them comfortable for the rest of the way is definitely my favourite part.

 

Would you say that you have a process that you guide buyers through?

Yeah, usually the buyer finds a store through Biz Buy Sell, our website, or an email blast, so step one is calling me. Step two is receiving the basic level information about the store and them checking out the store. Step three is the most crucial stage which is getting them enough information for them to feel comfortable enough to make an offer. You don’t want to flood them with too much information during that first call; you want a certain level of excitement and emotional investment so there’s positive buildup before you get into the nitty gritty of everything.

 

What’s your advice for prepping buyers?

I think this question has to do with the level of experience a buyer has. A first or second time buyer should have all of their finances in order, number one, and number two is to trust the advice of your advisor, especially if you’re working with us. A good example is when we’re working with attorneys. I refer someone to an attorney because I think that attorney will be ideal at getting that transaction from offer to close as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Liquor stores and licenses is all I do, so trusting us along the way is the best thing you can do. As far as other preparation goes, know ahead of time what’s important to you. Think about storage space, parking needs, neighborhood preference, what type of store do you want, and if you are prepared for the amount of time that you will have to spend there? Do you have someone in your family that you can partner with who will help guide you along? I would rather know your questions ahead of time.

 

You’ve worked with different experience levels, backgrounds, and cultures. Can you give some insight?

We have experience of working with people of all different backgrounds, thankfully. It’s interesting because sometimes it’s a bit of a study in anthropology because you get to see what’s consistently important to people of different cultures. What the business community is like in the culture where they came from a lot of times reflects how they do business here and how they want to be marketed to. I definitely think that there’s a changing demographic.

 

When you’re working with a buyer for the first time, what’s the biggest priority in advising them and building a relationship?

Number one, find out what’s important to them, and number two, be honest with them. You don’t want to paint everything in a negative light, but you don’t want to lie to them. I have inquiries come in every day – there’s no shortage of buyers. The buyers I have the best relationships with are the ones I have been the most straightforward with. Honesty is definitely the best policy.

 

How do you match buyers with stores?

If you’re new to the market, a huge store with a lot of cash flow, commercial tenants, and a big price tag isn’t going to be the right opportunity for you. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and be honest with what your capacity is. If you need to surround yourself with people who have the experience, do that.

 

Are there hot markets that are doing really well right now?

At the beginning of the pandemic, stores that operate 30-45 minutes outside of Boston were very attractive to people because they have people who commute in and out, are middle-class, and are very desirable – and who wouldn’t want a store in a nice neighborhood. With working from home continuing for some, this has tipped the scale a bit – I don’t know if there’s a market that doesn’t have people going after it right now.

Delivery companies are by far the hottest market sector we’re seeing right now because they don’t have to deal with the same constraints of the competition like walk-in stores do. It makes no difference to them if there’s a walk-in store down the street. They are making a change in the industry and are accomplishing what most cannot. The pandemic has certainly accelerated that.

 

Do you have a big win or favourite story so far?

Yes, I do. My friend Ike was a first-time liquor store owner. He is a Nigerian immigrant trying to build a life and is a very fair and honest guy. He was someone from the start who I was honest about how he could get the deal done and what he was capable of, and where we could be lenient and where we had to be firm. I got him a decent volume store, and he’s on his way to building his business. I was originally reluctant to tell him about this store because I wasn’t, at the time, confident that he’d be able to close something like that, but it’s a great example of building a relationship with someone and a great story of putting trust in one another. Thanks to an attorney who did a great job, and his trusting that the people he was working with were the best, led him to something he really wanted.

 

 

Questions about buying? Contact Ben Jerrom directly for further details on all of our current listings.

Ben Jerrom

Partner & Buyer Specialist

Cell: 413.544.4960

If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love our monthly publication, The Advisor Magazine – click to view more articles like this in The Advisor Magazine – Issue #6.

 

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