This is a great question and the reason isn’t obvious.
The answer is two-fold. First, ENLIGN is the only firm in the region that charges a retainer from business sellers. We beleive this creates a self selection scenario where sellers that don’t beleive their business will sell never list with us because they don’t want to spend good money after bad – and that’s fine with us! (we credit the retainer back at closing so it doesn’t cost any more to work with ENLIGN). So, for that reason we start with fewer (but, higher quality) listings.
The second reason is BECAUSE WE SELL THE LISTINGS WE HAVE! We don’t accept every listing (even if the owner is willing to pay the retainer). We have refunded retainers in cases where the owners representations turned out to be “less than reliable” or Sellers became unrealistic about the value of their business.
We only engage with businesses and business owners that we feel have a high probability of receiving offers and qualifying for financing.
In short it’s because we start with fewer higher quality listings and are able sell them – in most cases quickly. So far in 2013 we have sold 3 businesses before they could even be listed on our website.
But, we don’t sell every listing. Some industries are more difficult than others and the smaller the business is – the harder it is to sell for a variety of reasons. Sell through percentages discussed at national and international conferences would imply our close ratio is among the highest in the industry and double that of some.