Rule 1:You choose the broker, don't let the broker choose you! If you've been cold-called, been "chosen" to attend an event or have otherwise been targeted, walk away! Do so even if they claim to have a buyer for your business (which is possibly a fake claim anyway).
Rule 2: There is no substitute for research. We maintain the UK's largest knowledge base on brokers, their fees, their terms, who's specialised in selling what kind of business, who has exploitative terms etc., but you can do a fair bit of research yourself ... and without paying for assistance to find the right broker. Start with a business broker directory and do research on at least a few dozen brokers before narrowing the choice and deciding on which ones you are going to approach.
Rule 3: If yours is a smaller business, with turnover of less than £1 million, you may be better off selling the business yourself. Many brokers at this lower end of the market don't do much more than list your business on RightBiz and sit back. That doesn't take a genius and they don't deserve 10% of your company for doing that. Read a few books on selling businesses, talk to a few people (maybe even take up our offer of a free consultation by using the contact form on our website). Then create your own RightBiz listing.
Rule 4: Talk to several brokers before you make your choice. Most will take the time and trouble to come and meet with you. Take them up on that, have a long list of good questions to ask, and grill them on what they'll do for you and how.
Rule 5: Read the small print. Then read it again. Then have a lawyer read it to you and explain some of the implications of what are sometimes harmless looking clauses! Hundreds of business owners have been caught out by these contracts. Ask CEBTA. Don't be one of them.