You want to answer the question truthfully. However, there is a right and a wrong way to achieve this.
If your reason for selling is very personal, you don’t owe the buyer a lot of explanation. Just provide enough information to give an honest answer. For example, perhaps you’re selling the business because you’re suffering from an illness. There’s no need to go into detail about what ails you. Explain to the buyer that you want to slow down. Tell them you want to take time away from business to focus on your health. Assure the buyer that you’ll stay around to help with the transition. However, make it clear that once that period is over, you’re moving on to other things. Remember, you don’t have to go into great detail about why you’re selling. The buyer doesn’t need to know you need the money to avoid losing your home. It’s not the buyer’s business that you need the money to afford a good divorce lawyer. The point is that some things are private. Unless your situation directly affects the buyer, then you don’t have to share too much detail. Just keep it simple. Say you need a break from running a business. That simple explanation should suffice for the buyer.
If you’re between the ages of 40 and 50, you might feel the need to spend more time with your loved ones. Let the buyer know you’re taking time off from the business to spend more time with friends and family. If you’re older than 50 and thinking of retirement, then let the buyer know. Explain that you’ve enjoyed building the business. However, you feel that it’s time to take a break to enjoy the fruits of years of hard work.
Assure the buyer that you’re not going to ride off into the sunset – at least not yet. Assure the buyer that you’re willing to help them get situated following with sale. The buyer wants to know they can trust you. Keep that in mind when explaining why you’re selling the business. No matter your reason, let the buyer know you’ll help them if needed.