Always hire a banker if you can.
Yes, it will seem expensive, especially on a smaller deal.
And yes, they almost never will bring a great second offer in with a bona fide, written, better offer. Unless that second offer was already sort of in play anyway.
But they do several key things:
- Act as a buffer. So you don’t break relationships when you ask for things.
- Create urgency and sense of more offers. Even having a banker try to get you another offer can help move things along.
- Create a bad guy — that isn’t you. Similar, but different, from the first point.
- Help negotiate headache points for you. Escrow terms, stay packages, etc. These can be tough to negotiate, and are important, even if they don’t change the headline size of the deal. You need an agent to help.
More here: If You Sell Your Company, Use a Banker – SaaStr
Even if you already have a handshake deal, still bring one in.