“Here is a timely blog from our own Nick Rodites” Chris
Tips for Buyers: Sell Yourself
A mentor once told me, “People do business with people they like.” For Buyers in the M&A arena, this is an important insight to remember. We often find ourselves coaching inexperienced buyers on using this logic as an effective technique to negotiate their best deal.
While price and terms are important to owners seeking to sell their closely held company, oftentimes Sellers emphasize the importance of finding the “right” successor. They place a high priority on finding someone:
• With the skills and experience to take their business to the next level
• That will take great care of the good name and reputation they have established over many years
• That will treat their employees right
• That are respectful of the Sellers’ personal, emotional, and financial concerns of turning over the reigns to a qualified person.
On a number of occasions, I’ve had owner clients select an offer from someone that met these conditions, rather than alternative Buyers with higher price offers. Therefore, when representing Buyers in our Targeted Acquisition Search Program, we insist on packaging the Buyer in much the same way we painstakingly package a Seller before entering the market.
Packaging a Buyer includes being ready to share:
• Financial qualifications by securing a credit report and signing a personal financial statement
• A professional bio and resume
• A written pre-due diligence list of relevant and thoughtful questions shared in advance of meetings
• A humble, yet positive and confident attitude
Above all, as a Buyer evaluating potential acquisition targets, you need information and cooperation from the Seller as quickly as possible. Approaching your potential targets prepared, and making the effort to give them what they need to qualify you, creates the desire and motivation to want to do business with you.
Whether that gets returned to you in the form of price, terms, extra efforts to ensure success during transition, or any number of other valuable concessions, selling yourself as Buyer is the best approach.