A ‘good’ deal is when each party feels relatively positive about the outcome. Making each party emerge a winner is the essence of a ‘great’ deal.
Often, conceding to the other party what they want will not impact what you want in a material way. I always put myself in the place of the person with whom I am negotiating a transaction. Money is not always the number one priority of sellers. A seller may sell for a price below maximum value if the seller owner believed the culture and fit was the first priority. We must look at the other side’s interests.
Common ground needs to be established so both sides are satisfied and motivated for future success post-transaction. It may take innovation and creativity to achieve the end goal, which is the optimization of the interests of both buyer and seller.
Relationships Determine Mutually Beneficial Deals
Major investment banks, charging huge fees, employ sophisticated search engines to identify buyers for seller firms. My experience and twenty plus years doing M&A has proven (to me) that it is our network and relationships that generate most of our seller clients, as well as buyers. An ongoing, constantly updated pipeline is the most trustworthy source.
So, after we choose which firms we would like to represent as sellers the next challenge is finding the right buyer to do the right, quality deal and that comes from wisdom, insight, experience and industry knowledge.
Once we believe we have identified the right buyer then next steps is the tough, very rigorous analysis of putting a fair value on the firm we are presenting. The prospective buyer is doing the same and then multiple discussions on value, deal points and unique requests come into play.
- Does the seller have competitive advantages?
- Are there unique specialties?
- How will the seller be accretive to the buyer?
- Do the potential rewards justify the risk the buyer is taking with the down payment wired to the seller’s account at closing?
If all of the many successful deal requirement boxes are checked the chance of a deal closing and being a win-win for both seller and buyer are very favorable.