Identifying the Perfect Buyer

Steps to Selling your Business Part 13.

As you complete the preparation stage, momentum will begin to build and you will feel a sense of acceleration as you strain towards the finish line. It is time to showcase your business in the marketplace. Who do we show it to?

Going to market is one of the stages in the sale of your business that requires more than just a mechanical process.

Skilled M&A Advisors know there is as much artistry as there is procedure within this step. We won’t show your business to just anyone.

We start with a market survey; depending on circumstances, this may be a limited or a full market survey. Our approach will differ depending on which of these choices is best for your situation, but what we’re outlining here applies equally to both approaches.

Market outreach is another reason we place such a high value on the preparatory phase we have previously blogged about. At this point in the sale process, we sit down and take a long look at everything we’ve revealed in the previous phase:

Each unique value driver helps us sketch out a picture of an exceptional ideal buyer.

At the end of this process, we prepare a list of multiple parties who will have a high likelihood of finding something attractive (and hopefully irresistible) about your business.

It’s important to remember that something you consider of secondary importance in your company may be a primary selling point for a buyer.

Based on your value drivers, we may develop 15 to 20 different profiles of what a potential buyer might need and then build a list of names out of each. We now have a diverse roster of contacts custom-matched to the unique selling points of your company; these are the people we specifically approach about your business.

For example, your location may be a factor that’s driving profitability; there’s a potential match with buyers looking for geographic expansion or, a buyer might see the value in the technology you have in place; or perhaps they could benefit from some of your well-developed processes or need access to a product line that you make better than anyone else.

The marketing materials we send to these people are identical, no matter how different the particular need is. Every potential buyer needs to see the whole story of your company, from every angle. Our initial contact with each prospective buyer, however, is highly individualized. Each buyer who receives the sale book needs to know why we are contacting them explicitly. In our contact with them, we will highlight the specific value drivers and areas of interest that we know will best appeal to them.

It is critical that you work with the best M&A Advisors because creating a list isn’t a matter of flipping through the Yellow Pages, circling names.

Stillwater maintains an enormous proprietary database of contacts that we use to create your roster of potential buyers. But it’s not just about having the most names and numbers at our disposal; we also have a research team dedicated to that database. It is constantly updated and designed to do powerful work behind the scenes in matching you with qualified buyers who want what you are offering.

Suppose your Advisors aren’t devoting that kind of energy to staying on top of their network of contacts. In that case, the list you get will be much more haphazard, less accurate, and much less effective.

Look for Advisors with experience and long memories; look for an M&A firm that is leveraging its technology on your behalf.

It pays to do so; expertise will work in your favor on the final sale price and ensures that the sale process progresses smoothly.

Get that list of contacts right, and you’ll save yourself a lot of wasted time talking to the wrong people. It is much better to walk up to the table with your ideal buyer already waiting. That buyer is usually someone who’s looking beyond the dollar signs and is genuinely interested in what you and your company are doing.

It’s a great feeling to know that you received the price you deserve at the end of a sale. It’s an even better feeling to know that your company is in the hands of people who saw something worth continuing.

If you are planning to divest your business, or have questions for one of our Advisors, please contact our team today.

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Written by: Douglas Nix