Making Initial Contact

Steps to Selling your Business Part 17.

We’ve previously discussed the Sale Book as being one of the end products in the Preparatory Phase. The Sale Book contains everything a potential buyer needs to know to decide if they are interested in your company or not. In essence, it’s your advertisement. 

Although we may approach ten different companies with ten different reasons they should be interested in you, typically, we only have one version of the Sale Book.  

Our first outreach to prospective buyers is highly tailored to each company whom we are targeting.

Outreach begins as another storytelling exercise. During the preparation stage of the sale process, your M&A Advisors worked to understand your story, inside and out. The names that comprise the list we generate of prospective buyers are finalized only once we know their story. 

For initial market outreach to those potential buyers, our responsibility as M&A Advisors is to weave two stories together.

At Stillwater, we take this craft very seriously. Diligence pays off: it allows us to locate and lock in on the buyers who have the right kind of interest in your company from the outset.

Sometimes showing the intersection between the two stories is easy; for example, you approach the pencil manufacturer if you’ve got an eraser factory for sale. Sometimes, from our perspective as external Advisors, we get to see and point out exciting points of intersection that neither buyer nor seller may have considered.

An example—would you ever think to approach a shingle manufacturer to buy a company that makes thin solar panels? Dow Corning did that very thing about ten years ago. Now that particular story has seen a few exciting course changes since then, but at its heart, it was about seeing an intersection that no one else had: thin-film solar panel technology could turn shingles, a necessary yet relatively unevolved product, into an electricity- (and profit-) producing asset. That’s brilliant (literally).

At Stillwater, we task ourselves with finding disruptive, innovative opportunities just like that one. 

We want to get a buyer thinking in a new way about their business and seeing your business as a necessary addition to their own. Once we’ve identified those opportunities, it’s our job to reach out to buyers and tell the story that they and they alone need to hear.

We get excited when those unexpected opportunities are identified and brought to the table; you should too. An interested buyer who sees the connections between their story and yours is precisely who you want to work with.

We’ve found that even if the pitch we bring to the buyer is wildly unexpected and points out some opportunity that no one would have thought of, nine times out of ten, their response is “tell me more.” 

Why? Because we do our homework. We find the connecting story, and then we tell that story well. We think there’s a shortage of clear thinking and new ideas in the marketplace at large, which is why we believe that when it’s time to sell your business, you should talk to us —that’s what Stillwater brings to buyers: clear thinking, new ideas, in a story that’s all about you

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