M&A – Do your research
I’ve had an ongoing series running on my blog dealing with various topics related to mergers and acquisitions (link to the full serieshere). As part of that group of posts, Daniel Benel wrote a guest column from his perspective as an m&a professional at Verint. Yesterday he dropped me the following note: I was in a negotiation last week where the bankers on the other side had googled me and found my blog posting on your site and then started complaining that I NEVER believe projections! I thought it was pretty funny — not sure if it helped or hurt. While it’s amusing that this happened it brings up a good point about preparing for any negotiation (or fundraising pitch or customer meeting, etc.) which is that you should take a little time to figure out who it is you are meeting with. Sounds obvious, but sometimes the obvious advice is the best advice (plus I’d say that this level of preparedness is the exception rather than the norm in my experience).
Most people won’t go out on a blind date without Googling their prospective dinner partner. Don’t walk into a meeting – particularly one as important as a negotiating session to buy or sell a business – without doing some prep work. Figure out what they like; what they’ve written about; what books they are reading; what articles have been written about them; where they went to school; who they know that you know; etc. Then use this information wisely to make a better connection with the people you are dealing with. A little upfront work can lead to large dividends around the negotiating table.