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May 5, 2022

5 Must-Have Processes for Highly Effective Deal Making

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5 Must-Have Processes for Highly Effective Deal Making

Unconventional Acquisitions

May 5, 2022

Want to know what public enemy #1 is when it comes to making deals? 


More specifically…how you spend it and how fast it takes you to move through the dealmaking process.

If you’re new to the world of making deals, there’s one thing you’ve got to keep in the back of your mind: the longer it takes to fully execute and win a deal, the higher the likelihood for it to get derailed somewhere along the way. 

You’ll want to streamline your process, get organized, and hold onto your momentum without rushing through the negotiations or doing your due diligence. Not sure how to do that? Unconventional Acquisitions can help with that.

Here’s where we recommend getting started to help you save time and make money while you’re knee-deep in deals:

1. Set weekly, measurable goals around your deal-making process. 

When you’re in the throes of finding a new business to acquire, there’s a lot of upfront work and hustle required just to get on a call with someone, much less finding a business that is a good fit for your portfolio.

Instead of focusing on revenue numbers or the growth of your portfolio (which can sometimes take MONTHS to see traction on), set goals that are measurable around your efforts.

A few goals that we recommend tracking weekly: 

  • # of owner and/or management calls conducted
  • # of new, quality prospects contacted
  • Time spent sourcing new prospects

2. Setup a deal tracker to streamline your early process.

When you’re in the early stages of finding prospective deals, it’s a numbers game. At some point, you may find that you’re shuffling through dozens and dozens of potential leads, trying to figure out where to focus and what your top priority is.

One way to create more efficiency and keep your ducks in a row is to use a CRM tool or even a simple spreadsheet to keep track of who you’re talking to and the value of deals you’re working with at any given time. 

Here’s an example…

Use a CRM tool or Google Sheet to keep track of deals and potential leads. Source: Tools on Tools Cloud

You can track whatever you’d like, but the few thigng that we think are non-negotiables are:

  • Name 
  • Contact info (email, phone number, etc.)
  • Website
  • Lead source
  • Estimated value
  • Probability of success 
  • Date added
  • Last touchpoint
  • Next followup date

You can also create a column or section to include any notes that you learn over time. If you’re using a CRM tool, you can also set up an automation to remind you when it’s time to follow up with your lead if they’ve been unresponsive. 

Half the battle of dealmaking is getting visibility into your deal pipeline, so tracking potential leads and where you’re at with them in every stage of the process is key. Plus, you’ll have metrics around some of your repeatable tasks—like how long it takes you to research, negotiate, and ultimately fully execute a deal—that will help you get more efficient over time.  

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can also create a similar tracking spreadsheet, but intended for keeping up with the contacts in your network that you lean on during the dealmaking process.

3. Create templates for repeatable communications and touchpoints. 

As you get more confident with what your dealmaking process looks like, you’ll want to create templates for as many of your repeatable tasks and communications as possible.

Think of it this way: if there’s a certain type of communication you know you send, every single time you’re kicking off a new deal, create a document so you can copy/paste the content and add in any extra info, or upload it into Gmail as a template.

A few key areas of dealmaking to create templates for are…

  • Your initial communication email
  • Your meeting agenda and post-mortem notes
  • Questions to ask on owner call
  • Letter of intent

You should also document all of your repeatable processes in an SOP to help you save on time and/or so you can eventually outsource this part of the process to a sales rep. 

4. Establish scorecard metrics for all prospective deals and track accordingly. 

If you’re not already, make sure to stand up a post-mortem process for any deal you begin the deal-making process with.

Our general rule of thumb for tracking metrics is…if you make an initial touchpoint with a potential deal (i.e. send an email, call the business, DM the owner, set up a meeting), the deal should be tracked, even if it stalls out.

Here are some metrics we recommend gathering data around: 

  • # of letters of intent executed
  • Win rate/conversion rate for deals that made it past the letter of intent stage
  • Average deal size (revenue, profit, cash on cash return, etc.)
  • Deal cycle (i.e. average # of days from initial touchpoint to signed contract)

Setting quarterly metrics around your goals will not only help you stay organized, but you’ll be more efficient and be able to predict and manage your capacity. If you’re looking to expand and scale faster, these numbers will also help you determine if you’re ready to hire a sales rep. 

5. Build a robust post-mortem deal review process. 

Once you’ve got the basics in place from above, the next thing you need to build is a post-mortem process for every. single. deal. where you initiated a touchpoint. 

But before we get into the how, let’s chat about the WHY

First up, you want to make sure that your efforts are being spent on deals that are viable. We’re not here to waste time on low-quality leads, so a solid post-mortem will help you source better leads and help you know what a good deal looks like to you.

The more you can nail down what qualities this looks like to you, the faster you’ll be at sourcing and seeing those patterns in future prospects. 

Secondly, once you get an idea of what you like, it will make it easier for you to outsource the research and initial stages to sales reps. 

As far as dynamics to flag and figure out what you do and don’t like, here are a few ideas:

  • Entity status (i.e. LLC, S-Corp, foreign corporation, etc.)
  • Seller financing availability
  • Reason for selling (i.e. retirement, relocation, shrinking industry, partner problems, etc.)
  • # of employees 
  • Years in business

Want to spend LESS time chasing down bad deals and MORE time actually enjoying buying businesses in the boring? We’ll help you figure out which type of business to buy next, plus how to make your process smooth and streamlined, in our online course for small business buyers

…or if you’re really serious about investing in small businesses, you should probably head over and join our mastermind

Yours Unconventionally,

Codie & Ryan

Co-founders – Unconventional Acquisitions

If you want to learn more about how to find and buy businesses, check out these articles 👇

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