February 22, 2023

Highly Effective Dealmaking: 5 Proven Strategies

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Highly Effective Dealmaking: 5 Proven Strategies

Unconventional Acquisitions

February 22, 2023

Business buyers taking action

Highly Effective Dealmaking: 5 Proven Strategies

Dealmaking loves momentum

Public enemy #1 in deal-making?


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

If you’re new to the world of making, keep this in mind:

The longer it takes to fully execute and win a deal, the higher the likelihood it will get derailed along the way.

To ensure a successful deal, streamline your process, get organized, and maintain momentum.

However, this shouldn’t lead to rushing through negotiations or neglecting your due diligence.

Not sure how to do that? Unconventional Acquisitions can help.

Solid processes save time and make money while you’re knee-deep in deals

1. Establish measurable weekly goals for your dealmaking.

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, not to mention 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 measurable goals around your efforts. A few goals that we recommend tracking weekly:

  • Number of owner and management calls conducted
  • Number of new, quality prospects contacted
  • Time spent sourcing new prospects

2. Set up 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 from Tools on Tools Cloud of a spreadsheet to keep track of deals and potential leads. 

You can track whatever you’d like, but the few things 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 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 for keeping up with the contacts in your network that you lean on during the dealmaking process.

3. Make templates for repeat comms 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 and paste the content then add in any info specific to the deal. Better yet, upload it into Gmail as a template

A few key areas of dealmaking to create templates for:

  • 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 time. This documentation will also come in handy when you eventually outsource this part of the process to a sales rep.

4. Set scorecard metrics for all deals and track them.

Our general rule of thumb for tracking metrics is that 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, that’s data you can learn from.

Here are some metrics we recommend gathering data around:

  • Number of letters of intent executed
  • Win rate or 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 number of days from initial touchpoint to signed contract)

Setting quarterly metrics around your goals will not only help you stay organized, but also make you more efficient and help 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, 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 that down, 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 be easier for you to outsource the research and initial stages to sales reps.

Here are a few ideas for dynamics to flag so you can figure out what a good deal looks like to you:

  • 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.) 
  • Number of employees
  • Years in business

Learn to spot deals worth making

Want to spend less time chasing down bad deals and more time actually enjoying buying businesses? We’ll help you figure out which type of business to buy next, plus how to make it a painless process, in our course for small business buyers.

If you’re still wondering what makes a great SMB investor, read our article Is Business Buying Right For You?

Deal of the week: Speed Wins

This Week in Biz Buying:

Closing Meme:

I want you to be one of the few who do not the many who talk.

-Unconventional Acquisitions Crew

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