Buyers and sellers are not chess opponents. They’re not at war. Yet investment banking information targeting these two groups often pretends otherwise. Ultimately, the two parties share the same goal: completing the deal as successfully as possible, with minimal disruptions to each party’s life and operations. Understanding these goals can inform your negotiation process, helping you be more strategic as you endeavor to get a better deal on the sale of your Dallas company.
It’s about more than price
It’s easy for owners to fixate on sale price, and for good reason. But this should not be the only consideration, and it’s often not the most important. The terms of the deal can affect how much money you walk away with, your role in the company after you leave, and how the sale affects your team long after you’re gone. It’s especially helpful to get expert guidance if you are considering negotiating any sort of earnout provision.
Know your numbers
For many owners, the final walkaway price is only a vague notion, not a specific figure. You must know your walkaway price, so that you don’t make an emotional decision when negotiations are otherwise headed in the right direction.
Be strategic with concessions
Like it or not, negotiating a sale is always going to involve some concessions. You will never get everything you want. But you can get more of what you need by making strategic concessions. Let the buyer know when you’re giving something valuable up, and ask them to sacrifice something of similar value.
Understand your negotiation partner
Don’t treat the other side of the negotiation table as an unknowable black box. They have their own interests, that can be quite apparent if you’re willing to practice a little empathy. Understanding what the other side wants doesn’t mean you have to agree with them; it does, however, empower you to prioritize their needs in a way that encourages them to also prioritize yours. Knowledge is power. Get to know the person you’re working with.
Set the tone for everything
Sometimes it’s unwise to tip your hand and make the first offer. But in many cases, the first offer, first concession, first term change sets the tone for everything that comes after. Consider how making the first decision may empower oyu to control the direction of all subsequent decisions during negotiations.
Forget the sunk cost fallacy
The sunk cost fallacy is the tendency to persist with something that is not working because you’ve already invested too much time and money. It’s never wise to walk away prematurely. That’s because if you’re making progress, even in small steps, you can probably make the deal work for oyu. If things are falling apart, though, don’t persist with a deal that seems doomed to failure.
The right sell-side team can help you discern the difference between a small disagreement about price and a massive chasm. They can help you establish reasonable expectations, understand what to expect from the deal, and much more. Don’t go it alone. You need an investment banking firm in your corner from day one.