How to Tell If Your M&A Meeting Went Well
Trying to determine whether a meeting went well is a difficult proposition. People are usually polite; regardless of whether they’re interested in pursuing an M&A deal, they usually end the meeting by saying something to the effect of, Thanks for your time; my colleagues and I will confer over the next few days and get back to you with our thoughts.
Most Sellers will gladly accept an offer from just about any Buyer. If Seller set a meeting, most likely Seller is interested. Judging Buyer’s interest level is the trickier job. Here are some clues you as Seller should look for during the meeting:
Was Buyer prepared? Did she have a marked up copy of the offering document? If Buyer is genuinely interested, she’ll come the meeting prepared.
Was Buyer actively engaged in discussions? Did she ask a lot of questions, or was she otherwise preoccupied? Did she fidget with her phone or constantly shift in her seat? These signs indicate that someone is losing interest and would rather be elsewhere. Spend some time during each meeting looking at Buyers and paying attention to their facial expressions.
What was Buyer’s mood and tone? Was the conversation lively, animated, and frankly, fun? Or did the meeting take on a testy atmosphere? Personal chemistry is often a big part of getting a deal done.
Did the meeting end abruptly, or could you have talked all day? Another sign of lack of interest is a meeting that ends sooner than you planned. Conversely, a meeting that could easily continue for a few more hours is often a good sign of interest by Buyer.
If you’re Seller, the best sign of actual interest from Buyer is to get an LOI. And if you’re Buyer, Seller’s request for an LOI is a good sign of interest as well.