Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Etiquette

If you aren’t careful, you can easily give off the wrong signal inadvertently during your M&A proceedings. Failure to follow up quickly, return calls, and give complete answers is an easy way to turn off the other side and kill a deal.

Show interest in doing a deal. If you’re not interested in pursuing a deal, communicate that to the other side. Here are a few more quick pointers to help you make the best impression:

  • Respond to a direct question with a direct answer. Sellers most often break this rule. Instead of addressing a basic question like “What were revenues last year?” with a simple answer, Seller decides to dive into a 15-minute monologue about something that sounds impressive. In this case, Seller doesn’t impress Buyer; Buyer merely gets bored and may even wonder what Seller is hiding.

  • Don’t put on airs. Sometimes one side is so intent on impressing the other side that it instead looks foolish, childish, and amateurish. The best course of action? Just be yourself. Don’t think you need to go out of your way to impress someone. Trying to impress someone rarely works and often backfires.

  • If you don’t know something, just say you don’t know it. You’re not going to impress the other side by talking about things you don’t know. If you’re not sure, simply say, “I need to check into that and get back to you.”

  • When you say you’re going to do something, follow through and do it! No explanation needed.

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