M&A Sellers: How to Contact Potential Buyers for Your Business

By Bill Snow

Here’s the skinny on M&A deals: Some companies are sitting by their phones like a high-school girl waiting for an erstwhile date to call, hoping to hear from a company that’s looking to sell.

These waiting-by-the-phone companies come in two types: private equity (PE) firms (which are basically pools of money seeking to buy companies) and strategic buyers.

Strategic Buyers can be a little more difficult to navigate, and the larger the firm, the more complex the hunt. But almost all buying companies will hear the sales pitch of another company that’s for sale.

Resist the urge to e-mail a target before calling. Most people consider e-mails from people they don’t know spam and delete them sight unseen. And the recipient may not even be an employee of the company!

For best results, have a phone call be your first contact with the organization. Have a conversation. Determine the appropriate person to speak to. Leave a voice mail if you have to. After you determine your target actually works for the company, and especially after you’ve left a message, a follow-up e-mail may not be a bad idea. But make the call first.