Personal connection matters, especially when it comes to the first connection with an owner of an acquisition prospect. This first connection is a decisive step. Handled correctly, it can initiate a positive relationship that may eventually lead to union. Handled poorly, that one phone call can terminate your opportunity to buy.
When initiating contact with an owner, I highly recommend using the phone. This may seem unremarkable, but I have found the idea of contacting owners by phone is actually somewhat unusual. I estimate that 85 percent of third-party advisers, including investment bankers, first contact a prospect by letter.
While this option may be less costly in time, you get what you pay for. With a letter you have no way of knowing how the owner immediately reacted or even if the letter was actually read.
A phone call allows you to establish a personal link and make a lasting impression. In the first few moments of a call, you can demonstrate your understanding of the company’s history, strengths, and business environments and show your appreciate for the owner’s role. This creates credibility and demonstrates the depth of your knowledge. You can also respond instantly to any questions or concerns, as well as ramp up excitement by laying out your vision tailored to that specific company.
Acquisition is relationship-driven process. Phone is a far better medium for starting a relationship than mail.
*This post was adapted from David Braun’s Successful Acquisition, available at Amazon.com