Deal Sourcing: Buyer Strategies for Unique Messaging

Alex Karlsen

Deal origination is an effort in audience building and storytelling.

As the private equity universe of buyers continues to grow, most firms can no longer rely on access alone.  Sellers increasingly want to transact with buyers whose values and trajectory align with their own.  

This is why we always encourage buyers of businesses to spend as much time considering content strategy as they do acquisition criteria.

Like all marketing and messaging, the most effective strategy for your firm will likely be the one that aligns most authentically with your brand.  Each firm will naturally have some variation in how they message.  

Here are a handful of effective messaging strategies that we have seen used by buyers, and notes about their advantages and disadvantages.

Personal

Plain language and less formality define a more “personal” approach to sourcing messaging.  This approach style is often short and to the point without coming off as aggressive.  

A personal tone typically works well for small firms and sponsors, but also for large firms that are trying to build one-to-one relationships and/or stand out from firms with more corporate messaging.  

Transparent

There is a lot of noise in the world of sourcing. Sellers are inundated with messages. Leading with a no-nonsense, transparent approach can generate great results.

Many firms find success by explaining their perspective on value, close times or structure up front (even in the introductory email). This strategy aids in allowing leads to self-identify easily as good/bad fits without much back and forth.  

*Note: There are instances where this style of communication can come off as impersonal and should be tempered with a more personal follow up strategy.

Corporate

There is still a time and place for the use of a more corporate voice. With so many smaller and mid-sized buyers active in the market, having a formal corporate voice can differentiate your firm from newer and smaller firms. Further, many business owners are weary of dealing with unknown names and cold solicitations.  Leading with a formal and professional voice can be a quick trust builder if authentic to your brand.

Value added

Firms who prefer to position themselves as a resource rather than in search of a deal benefit from a more value added approach.  This involves more long form content delivery, and a voice that speaks to a group audience rather than an individual.  

This strategy relies on the firm remaining top of mind so that when a seller begins to explore exit options, they start with the firm that 'gave' them the most before asking for anything.  White papers, industry intel and 'how to' related content are tested ways to build an audience, although they typically do not generate immediate lead flow.

Regardless of which content strategy your firm uses in its origination outreach, please note that the most productive firms sound and often act different than most other firms.  Find your voice and don't be afraid to use it!

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