What are Business Sellers Thinking in 2021?

Alex Karlsen

In the world of marketing, it always makes sense to try and start by thinking of this . . . "What is my target's pain point?"

I’m not talking about physical pain. But the “pain points” that your messaging needs to tap into to get a response.

I’m kind of a car guy so I took a car analogy here . . . let’s look at this extreme example.

Imagine for a second if Ford put up a billboard to sell cars based on technical specs that read like an internal memo.

“Ford looks to sell cars to middle class Americans who appreciate our US-centric brand and competitive pricing.”

I mean, I’m not a Ford guy, but that messaging is not going to get me to buy a car. Instead, in this example, I’d expect to hear about the benefits you get from buying the Ford. Things like:

  • How a Ford truck helps you earn a living, or
  • How a muscle car helps you capture your fleeting youth or your road-born freedom.

Again, this is an extreme example, but we’re seeing a lot of private equity groups, in spirit, that adopt this same poor strategy with their marketing messages. They reach out to business owners or intermediaries with an impersonal message like “ABC fund looking to buy companies with the following criteria”.

To truly execute effective sourcing campaigns. you should build personal connections first. Talk about how you can help the person behind the solicitation. Tell the business owner how you can alleviate their specific pain.

The pain a business owner feels at a given time might be:

  1. Trying to plan for tax changes announced in 2021 (still TBD?).
  2. Trying to escape a job they’ve created.
  3. Trying to figure out how to retire, after a strange year in 2020 that caused reflection.
  4. Tying to scale a business that maybe they’re not well equipped to at that stage of the business’s lifecycle.

There’s plenty of pain to be solved by a good professional buyer.  Take a moment to craft any communication you have to meet those potential pains. It will do wonders for your response rate . . . which will lead you to more acquisition opportunities.  I can guarantee it.

For more help in developing an origination strategy, check out our Deal Origination service for Private Equity firms here.

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