While buyers and sellers frequently regard themselves as being on different sides of the table, there is one crucial goal they share: closing the deal. Because buyers want to buy companies at the lowest feasible price and on the most advantageous conditions, and sellers want to maximize price and seller terms, skilled negotiation is a vital component of any deal process.
Negotiation requires time, talent, preparation, and practice. However, there are a few important negotiating methods and techniques that can assist any buyer or seller in working toward success when attempting to close a business investment, expansion capital, or merger and acquisition deal.
Price Is Not Everything
When it comes to the sale or purchase of a business, it is all too easy to become fixated on the price. It’s an important part of the negotiations, but it’s far from the only one. The terminology is also important. What stake is transferred if it is not a full sale? How much do you have? Is the buyer entitled to first refusal on future transactions? Is there any remedy for the buyer against the seller if costly problems occur shortly after the transaction? Is there any seller financing available?
By defining various parameters other than price, buyers and sellers can learn what the other side’s main goals are, allowing both parties to eventually make concessions to the other to keep the deal moving ahead. Perhaps the seller is willing to accept an earn-out if the buyer is willing to pay a higher price. If you don’t include an earn-out clause, the agreement may fall through.
Make Strategic Concessions
In negotiation, concessions are frequently required. However, they are frequently unappreciated and unreturned.
Understand Your “Walk Away” Number
A buyer or seller must commence talks with an understanding of the asset’s fair range of prospective sale prices. You should be aware of the asset’s highest and lowest reasonable selling prices. Buyers and sellers must also understand their “walk-away number,” which is the last threshold for closing the agreement. This will be determined by your best alternative to a negotiated areement. Determine your walk-away number with research and strategy, and stick to it to stay disciplined.
Understand Your Opponent
You must understand the other party’s interests in order to persuade them to accept a contract.
Remember that your negotiating partner is not the same as the organization they represent. His or her salary structure and professional aspirations may influence their decision-making. Understanding what motivates him or her allows you to strengthen your bargaining power.
First Is Sometimes Best
It is common advise to not fold the hand, but to reveal your cards to the opposing man and make the opening bid. However, the first offer has a distinct advantage: it anchors the discussions. According to research, the first price mentioned in a negotiation has a considerable influence on subsequent pricing in the dialogue. It is also advantageous to be exact while quoting. There is one caveat: this method is most effective when you believe you have an informational advantage in the talks. If you aren’t in that situation, shyness can be a great way to avoid lowering oneself down. Those interested in the research on this topic may read the scholarly publication First Offers as Anchor.
Don’t Worry About Sunk Costs
It is easy to become tunnel vision during talks. With so much time and work invested, how can you possibly go away empty-handed? You have to do it sometimes because it is the best option. As previously said, knowing your alternatives and gear number is critical before getting into talks.
Shake Hands and Guess
After the transaction is completed, a second opinion can be beneficial. According to research, you can be more effective if you consider what extra you could have done after bargaining.
Research, Research, and More Research
Buyers and sellers should enter talks after doing their homework, as some of the recommendations above indicated. You should perform standard (and non-standard) due diligence on the asset, its worth, and your counterparties.