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Advisors

Secrets of a Successful M&A Advisor

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Being an M&A advisor can be a tough gig. If you’re just starting out, here are a few secrets to guide you on your journey to success.

Strong Industry Knowledge and Transaction History

It is essential that a top advisor demonstrate that she understands the industry of her client. The advisor needs to know the major players, recent news and transactions, key success factors, and emerging trends.  Read articles, keep yourself informed, ask your friends for advice. Being an industry expert makes you more credible and more likely to communicate intelligently with both your clients and buyers.

Also, an advisor needs to convey a track record of success within the industry. Displaying tombstones either in pitch books or online profiles (i.e., LinkedIn or Axial) describing all of the deals you’ve done is a good way to display this. If you’re just starting out, consider highlighting any subject matter expertise and past experience, whether academic or professional.

Displaying prior success stories will help convince the client that he or she is in good hands. This also is appealing to buyers; a more credible broker/advisor has industry knowledge is more likely to close a deal with an industry-specific family office or strategic acquirer.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

As an advisor, your job is to give the client the best advice — even if it negatively affects your bottom line in the short term.

Perhaps the time isn’t right for your client to sell their business — there are internal management concerns to work out, or valuations are low in their industry. What separate the good from the best are those advisors who are willing to  tell this to their client straight. Even though you are giving up a potential commission, in the long run both you and your client will benefit from not rushing a deal. Working with integrity will nurture better relationships and can lead to bigger long-term successes.

Doing this will help solidify your reputation as a trusted advisor, keep clients coming back, and increase the number of referrals you receive.

Maintaining the Relationship

Top advisors treat their relationships with their clients delicately and carefully. To ensure that a client comes back around the next time they have a deal, you need to constantly tend to your relationship with them. Shoot them a quick email from time to time to ask about developments in the company or management team. Send a holiday card. Forward an interesting article about news in their space, or a competitor’s new offering. Invite them out for dinner.

Keeping the client happy means that you should always be available.  Almost like a doctor on call, there is no time or day of the week an advisor is off limits. If the client asks for something, top advisors will drop whatever they are doing to get it done for them.

Keep an Even Keel

This one might seem obvious, but don’t forget to breathe. The M&A field can be a rollercoaster with very intense ups and downs. A deal that was shoe-in might completely fail at the very last minute, and deals that seem hopeless might unexpectedly become wins. Keep your composure, don’t let the fluctuating nature of the business make you too emotional, and always remain confident, cool, and collected. Executing business with a level head will strengthen your relationship with clients and secure your reputation in the industry.

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