During last Friday’s live Q&A session on YouTube, one of our regular viewers (Hi, Lisa!) asked a great question pertaining to women dealmakers.
She asked if Carl and I recommended any techniques for women trying to create rapport with a seller — usually a man. There could be less in common hobbywise, so there’s a fine line between building trust and rapport and the seller misinterpreting her approach as flirting.
We answered Lisa (you can watch it here), but something happened on the live event that could stand some more discussion…
And I want to address it here.
Several other viewers commented with their advice, suggesting that a woman should find a way to name-drop her husband or partner — and make sure to mention the role her husband/partner will play in the business.
I don’t think you need to introduce that in conversation. In fact, name-dropping a relationship can actually undermine you.
The same expectation wouldn’t be asked of me as a man in business, so I don’t think it’s something that should be expected of women dealmakers.
Because it shouldn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man when it comes to buying businesses.
Your aptitude… skills… credibility… experience… knowledge… aka the bona fides that make you a qualified dealmaker… have nothing to do with gender. I feel very strongly about that.
But the fact that someone had to ask the question is evidence enough of a challenge or a problem that — while it shouldn’t exist — does.
Now, I am not an authority on what it means to be a woman. I won’t pretend to be.
However, I am an accomplished dealmaker, so I can definitely speak to what it takes to bring a deal over the line.
Here’s how I would approach a deal to insulate and protect yourself from people who want to drag gender into the equation…
At the end of the day, it comes down to building good, professional relationships. Understanding where the seller wants to go and what they want to do — personally and professionally — without seeming otherwise inclined.
To be successful at that, you need to do a couple of things.
1. Build up Your Bona Fides
When Carl talks about creating your Dream Deal Specification, he mentions the importance of “staying in your lane.”
If you look for businesses in sectors where you have some knowledge or experience, you’ll be able to have more intelligent conversations with sellers, financiers and advisers that will build you up as a legitimate dealmaker.
Focus on gaining sector knowledge… researching suppliers and competitors… and leveraging your network for information.
And be sure to develop a credible story around what your interests are and what you’re looking to accomplish.
I’m looking to build a small portfolio of operating companies with less than $10 million in revenue in which I’m going to instill my level of expertise, knowledge and experience to help those businesses succeed and grow after their original owners — the sellers — transition into their next phase of life.
You can easily tweak that message and the tone to leverage your authority without undermining your knowledge and experience by mentioning your relationship status.
The second thing you need to do beyond building up your own bona fides is…
2. Keep Your Approach Above Board
When it comes to meeting with potential sellers, etc., it’s all about the approach you take and the type of language you use.
Ask good questions, real questions — questions that show you have a vested interest in and understanding of business and industry.
- Why do you want to sell?
- How does your business model work?
- How does it make money?
- What other competitors do you trade with?
- What are the drivers in your industry?
- What would you do with the business if you weren’t selling?
Focus on building a solid relationship with the seller around your genuine interest in their business in particular. THAT will push your credibility through the roof — no matter who you are.
Hammer the fact that you’re a legitimate buyer with legitimate goals, and back it up with awesome research, industry knowledge and rapport-building questions.
If you excel at both of these things, you’ll pave the way for smoother dealmaking regardless of your gender.
And don’t forget to leverage your network for support — including us!
Carl and I are extremely passionate about helping dealmakers succeed. Send us your questions to answer in our next live Q&A session — this Friday, April 10, at 11:00 a.m. ET (4:00 p.m. GMT).
You’re only one deal away,
Co-founder and publisher, Dealmaker Wealth Society
P.S. Mark your calendar for Friday and be sure to subscribe to the Dealmaker Wealth Society YouTube channel to get a notification when Carl and I go live.