From Markets To Prospects: “Taking The Emotion Out”

When you’re on the path of acquisition, there’s a shift that happens when you turn from the bigger strategic questions to looking at individual prospects.  Now you’re dealing with real companies and real people.

At this point, I have noticed that acquisition teams tend to become much more emotionally involved—sometimes to the detriment of the process. The solution as always is a strong system, because only a system enables you to take the emotion out of your decision making.

To be clear, I am not saying that the pursuit of prospects should be undertaken without a measure of excitement or passion. To ‘‘take the emotion out’’ means to conduct your search using a structured process and objective tools, and returning to those tools at the key decision points.

The basis of the system I recommend is what I call the Prospect Funnel. Anyone familiar with the traditional sales funnel will recognize the principle at play here: a progressive narrowing of focus from the many to the few. This is achieved by grounding all your activities in clearly defined criteria. The end result will be a short, organized list of companies with whom you can initiate negotiations, confident that they are the most appropriate candidates for a successful acquisition.

*This post was adapted from David Braun’s Successful Acquisition, available at

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