Put a Supercharger on Your M&A Deal Sourcing


“If you can make it rain, you control the game” My mentor shared this quote with me and it has stuck with me my entire life. So, what does it mean?

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“If you can make it rain, you control the game”

My mentor shared this quote with me and it has stuck with me my entire life.

So, what does it mean?

When you look at business, commerce, or dealmaking, your survival is dependent on whether or not you can bring in new business.

Your competition is waking up everyday asking themselves how they can gain and take market share.

The ONLY way to secure new business is by having a pipeline of new deal opportunities coming in the door, consistently.

I was always told, “You can’t pitch to empty seats”.

Let’s be real though, finding a steady source of deals can be challenging…unless you’re Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, or Wells Fargo with a flywheel of deals coming at you left, right, and centre.

As dealmakers, we’ve all heard of “the best deal sourcing methods” with the endless overpriced databases, marketing tactics, or pounding the pavement networking.

Here’s the thing: They all work.

The question is: How Do You Create a Deal Origination SYSTEM that Secures New Deals with more control and consistency.

The good news…There are only 3 sources where deals come from (Credit to Aaron Ross).

  1. Seeds
  2. Nets
  3. Spears

Let’s unpack each of these.

  1. SEEDS

Seeds are exactly how it sounds. You’re planting and harvesting relationships with people that eventually an opportunity comes to fruition over time.

This is the baby kissing, hand shaking, and networking that creates an impression and eventually, overtime, when people are ready for an exit or looking to search for a target, they think of YOU!

These are great, because the relationship is established, the trust is developed and they are ready to have a conversation.

I mean, how much better does it get?

The problem is…well, several problems actually.

  1. It’s uncontrollable –– you have to wait for an opportunity to come to you, when THEY are ready, not the other way around
  2. The prospect is likely in-market therefore shopping alternatives outside of yourself (AKA: non-exclusive)
  3. Laborious. Spending time one-to-one getting to know people is GREAT. It creates trust, rapport, and expert status…but it is not exactly a “high leverage” use of your time
  4. A viral pandemic could swept the globe shutting down countries (cough cough COVID-19) and networking opportunities get wiped out

Which leads me to the next source we can tap into…

  1. NETS

Picture a fisherman throwing a net overboard.

He waits, pulls up the net off the side of the boat…AND it’s fish-galore!

Kidding. I wish it was that easy.

Nets are essentially the strategy of plastering “bait” or marketing collateral online (or offline) as a method to trigger prospects to raise their hand and come to you.

Examples are LinkedIn blogs, articles on your website, whitepapers, branding campaigns, paid advertisements, deal portals, etc.

This method is great because prospects are coming to you and raising their hand.

The downside?

You find yourself sifting through quantity in hopes to find quality.

Just like fishing, you need to:

…Know what bait to use (marketing collateral)

…Find the right location (channels to leverage)

…Spend a LONG time testing different baits and locations on where the “fish” are

…Expend capital to “hopefully get a catch”

…If you DO get a catch, was it worth the energy, time, and financial outlay for the quality

…Try and figure out what worked and what didn’t…was it the bait, the location, or you?

So, is there a secret sauce?


But there is a better way…and it’s by combining a:

  1. Laser Focused Target
  2. With a Scalable Process
  3. That Brings in Exclusive Deals
  4. Which Uses Little to None of Your Time

Which brings us to…


As a dealmaking professional, you want to spend time closing deals, sending LOI’s, negotiating terms, and ensuring your clients are getting the best deal.

Spears enable you to laser focus on those deal opportunities and give you control on who you reach out to with the right targeting parameters, such as:

  1. Company size
  2. Industries or sub-sectors
  3. Locations and geographic boundaries
  4. And of course, the right stakeholders

In other words: You take control of deal flow by reaching into the marketplace.

Not waiting for referrals or hoping your marketing campaign “resonates” with the right audience.

There are many ways to go about doing this, but in 2020, the most effective, scalable and qualitative process out there is Direct Outreach via LinkedIn or Email.

There 3 critical components to using Spears:

Critical Component 1: Build a Laser Targeted List

This is the foundation to any successful marketing, sales, or growth initiative. You must know WHO you want to make contact with.

Gather the parameters and scope of the prospects you want to be meeting with and develop, or buy yourself a solid list.

For email: You can buy lists from list brokers, use various data sources like PitchBook.com, or develop one from scratch (like we do).

For LinkedIn: Invest $70 into Sales Navigator. This tool enables you to leverage all of LinkedIn’s amazing data of over 260+ million monthly active users to develop lists of prospects you can make contact with.

Component 2: Communicate a Sharp, Intriguing Message

Be careful. This is where deal origination campaigns completely tank.

Think of literally every CEO and executives inbox these days (including yourself).

You wake up each morning with a flood of unread emails, messages, and voicemails from clients, prospects, sales reps, and team members all pulling at your ATTENTION.

But your brain blocks, ignores or brushes off 99% of this and places it in the “noise category”.


New York Times #1 Best Selling Author, Investment Banker, and Pitch Training Professional, Oren Klaff, calls this “The Attention Problem”.

The attention problem is essentially the premise that our brains are designed to purposely protect us from things that don’t matter, are un-safe, irrelevant, or confusing.

So, how do you break through “the attention problem” of your prospects?

By first understanding the mistakes you want to AVOID.

99.9% of emails, messages, and unsolicited phone calls don’t make it past the “flick test” of your prospects for one of the following reasons:

  1. Too much detail, too soon
  2. Too vague and too fuzzy
  3. No frame or context on why you’re reaching out or making contact
  4. You are coming across too needy
  5. Irrelevant (aka: spam)

So what do you do instead?

You need to wrap and package a message up in 120 words or less that hits all the following points:

  1. A social connection or relevancy on WHO you are and WHY you are reaching out
  2. What credibility or depth and range of experience do you have in their space
  3. What intriguing piece of information or connection do you have for them
  4. An actionable step on what you want them to do next

It also needs to come across in a way that is…

  1. Clear
  2. Insightful
  3. High stakes
  4. Economical

To do this, you can hire an experienced copywriter, have your team draft these and test them over time, or have a professional like us do this for you.

Component 3: Outflow

Now that you’ve got a solid, verified, targeted list along with a stress-tested compelling and well articulated message, it’s time to execute on the last process to generate appointments, meetings and phone calls.


What is outflow?

Outflow is exactly how it sounds; sending out messages and communication lines to the marketplace.

We have a mantra at our company, which is: Outflow is senior in Inflow.

What do we mean?

If you want opportunities coming IN, you must push OUT communication lines first.

The problem is, most deal origination initiatives start off great and then plateau.

You are excited about your list, you feel you have a message that would catch an executive’s attention, so you start sending emails and LinkedIn messages.


…3 days later and you’re back into your regular routine, or a team member becomes distracted and “bogged down” with more “urgent” tasks.

In order for your deal origination system to actually produce fruit there is a formula you must follow:

Outflow + Consistency + Volume = Results

You need to develop a system where contact is being made everyday, at volumes large enough to gain a consistent, steady flow of deal pipeline!

Just like anything fruitful, there needs to be a process in order to maximize your outputs from the inputs.

Utilizing “Spears” is one of the most effective, controllable, targeted, and fastest ways for you to fill your deal pipeline. Remember, in order to sustain it, you must build your system and consistently execute to generate a steady flow of new opportunities – there is no “magic” silver bullet.

Simply put; doing ordinary things, consistently, will equate to extraordinary results!

Happy deal hunting.

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