5 Communication Strategy Tips for Selling Your Chicago Business
The mergers and acquisitions market is heating back up as COVID begins to wind down. Now could be a great time to sell—if, and only if, you are fully prepared.
The mergers and acquisitions market is heating back up as COVID begins to wind down. Now could be a great time to sell—if, and only if, you are fully prepared. You might not think much about communication as a key to effective sales. But the right communication strategy can actually support your sale, maximize its profitability, and help prevent culture clashes and value declines after the merger is complete. These five communication tips can help you be more effective as you move to sell your Chicago business.
The Importance of Timing and Targeted Messaging
You must map out when you want partners, employees, customers, and other stakeholders to learn about the deal. Timing is critical here; reveal details too early and your competitors will get wind of everything. Wait too long, and the gossip chain will do the work for you, undermining confidence in the sale.
Once you’ve established a timeline, it’s time to determine who communicates with which audiences. Ideally, messaging should come from people the audience already trusts.
Prepare Your Responses for a Consistent Message
Your messages must present a consistent narrative, but be tailored to your intended audience. Each group will want to know what’s in the sale for them. Be prepared to answer this with clear specificity, without glossing over things or making false promises.
Anticipating potential objections and queries can make the process easier. Don’t pretend your key audiences are not going to object to certain aspects of the sale. Instead, consider how a stakeholder might feel about the change, and plan a response tinged with empathy, understanding, and actionable information.
Control the Conversation With Positive News
Providing a steady stream of positive news can help stakeholders see the benefits of the transition to them. Here again, it’s important to see things through their eyes, not yours. Focusing on overall sale value won’t do much for your team or your clients. Instead, tell them why the sale will be valuable to them—a raise perhaps, a better culture, faster turnaround times. Schedule an open house, and continue to invite questions.
Be Consistent From Day One
While your focus might be on communicating the sale, your company's brand identity is on the line. Consider how you want to be perceived at the sale’s completion. Will you adopt the acquirer’s branding and culture, or will they adopt yours? Will there be different brands? How might branding change over time? All of your online content and social media posts must reflect the brand identity, while communicating a consistent and coherent message about the sale.
Test Awareness and Get Feedback
Feedback from stakeholders is critical in the months following the sale, even if it’s negative. Perform an audit to assess how various audiences have responded to the new entity, and then make necessary tweaks. Test again six months later to assess how well your branding edits have worked, and whether the realities of the new brand have shifted perceptions in the right direction.