Insights from Sr. Director, Acquiom Business Development

Every service provider talks about how dedicated they are to their clients. Everyone promises late nights, constant availability, and commitment to the most premier service available… but not everyone lives up to it. Not everyone invests emotionally in your deal, and not everyone understands the difference between a transaction and a relationship.

My four-hour flight from Minneapolis to California had brought me to a security company with an impending sale. After signing in, I was led to the CEO’s humble office in the corner of the operations floor. He greeted me and began telling me about the transaction, a much more emotional conversation than I had expected.

“You have no idea how hard we’ve all worked for this,” he said. “You do this all the time, but today is once-in-a-lifetime for me and my employees. I want to make sure we do this the right way.”

His company was being sold for $2.4 billion, but he made it clear that his real payout would be the feeling of building something successful and seeing it through to exit. It was my job to make sure that delayed payments or tedious hiccups didn’t eclipse that feeling when the time came to close.

Like every deal I work on, this was unique. As a security company with complex software parameters, a third-party online payments platform such as ours could be foreseen as quite daunting to some of the payees. After a long discussion, we decided that the best thing to do for this company was to provide one-on-one counseling through the system for anyone feeling anxious about the process, and to create an instructional video from scratch to distribute to the employees prior to them logging onto our system. I made myself available for the rest of the day (and night) to walk people through the system, and had a constant line of communication open with my operations team in Denver to ensure that every holder I spoke to that day was approved for payment upon closing.

By 2p.m. on closing day, 97% of the funds had reached holders’ accounts. Every holder that had submitted paperwork, through my help or otherwise, received his or her payment. I watched as the CEO reached the final confirmation screen on his Clearinghouse account with a sigh of relief. He didn’t have to tell me how grateful he was – we both knew he could finally relax.

Deals don’t come to me packaged up in little uniform boxes. The growth of a company, from formation to exit, is messy and full of surprises; if it were easy, a deal wouldn’t be once-in-a-lifetime for most of the people I talk to. One single system doesn’t work for everyone, but through the creation of relationships I can find out how my client sees the deal and provide a custom solution in return. I listen, I act, and I continuously evolve to the client’s needs, because just another day on the job for me can, if I do it right, be the best day of someone’s life.

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