The Cambridge Business English Dictionary defines deal-making as: 'The activity of making business agreements or arrangements'.
Deals are pivotal to corporate growth and are being struck all the time. You will not succeed in business without striking deals. Everyone has the potential to be a good deal-closer and it is clear that every person, organization or nation state, needs to make deals at some point, and usually quite regularly.
Organisations around the world will continue to grow, refocus, merge – and, sometimes, retrench – through making deals. Given the increasing inter-connectivity – technological and otherwise – of the world’s businesses, the risks of not having a good deal-closer at the helm will increase. The need for business leaders and decision-makers to be able to effectively identify a deal’s strategic, financial and operational value and then to execute, and manage, it efficiently will only accelerate in this ever-competitive world.
While different cultures and nationalities use different methods, processes and communication styles in deal-closing, from the beginning of time humans have been striking deals to facilitate family, trade, community and national best interests. Although cultural differences make the deal landscape even more interesting and sometimes challenging, the key elements that facilitate a deal – selling, persuading, negotiating and signing a contract – are the same the world over.
The impact of technology on deals
Information and communication technologies such as artificial intelligence and analytics, online data rooms and databases can enhance the deal-closing landscape. Technology and the associated increased access to precedent information for informed decision making can open up the market, reduce the power gap between parties, reduce costs by cutting out expensive middlemen and increase the speed and efficiency and effectiveness of the deal-closing process.
But, does technology create risk for the deal-closing process? Electronic data transmission and the use of data rooms increase the prospect of data leakage, whether through hacking, information hijacking or news gathering opportunism. This in turn can increase corporate costs in relation to improved data management infrastructure.
Despite its power, technology has not (yet) replaced human interaction. Deal-making cannot ignore human behaviour. Person to person interaction is required to really draw out wants and needs and so primary and secondary issues at play in a deal scenario. Face to face discussion can also help build trust between the parties in a deal scenario, which in turn can help to avoid conflict, disagreement and a failed deal process. Deal-closing is as much – if not more – about human behaviour as it is about the facts, processes and systems you use or engage in during a deal. Whether we want to own up to it or not, we’re both consciously and subconsciously influenced by what we see and hear in the other person; their appearance, race, age, gender and so on. All these sub-conscious biases can, for better or for worse, impact upon how we see the other side and how we behave within the deal. The above said, technology clearly plays an ever-increasingly important capital aspect within business.
The impact of generations Y and Z on deal-making
The nature of deal-making has under¬gone some paradigm shifts in keeping with the emergence of new generation of companies such as Uber, Classpass, Airbnb, Deliveroo, Netflix, Wework, TripAdvisor, and Trov. Minimal click purchasing, rapid delivery, real-time order status updates, and online feedback and reviews are becoming the new modern norms.
There is little doubt that generations Y and Z are impacting the business landscape, for example, in the technology, innovative, collaborative solutions, and consumer markets. This is perhaps not surprising given that generations Y and Z have grown up online, in an instantaneous, digital 'tweet world' of rapid feedback and constant technology iterations. The environment in which generations Y and Z have been raised, of rapid, high-speed, networked communications, has clearly shaped their behavioral attributes and so also their business choices.
Generations Y and Z have grown up with technology solutions and social media and their mastery of the opportunities that such digital platforms can deliver to them brings them a potential significant advantage. Clearly, generations Y and Z are best placed to avail of the benefits of technology usage in deal-making. Digital dexterity is second nature to generations Y and Z, and they are availing of the full suite of technology benefits to start up, run, and publicize business ventures. Technology itself is reinforcing the power of those who can master it best.
Originally posted on The Law Society Gazette | England & Wales