Transcript of Efficiencies Expert Jason Helfenbaum On How To Increase Your ROI Through Training And Efficiencies
Denise Logan On Mastering The Seller's Journey For Success (#104)

[00:00] Introduction Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg. 

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience. 

Your liquidity event is the largest and most important financial transaction of your life. 

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave anywhere from 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

I should know. I said no to a seven-figure offer and yes, to mastering the art and science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said yes to a different buyer with a nine-figure offer. 

Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event? 

If you believe that you either don't have the time or you'll prepare closer to your liquidity event, think again. 

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event. 

After all, how can you master something you've never done before? 

Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our nine-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event. 

At the end of this episode, take a moment to hear from business owners, just like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience. 

[00:01:44] Jeffrey Feldberg: Denise Logan knows that to business owners, selling a business is more than a transaction. To them. It's an emotionally fraught period of transition filled with unexpected highs and lows with no clear vision of what waits at the other end for them and their family. Her passion for this work is colored by her own experience of being an unprepared business owner who made an abrupt and choppy exit from her company after ignoring the signs that it was time for several years.

She is the author of The Seller’s Journey: A Business Fable about Navigating the Emotional Obstacles to Selling Your Business, and has addressed more than 5,000 audiences on three continents about the psychology of business owners and how to make it easier when the time comes to let go.

Denise provides advanced training to advisors employed by some of the world's largest financial institutions, law firms, and accounting firms, helping their clients successfully transition their businesses to new owners, and most importantly, without regret.

Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. So, I have a rhetorical question for all you listeners out there. How do you win at a game that you've never played before? And the answer is you simply can't, but when it comes to your liquidity event, which is the largest, biggest financial decision of your lifetime, you not only better know the rules of the game, you better have a strategy that's going to help you get across the other side successfully.

And that's exactly what our guest today is going to be sharing some insights on the seller's journey. So, Denise, thank you so much for being part of The Sell My Business Podcast. And there's always a story behind the story. What's your story? What got you to where you are today?

[00:03:32] Denise Logan: Hi, Jeffrey. Thanks so much for having me visit with you today. The story behind the story. I think that's always a fascinating piece. Isn't it? There's what we do and why we do it. So, historically I was a mental health professional, and then I was a lawyer and your listeners might be thinking why didn't you use that good mental health skill to keep herself from becoming a lawyer for heaven's sake?

[00:03:59] Jeffrey Feldberg: Yeah, I can definitely see that.

[00:04:02] Denise Logan: And I built a law practice in Washington DC. And when we reached a pretty big size, I realized it was time for me to go. And I did a super ugly choppy exit from my own business. I knew I needed to leave several years before I actually did. I ignored the signs that it was time. And when I finally decided to leave. I merged my firm with a large Baltimore firm, got rid of my house, and bought a motor home and I ran off.

[00:04:35] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. Talk about an exit.

[00:04:37] Denise Logan: It was an exit. And, you know, I thought I would travel for six months or so to clear my head and figure out what came next. And it turned into several years where I traveled all over North and Central America in my motor home with my two little dogs and a car I towed behind that is probably a conversation for a beverage or two to talk about all the things I discovered.

[00:05:02] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow.

[00:05:02] Denise Logan: You know but I was in my middle thirties at the time I came off the road and joined a friend's business. He had a business that he was preparing for sale and he said, why don't you join us? And help us figure out how to exit. And over the next 10 years, we took that business to the market three times and he could not let go.

 And I thought isn't this interesting. You could be me and wait too long until I was ready to just give it away. Or you could be him and go too early and not be able to let go. And that turned into a process where I worked one-on-one with owners and their advisors, helping them navigate that emotional ops that gets them stuck.

And then I wrote a book and have been speaking about the psychology of owners and how work money and meaning comes together to create a bigger legacy from our life. And any one of those three.

[00:06:01] Jeffrey Feldberg: You know what, Denise what's really interesting is, you didn't realize it at the time, but you had the perfect setup in your earlier career days, being involved with mental health and then having the structure of a lawyer and seeing what happened to your own practice. And then getting involved in this wacky game and world of liquidity events and selling a business and really it's the perfect storm of combining your experiences and the skillset to really make a difference where accounts. So, Denise, why don't we start with this for all of our advisors out there at any capacity that are helping a business owner go through a liquidity event, I'm going to call you the sales whisperer, or why you as a sales whisperer, should they have you as one of their resources and possibly part of their team?

[00:06:51] Denise Logan: Yeah. I actually have coined that as the seller whisperer that come in and help an owner understand what's happening, but even more so helping advisors to know what their owners are struggling with. You've been in the industry so long Jeffrey that, you know, this statistic less than one-third of all deals that go to the market successfully close.

And that's a tragedy we must do better. Any time an owner brings their company to a process of a sale and is unsuccessful. It is so much more than just a broken deal. For the business owner, their ability to return to their business after going through that process is so slim, and their ability to return and make it successful even less.

So, what has really become apparent to me is why owners need to be prepared, but also the advisors, it's not enough to simply be transactionally proficient. We assume that in the people who we hire to help us exit our business, that they must have transactional prowess, but those advisors who also come prepared to help an owner walk through the most vexing chapter in the life of their business, the final chapter.

And to help them cross that ravine and land safely on the other side, ready to step into the life that awaits them. That's what makes the difference between an adequate advisor and the kind of advisor that every owner wants to take the journey with.

[00:08:33] Jeffrey Feldberg: You know, Denise, there is really a lot to unpack there, but you're right. The big picture for both the advisor and the business owner is let's get the best possible deal, not just any deal, but the best possible deal. And we'll talk about this in a moment. There are so many impediments along the way that oftentimes there's either no deal or you just get that any deal because for a whole number of reasons, but what's interesting, Denise, in the Deep Wealth community for the business owners that go through the Deep Wealth Experience, they are mastering their own skillset of how to become their own Chief Exit Advisor. And for the folks that are thinking about coming into the Deep Wealth Experience, listen to this next question, because it becomes interesting. And Denise, why don't you walk us through a business owner wanting to have you as part of the team through their advisor, what are you doing behind the scene?

And I suspect it's more on the art side of the liquidity event. What's happening behind the scenes that you're making the difference?

[00:09:30] Denise Logan: So, sometimes we look at this as a transaction, but the reality is that beneath the transaction is a transition. This is probably the single largest transition in the life of an owner. And we prepare for other transitions in our life. You'll hear me relate back and forth to just some normal life experiences that we have.

We don't wait until our children turn 18 and then ask them on the morning of their 18th birthday. So, what will you do with yourself? And yet, somehow we assume that's okay for business owners. That on the day you decide you're going to sell your business or heaven forbid the day you have completed the transaction, then we think so what will you do with yourself now?

And yet, this is a huge transition in the life of an owner. So, in many ways, what I'm helping to do is navigate the emotional transition that the owner and their advisors are undergoing.

[00:10:37] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so Denise, when you talk about the emotional transition, I know for me, that brings up all kinds of thoughts of what that's really going to be like, but why don't you take us into the day in the life of you, you've been parachuted into a liquidity event situation and I imagine it's probably not a great situation.

They're reaching out to you to maybe bring something back from the brink or maybe the advisor is smart enough to say, hey, I'm going to be proactive. Let's have Denise in here from the start to make sure that we don't get to the brink. Perhaps you can go to the extreme example where a potentially terrific deal for all the wrong reasons is falling apart. Why is that happening? What's going on?

[00:11:18] Denise Logan: Oh, that's so great. And you're absolutely right. I always say when I come in and when I should come in, so often I'm entering a transaction because things have gone sideways and the deal is unraveling and someone thinks, do you remember that lady we met? Maybe she can help us pull the cookies out of the fire at this point.

And sometimes it's possible and sometimes it's not. So, how about if we look at one of those and then look at one that goes well?

[00:11:48] Jeffrey Feldberg: Yeah, that would be terrific.

[00:11:49] Denise Logan: Yeah, I'm going to start with the what goes wrong. We'll look at a busted deal first.

And what I would say is the emotional arc of exiting a business is the same whether we're talking about a $50,000 hair salon or a $500 million manufacturing company. So, for listeners, don't get distracted by the numbers or the industry type that I talk about, pay attention to the arc of what an owner is going through.

So, in this particular instance, this was an $85 million manufacturing company. Eight weeks before the closing, the seller suddenly announced that he would not take a penny less than nine times. Never mind that he already had assigned the deal at 6.2 times. And so the investment banker and the lawyer had been going crazy, trying to get the owner to realize you're already in a deal.

You can't ask for more money and he stopped taking their calls, ghosted them. So, the investment banker reached out to me and said, I think my owner's gone crazy. I'm like, yeah, it sounds like it let's see if we can figure out what scared him and what hidey-hole he's in. And can we coax him back out? So, the owner's original plan was to sell the business buy a sailboat and sail around the globe. You know, you can get a pretty good boat for $85 million. So, it probably was not about the money.

[00:13:18] Jeffrey Feldberg: I would say so a lofty plan indeed.

[00:13:21] Denise Logan: And so what I learned when I got involved was that two weeks before he asked for this unicorn of more money, his wife had said, I am not doing that. I do not want to be stuck on a boat with you far away from my grandkids. Hell no, that's not happening. And can we agree he is not coming back to tell the deal team the deal is off because my wife won't let me do what I want to do when I leave?

[00:13:49] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so if I can just break in here because such an important talking point, I mean, really two things as business owners, the one point it's a very subtle point, Denise, that you mentioned. How many of us are sharing with our significant other, hey, after the liquidity event, this is my vision of our life.

What do you think are your onboard, off-board? And clearly, that didn't happen. But then on the other hand, it sounds like he was just too embarrassed to say, guys, I really messed this one up. I had these grandiose plans. They're now off the rails. The deal is off but didn't have the courage to just be vulnerable and say that. So, he came up with something that he knew would kill the deal.

[00:14:29] Denise Logan: Absolutely. That was his effort to save face and some listeners might be thinking why didn't his wife speak up earlier? And here's what I would say. Anyone who has been married any length of time knows you don't object to every crazy thing your spouse comes up with. I myself have been like, yeah, we'll wait and see.

That might not even happen. No reason to pick a fight. And so she waited until, oh, no, it's about to happen.

[00:14:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: Yeah, that's actually going to happen. Oh my goodness. I better step in now. Absolutely. Yeah.

[00:15:02] Denise Logan: And so as an advisor listening, you might realize, oh, when an owner asks for more money, it often is not about the money, but the reason they talk to us about money, our clients talk to us about money because that's what we talked to them about.

We talk about how much money you'll get and what you'll do with the money. We don't talk to them about what they're feeling and what they might be struggling with. So, here's what happened. So, once I realized what was wrong, I did one-on-one work with husband and wife separately.

 And I created a solution where he would buy the sailboat and sail and every six weeks she would take one grandchild fly to where he was. They would do two weeks on land, building memories with the child. She would fly home. He would sail on, boom. The deal was back on track, closed on time at its original asking price because it was not about the money.

[00:16:01] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. Priceless. That's just priceless how you came in and really did the unthinkable. You went under the deep layers of what was there and then, really drawing on your skillset to bring out what's actually happening. And you found a very creative solution to bring things back on track.

So, Denise, if you look at that and you know, hindsight's always 2020, and you and I can sit here, we weren't there at the time and say this could have happened that could have happened. But for today for both advisors and also business owners, as we're hearing this story, what would be some takeaway strategies that we should be applying to our everyday lives now that we heard this story and this miraculous solution that you came up with, but how we can avoid that from happening altogether.

[00:16:45] Denise Logan: Here's what that couple was struggling with. And I think listeners will be able to relate to it. We have language for it in other parts of our lives. What happens when the last child leaves home?

[00:16:58] Jeffrey Feldberg: Sure. The Emptiness Syndrome.

[00:16:59] Denise Logan: The Emptiness Syndrome. And what that really means is husband and wife who have put all of their energy into raising the child.

And by the way, I didn't need to make that be husband and wife. There are lots of family systems, but usually, both parts of a couple have been focused on raising the child and then the last child leaves and they look at each other and think, who are you? I don't know you. I don't even know if I want to know you.

We know what that is like in our regular lives, in our business, it's the same. We have often poured all of our energy and attention into raising this business child. And when it comes time for the business to leave, it is the last child leaving the nest for many families. And so in that moment, often a couple realizes we put all of our energy and attention, assuming that when we reach this point, we would have the same objectives.

So, coming back to our earlier comment, for sure. One of the things you could do all along the way is make sure that you are staying in touch with your spouse and building that relationship for what happens when the business is over. And we don't take for granted that is the same thing. As advisors, or even as owners, we can ask this next question, what does work provide for me other than just money and financial security? What does work provide for me other than financial security and money, and we should be able to come up with 10 or so answers to that question. So, if you and I were brainstorming Jeffrey, what does work provide for you other than money and financial security?

[00:18:47] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, you know, I would say big picture-wise, if we're doing it right, we're getting the fulfillment of something. Because as I like to say, all the zeros in the bank account, all the accolades, all the awards, all the success. If you don't have fulfillment is really a failure. Success without fulfillment is a failure. So, for me, big picture-wise, it would be fulfillment.

[00:19:20] Denise Logan: Yeah. And your listeners might relate to any of these that I hear often structure. Right work provides an orderliness to our day into our lives. A place to go, for heaven's sake during COVID weren't we all when can I leave this house? Our spouse was probably thinking that too. When are you going to leave the house?

So, it's a place to go. For many of our owners, it is also our employees and customers and vendors, our friends, we get friendship from our work. We get intellectual stimulation, the thrill of the hunt, the chase, but also some things that sometimes are embarrassing or late for us to acknowledge, which is things like power.

At work, we say, we want something done. And generally, it gets done. Maybe not so much at home. So, when we make a list of 10 or more things, a minimum of 10, that work provides for us. Then we start to realize a big sack of cash does not make these other needs go away. What are those things and how will I get those met outside of my business?

[00:20:30] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Denise, you are so spot on and for our listeners, I'm going to just take a little trip down not great memories. And I'll talk about my own liquidity event, which was just a huge success. But Denise, to your point, the very next day I found the structure was gone because of a non-compete some of the friends that I had in the business I couldn't associate with anymore.

My meaning, my purpose, all that was gone and really as business owners, nobody really talks about the post-exit life and for all your business owners out there, and your advisors know this, but you don't, no one feels sorry for some wealthy person sitting at home, all these zeros in the bank account, in their pajamas that no one wants to come out and play with you because they're busy leading their lives.

And so Denise, to your point, it's sage advice. Really a business owner has to figure out before the liquidity event, hey, what am I going to do to optimize my life for happiness, whatever happiness looks like for you, I'm going to have more white space. I'm going to have more, perhaps learning opportunities back about myself, again, of what that's going to look like.

So, terrific insights, Denise of that post-exit part of the story that we don't really hear too much about.

[00:21:42] Denise Logan: And golf and travel is not a plan.

[00:21:46] Jeffrey Feldberg: It's not a plan.

No. I can tell you stories where I'd wake up and I'd be like, it was a beautiful hotel, but what hotel am I in? Or all the beaches look alike. And it just all becomes one big blur and blend because at least the way I was wired is after a while it's just boring and you have to have that happiness from really within.

[00:22:04] Denise Logan: And understanding and normalizing this emotional process is what I'm really focused on. So, even in my own exit, the day came that the trucks were there. They backed up to the building, took all of the equipment, and took the desks and that was when we still had real file cabinets, everything wasn't electronic and all the files and the servers and everything was gone.

And the last truck was moving away from the building and I wanted to just see it. And so I leaned in toward the window to catch sight of the truck, turning the corner, and I hit my head on the window. And then there were tears rolling down my face. And I thought I don't think I hit my head that hard. And I suddenly realized those tears are not about hitting my head on the window.

Everything I had spent, all of that time building is now gone and yet it was what I wanted. We can hold both things as true. I got what I wanted. Oh no, I got what I wanted.

[00:23:12] Jeffrey Feldberg: It really is a bittersweet moment because for most business owners and Denise, I was the same way. I was the business, the business was me. There really wasn't a separation. And to your earlier point, we all as business owners, we create a rhythm. We know daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly what rituals we're going to be doing.

We have this meeting or this conference or the company party, or whatever's going on that it just becomes second nature to us and really in the blink of an eye it's gone. So, Denise, I'm wondering as we listened to this and perhaps I'm an advisor now, and I want to be more proactive with my clients or I'm a business owner, and I know I'm going to be having a liquidity event, any number of years down the road, what is the way to do it right?

What would be some of the strategies that you can recommend for us of, hey, if you do A, B, C, and D, and you can actually start that today, even though you might be five years out from your liquidity event when you get there, you're not going to be looking to sabotage the deal or under a haul this other crazy stress that you don't need?

[00:24:19] Denise Logan: And do you know what? You might still find yourself, even if you do all of the steps perfectly, you might find yourself sabotaging the deal. I want to normalize that. And what happens is if that's what does come, that you begin sabotaging, being with people who can point that out in a gracious and gentle way and say what's happening for you instead of stop sabotaging, but really what are you struggling with?

Can I tell you the story of another owner to put that into perspective?

[00:24:54] Jeffrey Feldberg: Absolutely. But before you do that, for listeners, Denise, you brought up a really powerful point and I think it's worth revisiting. And that is a blind spot is a blind spot. It's a blind spot because you don't see it. And I love what you just said, hey, you can prepare and you can have all the strategies down.

But you can still self-sabotage the deal and not even realize it. And so for our listeners out there, the real takeaway there's a saying that when the team works, the dream works, and if you're not surrounding yourself with the right advisors like Denise, then you're setting yourself up potentially for unnecessary stress and failure for the most important financial decision of your life. And so Denise, I just love how you said, hey, even all the preparation in the world, you may still get caught off guard and go back into a pattern that you don't even recognize. So, back to your story about the other business owner.

[00:25:47] Denise Logan: This is just relating to the normal parts of our life. I say, when I travel this trip, I am not going to eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in the airport. And I make that promise to myself and I get to the airport and there's a delay and I go in to get a bottle of water. And the next thing I know, I'm plowing down a package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

And so we can just take all of the preparation that we have, even when I have an apple in my bag to eat, I might find myself still eating Reese's Peanut Butter cups. But if I'm with a good traveling companion, they might be able to say, after one bite of the peanut butter cups, are you sure you want to eat those peanut butter cups?

What might you be scared of right now, or what's happening that has you anxious? Being able to address that. I called that the context. So, we think about the content, which is what's going on in the deal. It's the transaction, it's all of the things in the deal. And then underneath that is the context.

It is the emotion of what's going on. And when we are prepared to pause the content, to stop talking about the deal for a moment, to drop down into what's going on under the surface, that's when we're able to address what's happening and come back to deal with what's going on in the transaction. So, we have a transaction and a transition, both of which are happening at the same time.

Instead of realizing someone is upset, too bad, I'm going to shove this process through, if we're in a place with people who understand what's happening, we can pause. You know, there's a saying in the industry, that time kills all deals. That it's a flat-out lie. It makes me crazy when I hear it. It is not time that kills all deals, it is unprocessed emotion that kills deals.

Even if you think about it, have ever been in the process of selling a house and oh, they want another change. All right, now we want you to rake the gravel a particular way in the front yard. You do that. And oh we want you to fix the shingles. All right, you do that.

And then they say, we want you to move the thermostat two inches to the left and you think, that's it, I'll burn the house down. It's not about the thermostat. It is about the uncertainty. And that's what goes on in deals. There's huge uncertainty and uncertainty drives fear. And when we are making decisions from a place of fear, they're often hugely emotional decisions and fear is perfectly natural PS, by the way, it's not just the owner who is experiencing fear in the transaction. So, are all the advisors.

[00:28:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so Denise, talk to us about that because for all the business owners listening again, I'm sure the thinking, wait a minute, my advisors are experiencing fear. They do this all day in, day out. This is what I'm paying them to do. They're the experts, and this is not even their business. It's my business. So, why would there be fear on the part of the advisors?

[00:29:12] Denise Logan: That is so fun. I love talking about what's going on with all the other people. So, the minute things look like they're unraveling, the investment banker might be terrified. Huh, there goes my commission. Oh, my gosh, their fear is going to start driving their actions. They might push you. There might be all kinds of things that are happening.

And I have a little model that I want to walk through in a second with you. If you're open to it, the lawyer is also experiencing fear, having been trained as a lawyer. We must take it, and I don't know that this is actually a class, but we all seem to learn it. I call it the parade of horribles where the lawyers will say, and this could go wrong and this could go wrong. And this could go wrong. In law school, they call it issue spotting, but to a client, what it feels like is we're just pointing out more and more things. It could go wrong. The lawyers do that because they're worried about missing something and being in trouble or blamed if something goes wrong.

So, notice that is actually a fear-based piece. It's fine for the lawyer to point out things, but are they doing it in a way that is creating even more chaos in the deal? That could absolutely be the lawyer's fear spilling over.

[00:30:36] Jeffrey Feldberg: And, you know, Denise was interesting, and for the listener what you really need to be careful of is your advisors, they also want to have a winning track record for a whole number of reasons. And I call it the silo effect. Just like you check yourself into the hospital, heaven forbid, you have some kind of health condition going on.

And the issue that you have is they're all specialists and no one's looking holistically at the person and it's all in these little silos and nothing really happens. And the same issue can happen in a liquidity event, your advisors, they just want to get the deal done, but oftentimes they're not stopping to say, hey, is this the best deal for you as a business owner, or am I just going to get this deal across the finish line and get it done? And so it's really important as business owners, even though we have a terrific team around us, Denise, to your point, our advisors, they're human, they have fears, they have their own motivations.

They want certain things to happen. Certain things that not to happen, that we need to be on top of that of, hey, I'm noticing some tension here in this area here what's causing that? Let me get curious. What would be having my investment banker, ask me to do this? What should I be aware of? So, I love how you're looking at this? That's absolutely terrific.

[00:31:48] Denise Logan: And it's just so normal that this would be happening. And if we're able to talk about what's happening. So, when I'm involved in a transaction, I do something, I call, an all-hands meeting. I bring together all of the parties and I'll do a one-on-one with some of them in advance, but then we do it as a team.

And it's this exercise. Imagine your hand is your brain. I'm just going to walk through a little visual. So, the thumb is the amygdala. It's the fear sensor. The amygdala is the oldest part of our brain. It's designed to keep us safe. It's sometimes called the lizard brain. And so the amygdala is always scanning the environment, looking for danger.

 If Jeffrey, when you were a little boy, you were attacked by a black bear, your amygdala would see a black dog and think it's a bear and signal you to run. It's a helpful part of our brain, but it's a little stupid. It can't always distinguish between real danger and perceived danger. So, do this with me.

Take your hand and wrap your thumb across your palm. And bring your fingers over the front, making like a little fist with your thumb tucked inside. The fingers that are wrapped over the front is the prefrontal cortex. It's the thinking part of our brain. It's the part that's right at the front of your forehead and tucked safely in our little brain fist right now is the amygdala, the fear sensor. Now do this, move the thumb around inside your fist. What do you notice?

[00:33:28] Jeffrey Feldberg: And for all you listeners out there, this is quite the sight to be seen with both of our hands and thumbs. So, I'm moving around, you know, it's creating uncertainty. There's a lot of movement that's happening, it's just different. It's not the stability.

I felt safe before. You know, when my fingers were tucked over my thumb and everything was just still, but now when I move it around, it's like chaos is going on and all this uncertainty is coming in.

[00:33:51] Denise Logan: Absolutely. And if you move your thumb more aggressively, you notice your fingers are less tight. And so what happens, your prefrontal cortex is not online. It's not safely tucking in the fear sensor. If the amygdala, your little thumb gets even more worried, you will flip your lid.

Literally, it pops your fingers off and you end up with your hand wide open. That is what goes on with fear in our brains. So, you start I'll safely tucked in and your amygdala gets scared and flips your prefrontal cortex offline. That is why the phrase flips your lid. It literally happens. And it's happening to us dozens of times every day. You know, does your spouse makes a face, and all of a sudden you're like, whoa, what did that mean?

What did that face mean? That's your little amygdala, recognizing that might've been the look that your father made before things blew up at home. It's happening all throughout the day. If instead, we can name this and recognize, oh, wait, I'm feeling a little upset, right now. Can I calm myself down? Can I pause what's happening to be able to bring safety, emotional safety back into the transaction?

If we don't, what happens is the lizard is running our deal.

[00:35:23] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. It's crazy. And again, as I like to say, when you think of all the time and the money and effort that goes into a liquidity event and when it fails and it's happening from perhaps emotional instability or whatever the case may be, I mean, you would have been better off going to Las Vegas, one of the casinos and just blowing your money, you would have had a lot more fun than going through a liquidity event process and all the due diligence and everything else.

So, Denise, if we want to protect ourselves from that happening, flip it now, because we spoke about what could go wrong. Let's talk about preparation and that's our wheelhouse at Deep Wealth and our 9-step roadmap. But let's talk about your world of preparation. We're going to do it right. And what does it look like when you're brought into the process? When are you brought in, what are you doing from when you start until the deal closes?

[00:36:14] Denise Logan: So, I typically come in quite a ways before a deal happens, when we want to do it well. All right. I will always come in if there's a crisis, but better to come in early. So, before there's a deal online, because this is an opportunity to begin addressing some of the emotional elements that the owner, perhaps their family and certainly helping to choose emotionally, present advisers to help in the transaction. One of the things that I suggest owners ask every advisor, who they are contemplating, what are your plans for your exit?

[00:36:53] Jeffrey Feldberg: What a great question. I love that. So, asking your advisor, your investment banker, as an example, hey, what's your exit plan looking like? I think that's so wise to ask.

[00:37:03] Denise Logan: Absolutely because the reality is every one of us will leave our business voluntarily or involuntarily. And so the best-prepared advisers are those who have a plan for their own actions. Because guess what they're going to have to leave their businesses at some point to whether they own the business or they are an employee of the business, we will all leave.

And so helping to choose advisers well is also part of what I think helps to make a transaction, a better transition.

[00:37:40] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, Denise on that point, such an important point, what would be a red flag when we're asking that exit of exit questions to the advisor? What would be some red flags that we should be listening for to say, hey, you know what, based on that response, I think I'm going to take a pass or give some serious consideration of perhaps not working with this advisor because of that.

[00:38:03] Denise Logan: I would be worried about choosing an advisor who exited their business and then became an advisor because they were like, I couldn't stand all being retired or I didn't know what to do with myself. That would be a big red flag for me. The next question I would ask is, so how are you going to make sure that doesn't happen for you again?

[00:38:23] Jeffrey Feldberg: Interesting.

[00:38:23] Denise Logan: Right because it's not okay for you to just I'll say, flunked retirement and come back to tell everyone else that they should retire. No, absolutely. So, another red flag would be, I haven't really given that much thought. I have plenty of time because PS, we don't know when we will leave our businesses. We like to think we know, but all of the research shows that owners typically leave five years earlier than they plan.

[00:37:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. That's a huge gap from expectation to reality.

[00:38:58] Denise Logan: It's a huge gap. And often it is because of their own illness. Or the illness of a close family member or changing market conditions. If we've learned nothing from COVID, the thing we should have learned is life is unpredictable for us, and for our businesses, we must have a plan, even if you don't execute on the plan yet, having a plan in place is essential.

[00:39:31] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that. And so let's continue. So, we brought you in early, we know we're having a liquidity event at one point. We're not in market yet. We're going to go through the Deep Wealth Experience of course, our 9-step road map of preparation. And we're having you there, Denise, and we're now past the point of looking at the advisor. So, you've helped make the advisor selection, you've given your input. You've found the right cultural fit with the business owner and the advisors across the board. Now, what happens?

[00:39:57] Denise Logan: So, imagine that we're about to begin the due diligence process. Someone is going to come poking around in financials. Guess what? That's likely to scare us, as owners. I refer to it as shame because we're used to being the person who knows everything about our business. I can answer all of the questions and now an outsider is about to come poking around.

Often that trips up huge amounts of fear and shame for our owners. And so normalizing it, I always will say, oh, you're more likely to feel some shame around this in which event and owner will inevitably say, I have nothing to be ashamed of. I'm like I know, and being ashamed and feeling shame are two different things.

So, we'll normalize it so that when it happens and an owner feels like putting up their Dukes and fighting, that can't be the real valuation. Ah, guess what? That's our friend, the amygdala tripping us up again. Or the owner might say, we're asked to produce some records, pull away and guilty. Again, that's our friend, the amygdala saying I don't want to show up.

So, there were ways that we can help an owner keep coming forward and normalizing it because if we've prepared for it, when it happens, we also don't have to conceal that it's happening. We can say, oh, that makes sense. Of course, you feel bad. Remember we talked about that.

[00:41:28] Jeffrey Feldberg: Oh, this is terrific because listen, on the business side and even on the life side as successful business owners, we have coaches, we have CEO peer groups. We have different resources that are there. And when it comes to the liquidity event, Denise, it really sounds that on the emotional support side, this is truly the art side of the deal of a mindset, because your mindset is what can make, literally make or break the deal that for a business owner, with you on the team, from a mindset side, from an emotional side from, hey, this is new for me, but not new for you.

Let me walk you through this. That's what's going to make all the difference in getting from here to there, where there is crossing the finish line with the best deal and being in a terrific state of mind.

[00:42:13] Denise Logan: Absolutely, here's what I'll say, seller's remorse is a real thing and it is the number one threat to a successful deal closing after due diligence.

[00:42:26] Jeffrey Feldberg: What a horrible feeling to have. You know, everyone just think about this for a second. Your business, it's your baby, your blood, sweat, and tears went into it for however many years or decades, all that sacrifice, all that commitment. You put all that preparation into the liquidity event. You've been dreaming about this day, your entire life.

And now after the due diligence is done and things are getting set to go. Maybe even things have closed. You have remorse. Talk about a horrible feeling. That is just what at all costs we want to avoid.

[00:42:58] Denise Logan: It's a horrible feeling. And I think owners fear it and advisors also fear it. And it is completely avoidable and it is predictable what causes it. And so when we're able to take the process gradually and be able to attend to the emotions as they come up, I was working on a transaction with an owner and this as well as I do Jeffrey that there is no right age to exit a business.

We sometimes think, oh, I'll be in my fifties or my sixties or my seventies, but owners also leave in their twenties and their thirties and forties. So, this particular owner, his name was Michael. And he was in his thirties selling a software company and he was set to net $16 million on the other side of the sale.

And one day he realized, who am I going to hang out with? All my buddies have jobs. And so he was shooting pool with his best friend. And he said that to which his friend replied boohooed dude, I wish I had your sad little $16 million problem. You know, Michael's problem didn't go away. It just went underground because now he felt like, oh, I shouldn't be talking about this. And so that started to come out sideways in his deal. It was like little mushrooms popping up from underground in his deal. And being able to be with a deal team that could recognize something's happening, what just happened so that when Michael could talk about it, we could solve for that. But if we don't address what's happening and owner is likely to be filled with remorse.

And either bail on the deal or close the deal and be regretful on the other side. So, for advisors, I always say this is solvable. And for owners, you don't have to have a deal that leaves you filled with remorse. Do this work, it's important.

[00:45:03] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Denise, you really hammer that point home, and for our listeners, what's it worth to you? Money-wise and time-wise to not have that remorse at any point throughout the deal. When you've made the decision, I'm going to have this liquidity event and that you have the outlet, it's really a safe haven, Denise, you are a safe haven for the advisors, for the business owners.

There's no judgment. You've seen it a dozen gazillion times before and hey, yeah, what's your feeling? It's completely normal. And here's how we're going to deal with this. And here's why perhaps you're looking at it in a way that you shouldn't let me show you how you should be looking at it.

What a difference that makes and hence the seller's whisperer as you're known in the industry. And that's just so powerful now, Denise, I know you have a fabulous book. Why don't you talk to us a little bit about your book and what's in it for our audience? It's definitely a must-read if you're thinking of having a liquidity event or even if you've had a liquidity event, it's a book that it should.

If you're a student of success, this is a book that should be on every bookshelf. So, talk to us a little bit about your book.

[00:46:09] Denise Logan: Oh, thanks so much, Jeffrey. So, it's called The Seller's Journey and unlike lots of books that are out there about exiting your business that are really written as a how-to, or a tactical book, this book is a business fable. So, it's the story of an owner one year after he exits his business. He goes on a trip across Glacier National Park with his banker, his lawyer, his wealth manager, and the private equity buyer who bought his firm.

would not want if you're wondering right now, which one dies on the trip, they all come back alive. I don't want to spoil the ending, but some of you might be thinking I want to go on a trip with my advisers, what might it be like if you had the kind of transaction and the kind of transition that made you come out, the other end, wanting to spend time with them.

So, the advisors and the owner go on this trip Across Glacier National Park, and they relate the physical obstacles they're facing as they cross the glacier to the emotional obstacles that they faced in getting the deal over the finish line. And it is based on a trip that I have taken with a client I've traveled with many of my clients and their advisors after the exit because it is not just a moment in time.

And for advisors who are listening, think about what it would be like if a client felt so connected to you that they would invite you on a trip of a lifetime. And what that could mean for the referrals that come your way. I think it is an honor to be asked to accompany and owner through this period of their business.

And to me, this is really sacred work that we get to do to help shepherd an owner through this chasm and place them gently on the other shore, really ready to step into the best part of their life.

[00:48:11] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Denise, as you're talking about that, it's such a powerful example of preparation before a liquidity event. So, an advisor or a business owner picks up the book, they read through it in their minds they're going through the different scenarios and actually beginning the process of, okay, hey, that could be me.

So, let's talk about what I'm going to be doing and preparation, it saves your health, your time, your money. So, many times over it's well worth the investment. And again, it must-read. And for our listeners in our show notes, I'll make it really easy. It'll be point and click, and you'll be able to check out the seller's journey and hopefully pick up a copy for yourself.

And so Denise, we're at the part where we're beginning to wrap up this episode and I know offline, you shared, you've done your homework. You've heard this question, but I'm going to ask you the question anyway, because this is my favorite question and I just love the answers that come from it. And the question is this.

So, think of the movie Back to the Future and in the movie, you have this incredible DeLorean car that can take you to any point in time. So, tomorrow morning, Denise, you wake up, you look outside your window. The DeLorean car is there. The door is open and it's welcoming you to come into the car. And you're going to go back to any point in your life.

Maybe it's Denise as a toddler or as a young child and adolescent teenager, adult, whatever it may be, what life lessons or wisdom or, hey, Denise, do this, or don't do that. What are you telling your younger self?

[00:49:39] Denise Logan: I know exactly where I would go, Jeffrey. I would go back to the period of my business, my first business, my law practice where I realized I'm not happy. And at that time, each time I spoke about being unhappy or feeling burned out, the advice that I got was just go on vacation and then double down. I was at a place in my life where other people would say, I would give anything to be you.

And I ignored them for way too long. And I would go back and realize if you ignore those signals, sometimes we accidentally set up a little drama or a crisis to make it happen. Years later, I was speaking at a conference. It was a women's conference on an island, no doubt with 300 professional business women owners.

And I was telling the story of what it was like when I ignored that and created a crisis in my own business, that led to my exit. And when I finished telling the story, I said, so what do you hear from that? And there was a woman who stood up at the back of the room and put her hands on her hips. And she said here, I thought you had been a success.

And now I find you are just like a failure and she unloaded and your listeners can't see your face right now, but Jeffrey's face is exactly what my face was at that moment. Oh my, and she unloaded. And honestly, I was like sweating through my blouse. Then when she finished, I took a deep breath and I said, thank you for saying that.

You said every single thing I have been worried that someone would say to me and a few I hadn't yet thought of. So, thanks for preparing me. And what I realized is what is the thing that you will not do in your life, because you're worried that someone will say to you a version of what that woman said to me.

[00:51:46] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. That is so powerful. And thank you for being firstly vulnerable with us and open and transparent and just really the power of listening to yourself and in believing in yourself that it's okay, and your feelings are normal. They're valid, listened to them, follow your intuition. And so Denise coming out of that whole experience, how did that change you?

[00:52:10] Denise Logan: One of the things that I realized is we always know more about our next steps than we allow ourselves to know. We think it has to look like someone else's or that there's a particular formula we need to apply. There is so much internal wisdom that we have. And when we surround ourselves with people who encourage us to listen inside, we always find our way. You just don't have to do it alone.

[00:52:41] Jeffrey Feldberg: Listen to your heart and follow your intuition. Your heart knows where perhaps the mind or on the logical side, we simply don't. So, Denise, as we begin to wrap up this episode, where can someone find you online if they like to reach you?

[00:52:55] Denise Logan: My website is nice and easy. It's my name, and you're welcome to email me at denise[at]deniselogan[dot]com. I'm always happy to hear from listeners and to answer questions. And as you read the book, one of the things as an owner, you can be thinking is the advisors in the book show up like the caring professionals that you need to help guide you.

Think, are the advisors that you're choosing, showing up that way for you because far too long, we have heard that owners are terrified that advisors will take advantage of them in the process. There are great people out there just waiting to help you on your way. Choose them.

[00:53:41] Jeffrey Feldberg: Words from the wise for the wise. And I love that. Denise, thank you so much for taking part of your day and spending it with us on The Sell My Business Podcast. And as we wrap up this episode as always, please stay healthy and safe.

[00:53:53] Denise Logan: Thanks so much. It was really lovely to be with you, Jeffrey.

[00:53:56] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

Lyn M.: This course is one of the best investments you will ever make because you will get an ROI of a hundred times that. Anybody who doesn't go through it will lose millions.

Kam H.: If you don't have time for this program, you'll never have time for a successful liquidity

Sharon S.: It was the best value of any business course I've ever taken. The money was very well spent.

Lyn M.: Compared to when we first began, today I feel better prepared, but in some respects, may be less prepared, not because of the course, but because the course brought to light so many things that I thought we were on top of that we need to fix.

Kam H.: I 100% believe there's never a great time for a business owner to allocate extra hours into his or her week or day. So it's an investment that will yield results today. I thought I will reap the benefit of this program in three to five years down the road. But as soon as I stepped forward into the program, my mind changed immediately.

Sharon S.: There was so much value in the experience that the time I invested paid back so much for the energy that was expended.

Lyn M.: The Deep Wealth Experience compared to other programs is the top. What we learned is very practical. Sometimes you learn stuff that it's great to learn, but you never use it. The stuff we learned from Deep Wealth Experience, I believe it's going to benefit us a boatload.

Kam H.: I've done an executive MBA. I've worked for billion-dollar companies before. I've worked for smaller companies before I started my business. I've been running my business successfully now for getting close to a decade. We're on a growth trajectory. Reflecting back on the Deep Wealth, I knew less than 10% what I know now, maybe close to 1% even.

Sharon S.: Hands down the best program in which I've ever participated. And we've done a lot of different things over the years. We've been in other mastermind groups, gone to many seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, read books. This was so different. I haven't had an experience that's anything close to this in all the years that we've been at this.

It's five-star, A-plus.

Kam H.: I would highly recommend it to any super busy business owner out there.

Deep Wealth is an accurate name for it. This program leads to deeper wealth and happier wealth, not just deeper wealth. I don't think there's a dollar value that could be associated with such an experience and knowledge that could be applied today and forever.

Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

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Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. 

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

Our founders said "no" to a 7-figure offer and "yes" to a 9-figure offer less than two years later. 

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event. 

After all, how can you master something you've never done before? 

Are you leaving millions on the table? 

Learn how the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our 9-step roadmap helps you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.  

Click here to book your free exploratory strategy session.

Enjoy the interview!

This podcast is brought to you by the Deep Wealth Experience. In the world of mergers and acquisitions, 90% of deals fail. Of the successful deals, business owners leave millions of dollars on the deal table.

Who are we and how do we know? We're the 9-figure exit guys. We said "no" to a 7-figure offer based on 3-times, EBITDA. Two years later, we said "yes" to a 9-figure offer based on 13-times EBITDA.  In the process we increased the value of our company 10X.

During our liquidity event journey, we created a 9-step preparation process. It's the quality and depth of your preparation that increases your business value.

After our 9-figure exit we committed ourselves to leveling the playing field. The Deep Wealth Experience helps you create a launch plan in 90-days. Our solution is resilient, relentless, and gets results. Enjoy the certainty that you'll capture the maximum value on your liquidity event.
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Denise Logan On Mastering The Seller's Journey For Success (#104)