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In this week’s episode, join host Nick Olsen as he sits down with Joe Blackburn, founder of Lion’s Eye Coaching as they dive deep into the importance of influencers in our lives. Discover how cultivating strong, authentic relationships with both traditional and non-traditional influencers can catapult your M&A strategies to new heights.

Joe introduces the concept of “pillars”—those ideal clients who not only provide exceptional service but also pay optimally. He underscores the crucial elements of likeability, active listening, and the power of unsolicited referrals in fostering these invaluable connections. Blackburn shares his expert framework for engaging in meaningful conversations that prioritize serving over selling. He offers practical tactics for working with influencers, such as making courtesy introductions, offering unparalleled service, and adding a memorable wow factor to every interaction.

Tune in now and elevate your understanding of M&A dynamics with the podcast that delivers actionable insights and unlocks the door to new possibilities. To learn more about M&A trends and insights, please like, subscribe, and rate our podcast. New episodes go live every Thursday at 9 am CST.

Some Key takeaways include:

  • Building relationships with influencers is crucial in the world of M&A
  • Pillars are ideal clients who pay you ideally and provide great service
  • Likeability, listening, and unsolicited referrals are key in influencer relationships
  • Non-traditional influencers, such as luxury jewelers and barbers, can have a significant impact on referrals
  • Use the F.O.R.M. framework (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Money) to have meaningful conversations and understand others
  • Create a think of me when statement to stay top of mind with influencers
  • Make courtesy introductions to influencers and offer service to them
  • Provide meaningful touches and a wow factor in relationships
  • Connect with influencers on a personal level and understand their values

About the show:

The M&A Mastermind Podcast is your go-to source for the latest industry trends and strategies to level up your M&A practice.

The show features thought leaders who specialize in the lower middle market space and share their experiences and expertise across key areas of execution, such as: market analysis, lead generation, deal management, strategic partnerships, buyer access and much more.

With host Nick Olsen, each episode’s “mastermind” will share ways in which they have found success in navigating the M&A industry to best support the small-to-medium sized private business owners they focus on serving.


00:00 Introduction and Overview

02:26 Building Relationships with Pillars

06:08 The Importance of Likeability and Listening

10:02 Non-Traditional Influencers: Expanding the Network

27:22 Building Relationships with Influencers

28:13 The F.O.R.M. Framework for Meaningful Conversations

29:41 Finding the Impact Point and Pivoting to Business

35:55 Creating a Think of Me When Statement

42:11 Making Courtesy Introductions and Offering Service

45:00 Providing Meaningful Touches and a Wow Factor

48:32 Connecting with Influencers on a Personal Level


Mergers and acquisitions, M&A, investment banking, corporate finance, sell-side, valuation, due diligence, how to sell my business, M&A market trends, influencers, pillars, relationships, referrals, conversations, serving, selling, introductions

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