How Warren Buffett Knows a Good Deal from a Bad Deal

Jill Konrath’s got a great blog for salespeople that always has fresh ideas and content on it. She spoke with the author of a new book about Warren Buffett’s dealmaking skills, Tom Searcy.

In particular, I liked this bit about how Warren knows a good deal when he’s making one:


JILL: Good analogy. When we were talking earlier, you said that one of your favorite Buffettisms is that “Bad Deals at Good Prices Are Still Bad Deals.” What are the deals you should beware?

Tom Searcy: For Buffett, there were a number of indicators.

  • You can’t do good business with bad people. Integrity and a reputation for that integrity are critical to Buffett when considering an opportunity and the same should be true for everyone.
  • If it’s only about the money, it is often not a good deal. That’s an auction and if all you are bringing is money to the table, then nothing else will be valued. The same is true when you are selling. If all you can bring is the lowest price, then the buyer will trade you for a lower price at a future time.
  • Most great deals are done relatively quickly. If a deal or a sale drags out for a long time, it’s negative indicator. One of the parties is not putting energy behind getting things done. That could be because of fear, bad chemistry or competitors.

By having a filter in place to weed out the bad deals and sticking to that filter regardless of how much you want the sale or the deal, you can avoid a lot of bad deals.


Josh here – Totally agree with all three of these. I tend to extricate myself from situations when they seem to be running contra to those above principles. Life’s too short to get involved with bad people or annoying sales processes.


Sales Advice from Warren Buffett (JillKonrath)

The Book:

How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett

Read this next.