Monte Ahuja has had a storied career, growing Transtar Industries Inc. from a two-person startup in 1975 to the largest distributor of transmission and driveline-related parts in the world. He’s also a lifelong philanthropist who also has a deep passion for education.
As someone who has achieved so much, it makes sense that he has a keen sense for details.
“It has become my nature to — whether through people, through information available — I always have a saying, ‘Give me everything you can,’” Ahuja says. “I just want to know everything I can.”
Ahuja returned to Transtar last summer as CEO, but has since stepped back to become executive chairman. With Ahuja in the news again, we thought it was appropriate to share a little more of what he had to say during our video interview last fall. In this clip, he speaks about the thrill of negotiating, why it’s important to know every detail and why you can’t be afraid to walk away. What follows is a transcript of the above video, edited for readability.
The thrill of negotiating
I enjoy dealmaking. The art of negotiating — the thrill of negotiation — is something I especially enjoy. The more deals I’ve made, the more negotiations I’ve done successfully, the more confident and more exciting it gets. So, to me, growing the business or acquiring anything — dealmaking sort of comes naturally.
Know every detail
When I’m making an acquisition, buying a business or something like that, I try to know every single thing that I can about that deal. About that business. Many times, people go into negotiating not knowing everything that they should know. So it has become my nature to — whether through people, through information available — I always have a saying, “Give me everything you can.” I just want to know everything I can.
And it is beyond just the due diligence that normal people do. I want to know more — to go deeper — to see what the seller’s motivations are. What is important to that seller.
Don’t be afraid to walk away
I never go into a deal with the intention that this deal must happen. Because the moment you let the other party know that you have to make this deal, you’re not going to be making a good deal. I always prepare myself — yes, give and take takes place, but if this deal doesn’t happen, that’s not the end of the world. So you have to be willing to, you know, walk away from the deal. That is very important; a very powerful tool, especially if the other party is very motivated to make the deal.