Imagine you’re preparing for a prospective investor meeting. To make a strong impression, you devote extra time to prep work, learning as much as possible about the decision makers who will attend. You rehearse a compelling explanation of your fund’s value proposition and prioritize your talking points. You prepare thoughtful responses for all the questions you’ll likely hear.
Then the meeting day arrives, and your hard work is rewarded with a “no.”
If this scenario feels painfully familiar, you’re not alone. After you’ve tried so hard to earn potential investors’ trust during a meeting, that initial rejection stings. But successful fund managers recognize the difference between “no” and “never.” While the latter is an absolute endpoint, think of the former as a starting point. “No” can be the launchpad for cultivating relationships with potential investors and guiding them to “yes.” Let’s explore some ways to achieve that by using communication to build trust and overcome investor excuses.
The Frustration of the Vague “No”
Although it’s always hard to hear “no,” that word brings even more frustration when investors don’t provide clear reasons for their decision. Did the fund manager give a long-winded pitch, or fail to clearly differentiate their strategy or effectively convey their fund’s advantages, or unload a mountain of data without sufficient explanation? Those are just some of the factors that can influence investment choices — but in most cases, investors won’t provide you with feedback or specific reasons for their response.
7 Steps to Stay Connected with Potential Investors
Although it’s always useful to understand the “why” behind the “no,” fund managers can combat vague investor excuses with effective, sustained communication. Here are some concrete steps you can take to get to “yes”:
Add the investor to your email list for monthly performance updates. This instills confidence by regularly showing potential investors what your fund achieves over time — and what they’re missing because of “no”
Put the investor on a quarterly call list. The goal here is not only to discuss aspects of your fund, but to reassure potential investors by providing your insights around markets shifts they’re seeing.
Suggest ways to give investors greater visibility into the portfolio and trading strategy. Increasingly, investors have an insatiable appetite for transparency. When a perceived lack of transparency exists, that can be a deal-breaker.
Use social media to allow investors to “follow” you or your firm. Whether it’s Twitter or LinkedIn, make sure investors can easily find your firm’s social media accounts. Remember to include links in your email signature and on your firm’s website.
Send custom video clips to say “hello” and highlight news about your portfolio. As you create these brief customized videos, think about each investor’s specific concerns. A high-net-worth individual will have very different interests than a pension fund.
Schedule casual in-person meetings with investors. This could be dinner, a round of golf, or even a quick coffee meeting at the investor’s office where you bring their favorite bagels. Each informal meeting is an opportunity to establish rapport. Although investors do care about a fund’s process and value proposition, don’t underestimate the power of emotions. Potential investors need to feel comfortable with the people who manage the money.
Invite the investor to an industry event. By introducing investors to others, you create goodwill by broadening their network.
Stay on the Path to “Yes”
Investors’ concerns aren’t limited to volatility statistics, risk-adjusted returns, and liquidity terms. They also care deeply about the integrity of the people behind each fund. As you focus on building rapport and explore creative ways to achieve that, remember that patience pays off. In this industry, trust is the coin of the realm, and it takes time to earn. By remaining persistent and thoughtful about your ongoing communication with potential investors, you can build that trust and convert a “no” into a “yes.”