The mistake: Rushing their investor.
You went through a journey to learn what you know. Way back when, it was uncharted territory for you.
Your investor is venturing into uncharted territory now, too.
So give him some time. The things you think are obvious, your client doesn’t see them as obvious yet. If you explained them well, he will see them as obvious later. But he’s not there yet.
So give him some time. Merge your followup with his learning curve, which probably looks a lot like yours did, way back when. Don’t just pounce on him with “Hey, have you thought about this yet? Are you ready? Huh, are you ready?”
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Do you want to move on to the second point, or do you want to dive deeper into this one?
Let’s go on. We can beat that horse to death, but it’s dead, right?
Yeah. Let’s move on to point number two, then. What’s on your mind?
Again, what I’m saying here, Matt, is always about mistakes that I made myself for so many years. When I sort of got a little bit more enlightened about how we can do this alternatively, it just became very clear to me. One of the big mistakes that I also see being made and I made myself is that we’re not aware enough of the client journey that our final investors are going through. For example, an investor may never have invested in what you do. There’s a bit of discomfort from onset. It’s exotic, it’s unknown, and so they’re venturing out into uncharted territory. What I see is that what happens is you do this pitch for the first time, and the gatekeeper or the investor says, “This is really interesting. Thank you.” A lot of fund managers are like, “Okay, he’s ready to buy. Now we just have to follow up.” What they do is then they just harass them and say, “So have you thought about this? Are you ready? Have you thought about this? Are you ready?”
You do have to followup in this industry. If you don’t follow up, you’re not going to get the business because everybody gets distracted, and everybody has a lot of work to do. You are rendering a service by following up, but you can make this followup much more useful by merging your followup with your investor’s learning curve. That means that you probably want to make sure that you write out some sort of a script. Then you say, “Okay, let’s follow up and let’s tell them a little bit more about this. Let’s follow up again after a few weeks and tell them a little bit more.” I think what you’re doing then is you’re sort of helping them get comfortable with your investment proposition and also making them more comfortable with you as a manager. They also have to get to know you. They want to have a feeling how your team thinks, what matters to you, all those kind of human things.
Instead of just harassing people until they give you a yes or a no, there’s a massive opportunity to structure a followup as a learning curve. You can do this the old fashioned way, which is time-consuming and expensive – basically having a script for every time you go and meet them again, you have something new to say to educate them.
Or you can actually use technology for this. Like what you and I do, we have this email that is automated and with a fixed interval you give them a little nugget more. That’s also a good way to stay on top of mind.
There’s an alternative train of thought that I want to run by you and see what you think about it.
Sometimes people say during the followup process, instead of dripping out another nugget of wisdom or helping them along the journey, that instead your correspondence or your emails should get shorter and shorter until eventually it’s just a subject line that says “Status” and you don’t even say anything in the body of the email. What do you think about that approach?
If you’re a good copy writer and you can actually do that, it’s amazing. It sounds interesting. I’d like to explore it, how it’s done. What I basically think is that, in the investment industry, you’re never really going to force someone to buy anything or to invest in something. What you can do is, you can just make them more comfortable to make the decision. There’s nothing that makes people more comfortable than the peace of mind of knowing what they’re getting into. It’s all about offering education. Frankly, the way I approach this is I think you have to balance out you obviously have to transfer knowledge but still make it consumable. If you’re writing long essays, nobody is really going to have time to read them. You can do this in short nuggets. You don’t always have to give them all the information. I think it’s all about triggering thoughts in their minds. It’s like the Inception effect. When they can fill in the blanks, they’re going to become more of an owner of your idea. Their own mind is working on completing your sentences, in a way. I think that’s very powerful.
The best thing about modern marketing is that if you have an email list, then you can monitor who’s paying attention. If you’re five or six emails down the sequence and you see that, “Look, Mr. A and Mr. B and Mrs. C have been reading 60% of my emails. Hey, there must be a reason for that.” It also allows you to disqualify certain prospects. You may want to say, “Okay, look, I’ve been sending you through emails. Is that maybe not a good way to followup on you?” If they don’t really know who you are when you followup with them, then you definitely know they’re not qualified as prospects. I think it’s a little bit about helping them gather enough courage to want to try something new.
Before we move on to point number three, let’s back up a few minutes. You mentioned, after your first meeting, that’s a bad time to start peppering them with, “Hey, what do you think? What do you think? You gonna buy? You gonna buy?” Tell us, in those first few days after the initial meeting, what might be going through the minds of the target customers?
What might be going through their minds? If we stay in the institutional space, where you’re dealing with a fund buyer or an institutional investment allocator, what you do know is that they’ve probably taken three or four more meetings on that day, and the day after, and the day after, and the day after. They’re absorbing a lot of information from a lot of managers all the time. It’s not like you’re unique because you had a meeting with them.
You sort of fade away in the noise of information.
Bearing that in mind, in the beginning you have a few freebie opportunities to followup. The first thing is: “thank you for the meeting.” When you do that meeting, promise to share something with them so you have another reason to followup with them. “By the way, as we promised, we promised to share this with you.” You can do that. That’s maybe just another follow-up. Then, as soon as possible – provided that your content isn’t too time-wasting, TLDR (too long, didn’t read) – just make sure that you can prove from onset that you’re willing to help them understand this better.
About Matt Krause
Matt began his professional life managing inventory levels for wholesale import companies and forecasting labor costs for national retail chains. Since 2006, he has been teaching professionals how to present themselves and their companies better. His clients work for companies like Citibank, Microsoft, 3M, P&G, and HP.