Over the years, I have had the privilege of serving in investor relations with a number of firms. Starting out, I worked for a brokerage firm that had trillions of dollars in assets under management. I later made a 180-degree turn to a startup real estate syndication firm where I built an investor relations platform and served as Director of Investor Solutions. Currently, I serve as Director of Investor Relations at Ashcroft Capital, a group I have grown with and have been investing with for years.
I have never written a blog or article on the topic of investor relations. My primary focus has been on helping others learn how to invest and create wealth for themselves. Today, I felt compelled to share five tips for investor relations that can help you. Whether you are involved in investor relations yourself, or if you’re hiring for an investor relations role, or even if you’re simply an investor looking to partner with a firm, these five tips will help you create better conversations and awareness. Let’s get right to the point:
1. Discuss the Good AND the Bad.
Everyone loves to talk about the positives, best-case scenarios, and strong past performance. The truth is, it can create skepticism among some investors if you fail to mention the risks or the downside scenarios as well. You create more trust and transparency if you do not gloss over the negatives, but instead, proactively put them out in the open.
2. Be Visible.
It may not be a great idea to start raising capital or promoting your deals without a network, community, or online presence. Make sure to create content on social media outlets, be a guest on podcasts or host your own, and build a thought leadership platform.
Some firms and/or general partners have thousands of followers on one outlet and post there frequently (on Facebook, for example) but they are missing thousands of potential investors who prefer using LinkedIn or YouTube instead. It is better to post a small amount of content on multiple social media outlets than to go heavy on one outlet. The key is to be visible in as many places as possible when someone Googles your name or firm.
Newer syndication groups have reached out over the years and asked me to take a look at their website, slide deck, or deal overview from the perspective of a Limited Partner investor. I always circle back to professionalism. For anything you post or distribute, it is critical to remove typos, glitches, or anything that might suggest your team is unprofessional or simply doesn’t care.
Also, what you say and how you say it is really important, so be aware of your messaging. When I join investor Zoom calls or podcasts (for example) I always wear a clean pressed button-up shirt and/or a sports jacket. It may seem unnecessary while working from home, but impressions go a long way. Always be professional.
4. Know Your Target Audience.
Funny story… I gave a speech years ago when I was first trying to network with more accredited investors. I had an investor/realtor friend of mine in Orlando who was wanting to start a local meetup for real estate investors. I decided I would partner with him on one of the first meetups.
I marketed the event, created a PowerPoint, rehearsed my speech, got all dressed up, traveled to the event, and gave it everything I had. When I finished the presentation, the audience applauded, and I remember thinking, “I killed it!” Only one problem: It turned out that nobody in the audience was an accredited investor. Lesson = Know who your target audience is, where they hang out, what they do, and get out in front of the right crowd to avoid wasting time and energy.
5. Respond Quickly.
Oftentimes it is not about whether YOU are ready to pitch your deal, it is when YOUR CUSTOMER is ready to invest. If one of your investors decides out of the blue that they are ready to deploy $100K today, and they email, text, or call, you better be ready to help them out ASAP. You can lose an investment simply by not responding quickly enough.
On a personal note, a couple of months ago I was looking to make an investment with an operator. I emailed three quick and easy questions after reading their project overview and never heard back. I placed that capital with another operator a couple of weeks later. We work in a very competitive space — something to keep in mind. Responding is also a form of professionalism.
In conclusion, I will leave you with a bonus tip…
Things change rapidly in today’s world. New conferences, new social media outlets, COVID — you must be adaptable and open to experimenting to see what works. When one door closes, pivot and look for another. If one strategy stops working, be adaptable. One of my mentors told me years ago: “Double down on what works.”
To Your Success,
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.