TFF #015: How to master your intro meeting with investors

Mar 02, 2023

This week’s tip: how to master your first meeting with investors

Two of my clients launched their fundraising campaigns this month. It's an interesting time, filled with excitement but also anxiety.

We've been working on improving their introductory calls so that they can have more second meetings and get investors more excited about their projects.

It's worth noting that around 80% of introductory calls with investors end up in rejection. However, this isn't always your fault - sometimes investors just don't understand your vision.

And after spending a decade in this industry and two years reviewing intro meetings, I can confidently say that you can improve your success rate at getting that second meeting.

It doesn’t have to have such a low success rate.

And once you do, your funnel will look so much healthier as you go through your fundraising process. Which means:

  • More meetings with investors
  • More momentum in your fundraise; and
  • A much higher chance of getting that term sheet

Here’s 6 tips on how you can master your intro meetings with investors:

 

1. Control the meeting

One of the best things you can do early on is to take control of meetings. This demonstrates to investors that you can set agendas, lead, and execute, which is exactly what they are looking for.

You can say something along the lines of,

“Hey {INVESTOR}, Seems we’ve got 30 mins introduction. I’d love to hear more about you and your fund and tell you a bit about me and what we are building at {YOUR COMPANY}.”

Make sure you are taking control of your fundraising process. It shows that you are a founder that the investor should be happy to speak to. Not a nervous wreck who feels they shouldn't be there.

 

2. Focus on making the investor want to spend more time with you

The most common failure I see from founders is focusing too much on making an investor want to invest in their company right away.

It's important to stress that the introductory meeting is not about securing investment; it's about determining compatibility and whether the investor is willing to recommend you to colleagues.

Instead of focusing solely on your company, concentrate on building rapport with the investor and showcasing yourself as a founder. Naturally, you'll discuss your company, but the goal is to gauge the investor's interest in spending more time with you and promoting your business to others.

 

3. Start with your founder story

Similar to the previous example, I often see founders immediately launching into a pitch about their company. However, this approach doesn't build rapport or get investors excited about you. Investors won't care about your company if they don't know why they should be speaking to you.

Instead, focus on crafting your founder origin story. Make it tight, emotional, and connected to your "why". When an investor asks, "Tell me a bit about your company", start with your founder origin story. After all, everything about your company comes back to that.

 

4. Make it easy for the investor to present you to their colleagues

The reason an investor has an introductory call is to learn more about you, but it's also to gather information on how they can convince their colleagues to invest. Make it easy for them to do so.

Internally investors will meet together and discuss the interesting companies they met that week. In that short time they have to convince everyone else in the deal team that you are worth the time to speak to again.

And multiple times if we didn't feel confident enough to speak about a company we'd either:

1. Fail to present it well and the company wouldn't get past the intro meeting
2. Decide we didn't like it enough if it was so complex

You could be shooting yourself in the foot if you don't give the investor the tools to present why your company is worth the time internally to their colleagues!

So make it easy for them to do so. Explain in simple terms why they should be excited and why the team should spend more time speaking with you.

Ask them what they need to help explain your company internally. Give them analogies, examples, whatever it takes.

 

5. End the meeting properly

If you don't end the call properly, it can end on a sour note, leaving the investor wondering, "Was I really that excited?"

That's why it's important to make sure they're still excited by the end of the call, and that they want to spend more time with you.

You can also build in momentum here by:

  • Asking about their process
  • Asking what more information do they want or need
  • Telling them where you are at in your fundraise

This is so important to make sure an investor is confirming a yes or no in a fast manner. You have to get this right.

You can also pry more information out on what they are excited by and what they need to get more comfortable on.

This is vital information for that investor and every future meeting you have with others.

 

6. Follow-up fast

As I've stated before, an investor always looks for examples of how a founder executes - which is the biggest precursor to success.

Unfortunately, many founders never ask what key areas an investor wants to learn more about, leaving them unsure of what to do after an introductory call.

One of the best things you can do is create and provide content and information to an investor right away. For example, if they want to learn more about your customer or customer journey, most founders would wait for the investor to reply a week later.

However, if you provide a new deck, report, or even a one-page document that precisely addresses their inquiry within 24 hours, that is powerful, rare, and showcases your ability to execute.

The beautiful thing about this approach is that you will likely have 1-3 similar topics that all investors want to learn more about. Therefore, you only have to create content once, then send it to everyone! So don't forget to follow up quickly.

 


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