Note: I created a workbook for you called 23 Mental Triggers That Make Investors Say YES as part of this article to make your keep in touch efforts even more effective. This resource was only available to my private mentoring clients by now.

Download the workbook here.

 

When I work with entrepreneurs to help them build strategic relationships with investors, I often hear them say “We met with a few investors by now but none of them has made a commitment to invest yet”.

It’s important to understand that an investor relationship is a high-trust relationship, a bit like a marriage. It’s rare that couples get married on the first date. It’s also rare that an investor makes a large investment decision the first time you meet.

So how do you go from “We just met” to “I trust you enough to bet half a million on you”?

There are certain methods of building trust I have seen work extraordinarily well by coaching and mentoring over 200 leaders and entrepreneurs over the past two years.

A few months ago, I helped an entrepreneur in the fashion industry get together with an impact investor which led to a large investment. It took the investor only a matter of a few weeks to go from the first meeting with the entrepreneur to investing almost seven figures in the entrepreneur’s venture.

Or in the investor’s words: “After a few meetings with this entrepreneur and conversations about his business venture it was clear that he and I shared the same values. Just few weeks later I decided that the time was right to make my first investment into his start-up.”

So here are the five ways I have found to be most effective in building a high level of trust with investors.

 

1. Updating on Progress

You may think it’s obvious to send potential investors an update on your progress. However, how many people who could be potential investors have you met over the years and completely forgotten about? These are all people who may be interested in either investing in your venture or who may have a network of investors they can introduce you to.

However, because they don’t know where you are at in building your venture, or even worse, they don’t even know you are the CEO of a startup, you deny these potential investors an opportunity to make a difference.

Maybe you met with potential investors before. Maybe even before you had a business plan or your first working product. Maybe you met with investors over the past months and they told you “Interesting, let’s keep in touch.”

If you don’t update them on your progress, it’s like seeing a gold barrel lying on the floor but you are too lazy to pick it up.

Really? You have invested all this valuable time of yours in meeting with these people and now you don’t update them on your progress?

Maybe the reason for not following up and updating investors on the progress of your venture is a lack of systems. LinkedIn is a great tool for making connections and sending messages but it sucks at providing you with a systematic way to keep in touch in very specific ways to build trust.

That’s why I love Contactually. It gives you a systematic and easy way to keep in touch with hundreds of people on a regular basis with the click of a few buttons. Contactually is the most simple and effective CRM for entrepreneurs I have ever found.

So I suggest you do three things to make the follow up process with updates as effective as possible.

First, add the investors and CEOs you met with to your CRM. I highly recommend Contactually to make this as easy for your as possible. Then send all of them an update right away.

Second, add the people in your network you think could be potential investors or could know investors to your CRM system.

Third, create monthly follow up reminders to send the people from step one and two an update about your progress. Include achieved milestones, accomplishments and any other noteworthy updates.

 

2. Asking for Inputs

How do you move an investor from interested to invested? You bring them to the middle ground of emotionally invested first.

There is a reason why so many investors act as mentors, on advisory roles and on boards of non-profits. They are looking to contribute not only through their capital but also through their expertise.

One of the biggest reasons why investors invest is to help the next generation of entrepreneurs to become successful. And one of the most powerful ways to do that, next to investing capital, is to invest their wisdom.

Let’s say your venture is enabling businesses to engage their online users more effectively through gamification and giving to social causes, which results in increased revenue and higher audience engagement. One of your biggest questions is which industry to focus on to start with. Is non-profits a good start? Or maybe companies like Spotify? Are emerging markets more receptive to this?

You have to make plenty of high-stakes decisions on a daily basis that takes up a lot of energy. How awesome would it be to have an expert advisor in some of these areas you could consult with, even if it’s just as a sparring partner via email?

Most investors who are serious about helping next-generation entrepreneurs succeed are more than happy to spare a few minutes to discuss topics that match their field of expertise. By asking for inputs and feedback on certain things, you can involve the investor emotionally.

The great side benefit of this is that once an investor is emotionally invested in your venture, it’s a much smaller leap to be financially invested as well. And even if one investor does not put in his capital, it’s much more likely he will make an introduction to one of his colleagues because he cares about you and your success.

 

3. Sharing Relevant Content

This is one of my favorites because it builds trust through regular, short emails that require very little time from your side and the investor’s side.

Maybe you have recently watched a phenomenal TED talk that reflects your belief that started your venture and at the same time is so thought provoking that a few of your potential investors would love it too. So you send out the TED talk video along with a short note about why you love the talk and why the investor would love it too.

This does a couple of things at the same time.

First, it makes sure your name and face stays top of the investor’s mind.

Second, because you sent the video and shared why you love it and why the investor would love it too, it puts you and the TED talk in context.

Third, it attaches your email to a positive feeling if the TED talk is really something the investor enjoys and finds relevant. This builds likability and ensures that the investor will also read future emails from you.

Early 2014, I got introduced to the organizer of TEDx Lugano. It was one of my big dreams to speak at TEDx one day. Unfortunately, they had already booked all speakers for 2014.

So I set up a systematic way to keep in touch and build trust with the organizer over the course of several months.

Every month, I sent the TEDx organizer an update with a TED talk or something else relevant that I believed he would enjoy as much as I did. Eight months later, he replied with “Are you still interested in speaking at TEDx?” Of course I said yes and had the honor of speaking at TEDxLugano in April 2015.

There are a few things to consider in this story.

We had never met. He had never seen me speak. Plus, we never even discussed the topic I will be speaking about. By systematically keeping in touch with him over the course of several months, I had built enough trust to make these facts irrelevant.

I have seen this magic at work countless times when working with my clients. It’s an extremely effective method to build a high level of trust over time.

 

4. Connecting the Investor

I’m a natural connector so this comes fairly natural to me. I connect people with each other every week because I have a talent for seeing what belongs together.

Making a mutually beneficial connection between a potential investor and somebody in your network does a few things for you.

It let’s you keep in touch with two people at the same time by only performing one action. It builds authority and credibility in the eyes of a potential investor. And, maybe most importantly, it activates the law of reciprocity. When you connect the investor to somebody who adds massive value to them, they will want to do the same thing for you.

In order for you to make a high-value connection, you need to know a few things about the investor. With my clients, I always create a detailed investor fact sheet where we do specific research on each target investor to figure out what makes them tick. I always compare it to sitting in a control room where you have access to the investor’s brain.

Once you acquired this knowledge, you can find ways to add value to your target investors’ lives by connecting them to people you already know.

This can be other entrepreneurs they may want to invest in or other investors they may want to co-invest with. You can even connect them to potential strategic partners for their own businesses or to their next Chief Technical Officer if they happen to be looking for one.

At the end of the day, what is a business really?

It’s an interconnected network of people working towards similar goals. The entrepreneur, employees, customers, partners, vendors, investors and advisors are all interconnected in the business. So a business basically runs on people. Without people, there is no such thing as a business.

Contactually, the CRM I mentioned above, does this with a few clicks. Another reason why I love this software so much.

 

5. Share Your Appreciation

We have a huge lack of sincere “thank you” and “congratulations” in today’s business world. This is the perfect opportunity for you to stand out of the crowd and share your appreciation with potential investors.

I don’t know about you but I receive several sales messages every week. I always cringe when I see people reach out to me with a page-long fact-loaded sales message that makes me ask “Who are you again?”.

So when somebody sends me an email or LinkedIn message with a simple thank you without wanting anything from me, I’m interested to know who they are.

Some of the most successful outreach and keep in touch campaigns I have helped my clients deploy, have been built on appreciation. One of these campaigns helped one of my clients secure 12 calls and meetings with CEOs within just 15 days.

If you have done your research on your target investors, you know everything you need to know about them, in order to share your appreciation. Look at what they have recently achieved in their business, who they invested in and what new projects they have launched and you will have plenty to refer to.

 

Note: I created a workbook for you called 23 Mental Triggers That Make Investors Say YES as part of this article to make your keep in touch efforts even more effective. This resource was only available to my private mentoring clients by now.

Download the workbook here.

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