Face it. If the phone isn’t ringing after your first pitch, then the targeted fund is just not that into you. In this two-part report, MATT MILGROM and DANIEL GRIOLI* canvass the sure deal-breakers that too often put investors off funds managers.

 

Candlelight flickers across the best table in the best restaurant in town. Your date looks entrancing and you’re dressed to kill. The flowers were a nice touch, and the chilled Bollinger broke the ice beautifully. Yet something went awry between entrees and mains. You had assumed their glazed eyes signalled stunned awe. After all, you’d wowed them for an hour with your most startling successes: your stellar career, impressive salary and intrepid travels. You’ve even dazzled them with the sheer number of partners you’ve delighted previously. But now, 20 minutes after they ‘went to find the bathroom’ your date has absconded and you’re experiencing déjà vu. Finally, you signal to the nervously hovering waiter for the bill. Another expensive dinner wasted.

 

Only an evergreen single-dates like that. Human relationships are all about mutual understanding. About a meeting of needs, about talking and listening. That needs to start on the first date if there’s to be any chance of a second one, or a happy-ever-after story.

Pitching for an investment mandate can be exactly the same: people buy from people, and listening and understanding are the lifeblood of healthy business relationships. That sounds obvious but a terrifying number of pitches still get it completely wrong.

Just like an egocentric date, they trade conversation for bragging. Listening for talking. And without knowing what’s important to the super fund, funds managers barrage them with claims and credentials that cover all the bases.

This is excellent news for funds managers in the know. Why? Because a pitch that connects a super fund’s needs with clear benefits really stands out from the pack. These days, back-to-back pitching sessions – ‘speed-dating’ style – are becoming ever more popular. Knowing how to be seen as a sensitive and attractive proposition within a short window has never been more important.

So how can you propel yourself past your competitors and leave a lasting impression that launches a profitable future?

 

Do your homework

Successful relationships have something in common: an empathetic understanding of real needs. Responding to those needs nurtures happy, lasting relationships. Assumption or ignorance of them breeds frustration, conflict and ultimately, divorce. A business relationship that responds to client needs is lasting and profitable. And as trust builds, so does the opportunity for growth.

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