You Just Had A Call With A Family Office, But How Do You Follow Up?
1. Share regular updates. Regular updates with accomplishments are a good excuse to check in with Family Offices so they see you meant what you said in your pitch and are creating value and potential return by achieving specific goals you outlined. 2. Tell stories. Tell stories. The ending should suggest maximum potential rewards from investing. It’s important to begin your process by locking in every fact and figure you can, and be able to call them up at a moment’s notice. However, people will always respond to the feeling and experience of something more than a spreadsheet. I find if you get people on board on that level, they will continue to be curious after the meeting ends.
3. Save a few details for later.
When you throw your best pitch to a potential Family office investor, don’t reveal every amazing thing about your business. Keep a few interesting nuggets in your pocket for your follow up. On the day after your pitch, send a thank-you email to the Family Office and any others who attended the meeting. It’s not rare to not hear anything back after this message. That’s why you saved those details for later. After a week or two, those details give you a reason to reach out to the investor again. It’s a good way to stay on their radar without sending a message that provides no value. Sending a potential Family office investor some updated news or details gets you on their minds again.
4. Keep it casual. Pitching to Family Offices is a stressful activity. It’s important to try to keep an open dialogue to ensure you’re addressing real concerns and connecting with the audience. One way to do this is to create a plan for the presentation, but just know the major points you want to cover and be open to diverting from a formal presentation format should the conversation take another turn. Keep the language less formal, set context before getting into the details and make sure you know what the audience knows and address them where they’re at. Let the potential Family office investor set the tone of the meeting and respond to them.
5. Treat them like humans. People get all worked up when meeting Family Offices. It's treated like life or death, which puts too much pressure on the situation. Treat the Family Office like you'd want to be treated. If you allow them to be normal people, they will loosen up and be more comfortable, which makes your future together easier to navigate. Even if this business venture doesn't work out, keeping that relationship is important for the future as you may reconnect down the road.
6. Ask for feedback. Congratulations! You and your business have demonstrated sufficient potential to win the opportunity to pitch to people who may be willing to further finance your business goals. First, respect their time. Your pitch should be concise and well polished. After you've delivered the pitch you've worked so hard on, you need to do two things: Ask for feedback and follow up. Even if The Family Office has made a decision not to grant you funding at this time, they are often willing to critique your pitch and your business. This feedback can be (almost) as valuable as the funding itself. Learn from their advice and use it to make your next pitch better. Second, just because the timing isn't right doesn't mean it won't be in the future. Send investors regular updates to keep them informed of your progress.
7. Be prepared. No matter how badly you need that funding, showing desperation is a surefire way to alienate Family Offices. Be prepared to answer any questions the Family Offices might have after your pitch and agree on concrete next steps. If they ask for documents or forecasts that you don't have on hand, respond quickly and comprehensively. If they ask you to stay in touch, that doesn't mean they want you to email or call them every day. Set a schedule for sending relevant, data-driven follow ups. Even if your company is the next best thing, chances are the Family Offices does not want to hear about it every day or even every week. Monthly updates are more than sufficient. Depending on the investor, quarterly might be better. Keep in touch, but never be needy.
8. Take an investor with you. No one likes to be the first to anything, just like no one likes to miss out on anything. If you have a current willing investor, you should bring them along and include them in your pitch as a live testimonial. When everyone breaks out to chat, you will already have a partner with an investor's name tag right next to you. This does a few things: First, no one at the pitch has to be the first investor, so you took care of that issue; second, your investment partner can answer questions about investments while you stay focused on talking about your brand; and third, having a current investor means you have traction, and no one wants to miss out on a good opportunity. Bringing a current investor with you is a win-win for every single person at the pitch and it will put you over the top.
9. Send the Family Office your slide deck. After your important presentation, send the slide deck to your potential Family Office investor via email so they can refer to it again. You can use a tool like ClearSlide that will let you know for how long they viewed the presentation and which slides they stayed on the longest. This will help you understand their interest level, whether they actively spent 20 minutes reviewing your slide deck or one minute. You can drill down on which slides they spent the most time on and customise your next follow-up with what they care about the most.
10. Show them your progress. Nothing happens overnight, especially when it comes to investing. Leave yourself some room to update your potential Family Office with good news. For example, if your prototype is being updated, let your Family Office know that. That leaves room for another meeting. In any case, if your prototype is ready, have another actionable plan that will stimulate your Family Office. Always do your best to have another meeting set up before you leave. Based on their response, you can generally gauge how the pitch went.
11. Set up Google Alerts. Showing an interest in their success outside of your own shows selflessness and empathy. One way to keep the conversation open with investors post pitch is to set up Google Alerts for other portfolio companies and competitors. Every time a company is mentioned, you will get an alert, which can be used to spark a conversation. This will show investors that you are cognizant of their interests outside of your potential deal and aware of the firm's other ventures. It goes a long way toward opening up a dialogue without asking for something in return.
12. Provide a simple list of milestones. Family Offices love to hear of milestones met by your company. A simple way to get a post-pitch conversation flowing is to preempt the follow-up by creating a list of milestones that you will follow up on. Your business will be at a stage where a lot of activity is going on, and providing set goals will make your post-pitch conversation seem focused. Families will be impressed by your continued follow-up, and if the targets are good, will keep them interested in hearing more from the company. These milestones will also provide an opportunity to communicate the progress of the company and open the door for continued investment conversations. On the upside, if you exceed the milestones set, you might find the Family Office calling you back.
13. Do your research. Every Family Office will expect you to follow up. This is the natural step after presenting. However, you should attempt to do your research on your potential Family Office investor as much as possible. Whether it's sending a thank-you gift of their favourite scotch or a signed book by their favourite author, try to look at social media or speak to assistants for clues on how you can genuinely express your thanks and ask for an opportunity to follow up. Your Family Office will be left with the impression that you have taken an interest in them as people, not just their checkbooks.
Family Offices do not usually have a need to deploy a certain amount of capital by a certain date. Often they take longer to make decisions and might not always come to what you think is a rational conclusion. Respectful yet persistent follow-up is required to make sure they are staying on track. Respect their personal time and space but just know that you job is to convince them to invest. Sometimes that means pushing harder and other times pushing less. This space is still the wild west in many ways. It is hard to find interested families and understand their investment decision-making. That said, any CEO that can successfully crack this code and attract family office investment can become enormously successful and control their company’s destiny much better than they would be able to with a venture-backed company due to the potential misalignment around time horizons and value creation strategies that venture boards and management teams often encounter.