Dan DiDomenico, President
More than ever, people are relying on digital communication to meet and connect with clients and prospects. Since we can’t always meet face to face, email has become more important than ever when it comes to reaching out to and setting meetings with our audiences. But even before the pandemic, there was a constant competition for the time and attention of allocators. If everyone’s inboxes are overloaded with emails and sales pitches, how do you make yours stand out? It comes down to providing support, and making a genuine connection with the person on the receiving end of that email. They know what you’re doing, and what your motivations are, but it’s up to you to empower them to take the next step.
At Dakota, we have a dedicated sales team who spends a great deal of time setting up meetings and conference calls, reaching out to clients and prospects, and of course, consistently following up. It seems simple, but at the end of the day, whether you’re trying to start a dialogue with a new prospect, or build a relationship with a partner, how you go about it matters. No one wants to be bombarded with information or have something asked of them with no clear next steps.
Here are our three email must-haves, so that the next time you reach out to someone, even among the chaos, your email will stand out among the many and help drive that relationship forward.
When you’re writing, make every word have a purpose. Think about your own inbox, and how many emails you get on a daily basis; no one has time to waste, so it’s important to grab and hold the reader’s attention within the first few sentences. Introduce yourself and your firm, what you represent, a brief overview of your strategy, and how you’re hoping to work with them. This gives them a frame of reference, and allows them to connect with you early on, rather than simply overloading them with too much information they may not have the time to read.
This also goes for subject lines. Let your reader know the purpose of your message up front. Subject lines should be as short and to the point as your email, and reference exactly what you’ll be discussing within the email, whether it’s an update on a strategy or seeking a date and time to connect, be clear from the start about what you’re looking for.
For example: “ABC Growth - meeting 10/5”
In other words, what do you want them to do after they read your email? What action should they take next? To help define this, include a clear call to action at the end of every email, and ensure that you’re asking for something directly. If you want to set a meeting, propose a specific date and time, and ask if they have time to meet. This gives them something to respond to, and starts a dialogue that can be continued through a series of emails or a meeting.
For example: “Are you free to talk for 30 minutes on October 5th at 3PM for a brief introduction?”
You’ve given them something to respond to, now make sure they want to respond. What problem are you solving for them? Let them know up front that there is a problem that you can help them with, something that’s occurring in the real world. Are you solving for yield? Be specific about how you’re doing that, and how what you’re doing is different from everything else out there. This helps drive further connection between you and the reader on the other end. Captivate them about your strategy as a solution to a problem they’re facing in their day to day life.
For example: “We are currently in the market with our 7th fund and given the effect COVID-19 has had on the real estate market, we are seeing some extraordinary opportunities and we’d love the chance to introduce ourselves and tell you what we are seeing.”
It comes back to the fact that you’re competing for time, and no one is going to be guaranteed a response to every email they send. Our advice is to always be consistent. Start by asking yourself: if this the right person to be reaching out to in the first place. Be sure to qualify your prospects so that you’re reaching out to the right person from the start.
Additionally, it’s important to be just as visible and transparent in bad times (the market is down) as you are in good times (your performance is strong). If you’re only reaching out when things are going well, people will take notice, and they won’t respond well to it. Every strategy goes through down turns, and by reaching out during those bad times, the person on the other end will know that they’ll be in good hands if they choose to allocate to you. The goal is to connect people to your performance pattern by being transparent even when things aren’t going well; this gives people a sense of the role your strategy plays in the portfolio.
So, if you feel you aren’t getting the proper reaction from the outreach you’re doing: be consistent, be a good resource, and be patient.
If your emails are falling short, or you’re looking for a new way to connect with clients and prospects during this time when travel is not possible, consider taking your messages in a new direction. Say what you need to say in a video that you include in the email, rather than in writing.
For most of us, it’s the first time that we are unable to be physically present to build our relationships. Short videos of yourself giving a quick update on a strategy, or a follow up to a prior conversation can go a long way when it comes to building connections, and this kind of real time information is equally helpful when it comes to current clients or as a follow up to a prospect.
At Dakota, we’ve seen our open rates improve drastically by embedding a short video within it, because people are looking for connections now more than ever, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. It comes across as warm, and allows for a more personal connection, rather than just another email in a cluttered inbox.
At the end of the day, every form of communication, from phone to email, has to have a purpose. Always come back to the question: what’s in it for them? What are you bringing to the table for the person on the other end of your email, or on the other line of the phone? Make it about them, and keep these three tips in mind, and your emails will go a long way, with greater reward to show for them.
Make sure your emails are going to the right people. Find out more about Dakota Marketplace, a shared CRM database for investment professionals.