As fund and asset managers, this is a unique time which holds key strategic opportunities to empower your reputation. Here are the top 5 strategic marketing moves you should execute before the end of the year.
You probably already know that…
If you are a fund or asset manager reading this post, you probably don’t need me to tell you that the alternative investments and asset management industry, from hedge funds to private equity, from HNW family offices to professional industry-focused funds – is a trust-based service business. Far away from price-led markets. In this business, more than in many others, your brand is first and foremost your reputation. And reputation is something which you need others to grant to you. You acquire it with trust. This is why building strong, long-term relationships with investors and potential investors is key. We do not just sell “ROI”. We sell “peace of mind.” Even if you work with big institutional investors, someone in that company is “not sleeping well at night” since he/she is responsible for the value of your service. This person is your actual client, and it all comes down to trust and your relationship with that person.
Now is a strategic time to empower your reputation with trust
So far, I hope I did not blow your mind, since you know this already. So, What’s new? Timing. Just “Zoom out” and consider where we are right now:
- COVID19 shock – The business world is, in a way, getting over the “COVID19 shock” of 2020. With or without second/third wave and lockdowns, and even with winter coming into the Northern Hemisphere, people have already adjusted to a certain mode. In their personal lives, and in business. As Economists, it’s as if our nerves as a society are getting into a temporary equilibrium.
- Post US elections – Thinking about the United States (which affects everyone else, of course), no matter what happens in the end, markets are going back to normal as this story comes to an end. So, focus goes “back to business” and thinking about “what now.”
- End of year – With or without the Corona crisis, Q4 is always the time to both give a final push for the current year, as well as planning for the next one.
Seems like there is no specific reason to make an extra effort to communicate to your market now, right? People are busy, trying to catch a breath, no specific big crisis right now and post a very tense peak time… Right? That is exactly why now is the time to communicate and do something unexpected.
5 Marketing Moves You Should Make Right Now
- Focus your brand identity, positioning, storytelling, and messaging. In a world of information surplus, fake-news, confusion and lack of patience by customers and consumers – you have very limited time to imprint “who you are”, “why you do what you do”, “what makes you different” and “why that matters to your client.” Your visual assets, written copy and the way you communicate in meetings must be coherent, crystal clear and support your message. Don’t “show”, don’t “prove” – tell a compelling story.
- Separate your strategic key accounts from the ongoing business development and marketing operation. Ask yourself – who are the top 10 accounts / LPs / institutionals / HNWI / others you would love to acquire as “clients” for 2021? Separate them for the rest of your marketing and sales operation, and treat them as a “premium club.” Study them, map key gatekeepers and stakeholders, discover what they care about, and try to find out what you can do for them that is all about them.
- Reach out to those “golden prospects” in a clever, unexpected, empathetic, anti-sales way. Show that you actually care about them, regardless of the service you provide to them and what they pay you for. Unlike in crisis times when everyone is communicating and asking “how are you” – do it now! Find something to talk to them about which they actually care about, or give them an idea, or anything else it may be – but do it with no expectations for getting something in return!
- Ask smart questions to empower your position as a trusted advisor. Once you get their affinity and attention – use the opportunity to ask clever questions. Try to uncover needs, focus on their world, point of view, concerts and pains. This is how you build a meaningful relationship which is based on trust, and not just value and benefits.
- Ask them for their honest advice. Are you fundraising for your next fund? Don’t “sell them”. Tell them you would really appreciate their opinion and ask them what they think is the best way for you to fundraise from others like them. As the known saying goes – “If you ask for money – you’ll get advice. If you’ll ask for advice – you may get money”.
How to start
✔️ Find those who you wish to engage, based on the above 5 tips.
✔️ Lurk, observe, study, find your “hook” for engagement and reach-out or should be outreach.
✔️ Open LinkedIn, Find them on over there.
✔️ Hit “Connect.” HOLD! Add a personal note.
✔️ Tell them you have been following them for a while, and add your “hook” to make them care.
✔️ If these are the right people and your “hook” is good enough – they will respond. Sometimes faster than you think.
✔️ Add a second message and offer to explain your “hook” in a 1-2 min phone call.
✔️ Get them on the phone. If they do not respond but approve your connection request – you can find their email since now you are connected!
✔️ On the phone, tell your story in 30 seconds, remind them why you reached out, and give them the “hook”, no expectations in return. Ask if it’s OK to ask a question or two.
✔️ No matter what they respond, remind them that you promised a quick call, and offer them to schedule again, this time for a longer period of time. Do this in a way that leaves ambiguity and taste to hear more.
✔️ In the first opportunity that arises – ask them for their advice, as explained above.
✔️ “Twist” their reply to hint for your ability to address the needs and pains they mentioned.
✔️ Ask them what they think about it.
✔️ Ask them what is the reason they think what they think.
✔️ Understand what would need to happen for someone like them to be interested in investing in someone like you.
✔️ Based on their answers, twist their advice try and move the conversation towards addressing their needs and pains.
✔️ Whoops, we wanted to give something for free, just asked a few questions, asked for advice – and maybe discovered that we can help them…
✔️ Even if not – give them your “hook” for free, do not expect anything in return, but do your best to create a strong impression of trust, honesty and professionalism.
✔️ Not sure how to do it? Talk to me.