Fundraising Advice from Dan Martell #3: Nailing the Meeting
February 12, 2013
Congratulations on your success so far! Setting up meetings with key investors is a critical stage of your process for fundraising. Now, let’s make sure you have the most effective meeting possible.
As mentioned in the previous post, you do NOT want to indicate that you are fundraising at any point during the initial meeting. You are meeting with the investor looking for advice. Investors love entrepreneurs who don’t need their money. If an investor asks you duringthe meeting whether you are raising the answer is “No” and then ask why to hear what they had in mind. This will give you insight into how you might be able to work together.
For the meeting itself, you want to start off the meeting with a brief outline of how you know the entrepreneur who made the introduction for you. After the brief intro, jump immediately into a demo of your product bringing an iPad, smartphone or whatever to show your product. Do NOT bring a Powerpoint deck or prepared slides on your company as you want to let the investor drive the meeting. Creating an artificial structure to this meeting will likely just bore the investor.
Do not assume the investor has read the email sent from the entrepreneur or that they remember the content. You want to lead with whatever information about your company is interesting and keep them excited throughout the meeting. Similar to the previous post, you will know if the investor is excited by the questions they are asking and how they are engaging with you.
The worst thing you can do during this meeting is sit there until the investor has to leave. Your optimal meeting is about 17 minutes long and should never be longer than 30 minutes. You want to build momentum, get them excited and keep them looking for more. Indicate that you have another meeting or a similar excuse to ensure that you leave in good time.
You are looking for interest from the investor and advice from them about how to take your company to the next level. From their interest try to gauge their likelihood of investing in your company without asking that question or indicating that you are raising. In your first meeting you are just trying to feel each other out.
If an investor passes, remember to reach back out to the entrepreneur and thank them for their help. You will also need to be careful in managing expectations with other investors as they form small communities. The best way to answer if someone passes to other investors was “I never really asked him” or “It is still early and we are just talking to a bunch of people” or “We really never got to that”. This re-enforces that you are simply managing expectations in terms of whether you are raising. Dan’s favorite line is “we are talking to a lot of smart people”, which sidesteps the question and doesn’t put down the investor for passing.
As a final note, you should have an answer for why your company is going to be worth 100 million some day. Don’t ever flinch when being asked that question – you have to believe it!
Fundraising Advice from Dan Martell #1: Building a List of Investors
Fundraising Advice from Dan Martell #2: Setting Up Meetings with Investors
Fundraising Advice from Dan Martell #4: Raising the Round