When Talking to Investors or Lenders – Always Be Ready

communicating with investors or lenders

As with any pitch, know your audience and its pain points.


Regardless of whom you are pitching for an investment or what stage of growth your company is in, you need to be as tight and as bullet proof as possible.  That is especially true in any and all of your personal and company communications.

Here are my 14 rules about your communications game when pitching investors or lenders, it has to be tip top. I have learned hard way by sitting on both sides of the table and making mistakes left and right, more on that a bit later.

The fourteen communications rules:  

1.    Simpler is better

2.    Less words = higher impact

3.    Clarity is your friend

4.    Know what you need and ask for it

5.    Be grounded yet visionary and achieve balance between practicality and potential

6.    Don’t be afraid to say “you don’t know”

7.    Asking questions makes you sound smarter, really

8.    Endurance to go the distance is more important than brute force

9.    Different investors have different needs – know what matters to each

10.  Hot leads (awesome), warm intros (great), cold calls (if you must)

11.  Silence is good, don’t fill empty spots with idle chatter

12.  Under-promise and over-deliver, always

13.  Humble and grounded is the honey, slick and fast talking is the vinegar

14.  Make them believe they came up with idea – pride of ownership is your enemy

We Latinos are culturally wired to actually do the opposite of many of the above rules – especially the one about being comfortable with silence and not using that many words.   I for one, love to talk and enjoy a healthy and solid back and forth – but sometimes the loudest action you can take is inaction, silence.

One of the first bosses I ever had was so skilled at using silence to communicate that it almost felt like he was screaming.  And whenever he spoke, every word carried with it weight and was received with anticipation and respect.

Some of these rules seem counterintuitive

Some of these rules seem counterintuitive, like the one that asserts that asking questions makes you sound smarter.  Latinos feel they need to be the ones with the answers, not the questions.

One of the big lessons I learned in my stints as a consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton and later at McKinsey & Company was that my job was not to dispense advice.  My job was to ask questions, guide clients towards solution sets and then let them make decisions with the analysis.  When successful those decisions led to promotions and raises.

So my job was to help my VP clients, get EVP jobs.

And that is your job when you are pitching an investor, to help them deliver a return – the higher it is, the higher their raise – so to speak.

Back to asking questions, it gives you confidence.  When you listen to people they invest themselves more in the relationship.  That buy-in is critical to getting an investor to part with her money.  How someone answers a question exposes his or her blind spots and weaknesses that you can then use to tailor your message real-time.

Questions are sometimes very hard to answer so they basically help to catalyze discussion and that joint exploration solidifies the bond via discovery.   And a bond helps close a pitch, including those that seek to grab capital from those that control it.

Like anything in life, raising capital is part art and part science:  Be aware of this and ensure that when you communicate you are watertight.

Go get ‘em!

Related articles:

Four Basic Principles for Raising Capital

Grow Your Business Through the M&A Pipeline

Meeting Today’s Communication Business Challenges


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