Here are a few best practices to keep in mind for early investor meetings.
Your primary goals
You have two goals: 1) Sell the merits of your business as a compelling investment opportunity; and 2) Determine whether you want to partner with the investors in the room.
Do your homework
Spend at least 15 minutes researching the investor by checking out their website, looking at press releases, and the LinkedIn profiles of the folks you will be meeting with.
Recommended meeting cadence
Set up a 30 min introductory call or meeting. Follow up with a 60-minute more in-depth discussion.
Only include the CEO/Founder for initial calls. It’s awkward having a ton of people on the line who contribute very little to the conversation. Further, there is no question during an introductory meeting that the CEO shouldn’t be able to answer.
For follow-up meetings, involve team members as appropriate, but make sure it’s a good use of their time. No one should be in early meetings if they don’t have a significant speaking role.
Confirmation and material sharing
Send the investor deck a few days in advance of the discussion to give the investor time to read through the materials. Confirm agenda, call time and attendees the day before.
Never trust technology to work properly
Always have a backup option in case technology fails. Get to the meeting early to set up.
Let the investors give their introduction first. This will allow you to get a better sense of their knowledge of your sector and what they are looking for in companies and adapt your presentation accordingly.
Give your introduction, the company overview, and then end with at least 10 minutes for Q&A.
Come up for air
Don’t talk the entire meeting. Try to keep the pitch as conversational as possible and pause for questions between sections of your pitch. Investor interest is usually directly correlated to how many questions they ask.
Stay calm and confident
Don’t let probing or rude questions get you flustered. Keep calm, answer to the best of your ability and move on. If you can’t answer a question, offer to follow-up with the right answer.
Determine next steps
Ask what next steps are for the investor. You need to figure out whether the investor will likely move forward in the process and what internal processes look like on their end.