Creating a Repeatable, Successful Sales Process: Principle 3 - Know What to Say

In the dynamic world of sales, success hinges on more than just ambition and persistence; it requires creating a repeatable sales process. We understand the intricacies of this challenging field - marked by emotional ups and downs, extended sales cycles, and frequent rejections. 

At Dakota, we’ve created this repeatable process for our investment sales team. Our four core principles have led us to success, and provided 20 years of results. 

We review these principles monthly in our Rainmaker sessions with Gui Costin. This is a class for any investment sales professional as it lays out the blueprint for a winning sales strategy. No matter the experience level - wanting to touch up, wanting to learn tips and tricks, or new to fundraising - Rainmaker is a sales training program with proven results. 

In this article are diving into principle three to creating a repeatable sales process: knowing what to say. By the end of this, you’ll have a better understanding of how to master your pitch, as well as exactly what to do in the meeting to help reach your fundraising goals.

To learn more about our four principles to sales, check out an upcoming Rainmaker Live! session with Gui Costin. 

Principle 3: know what to say

Once you have done your homework of creating your TAM, city scheduling, and asking for the meeting - you have to know how to pitch your strategy. You have one chance to pitch yourself to the audience among you. 

What many people struggle with is landing a meeting, giving their presentation, and then walking out of the meeting with the audience having no idea what your strategy is. This is a waste of their time and yours. 

It is critical to create a story with your investment pitch that is easy to understand and retell, because these portfolio managers you’re presenting to are going to have to go back to their boss and pitch it again.

Master the first 2 minutes

Imagine the scenario: you’re about to head into your first meeting. You've invested significant resources - time, money, and effort - to secure a meeting with a key analyst or allocator. The stakes are high, the audience is knowledgeable, and the window of opportunity is narrow. 

In this high-pressure context, the clarity and impact of your message are paramount. The person sitting across from you will need to relay your strategy to an investment committee, colleagues, and clients. 

Your message, therefore, must be concise, memorable, and compelling. It's not just about what you say; it's about what they remember and repeat. This is the art of storytelling and mastering the first two minutes.

The opening moments of any meeting are critical - these initial minutes set the tone and direction of the conversation. As a fundraiser, your goal is to center the conversation around the key points of your firm and strategy. 

This isn't just an introduction; it's a strategic overview designed to preempt fundamental questions and establish a solid foundation for the discussion. Key points to cover include:

  • The firm's founding
  • Location
  • Assets under management
  • Number of investment professionals
  • Strategies managed
  • Track record
  • And a unique value proposition

By succinctly addressing these points, you transition smoothly into the core of your presentation, focusing on the specific strategy you're there to discuss.

The importance of practicing your opening remarks cannot be overstressed. A well-rehearsed introduction ensures that you convey all necessary information efficiently, allowing more time for in-depth discussion. This preparation prevents the meeting from being bogged down by basic inquiries that could have been addressed at the outset.

It’s that practice that is required for each sales person to master the pitch.

Follow up in the meeting

Once the meeting has come to a close, traditional wisdom suggests that follow-up occurs after the meeting. However, The Dakota Way advocates for a more proactive approach. 

As the meeting draws to a close, it's crucial to ask two pivotal questions:

  1. Whether they see your strategy fitting into their asset allocation model.

  2. If they anticipate conducting a search in your asset class within the next 12 months

These questions are not just formalities; they are strategic probes designed to gauge genuine interest and potential next steps. If the answer is no to the first question, then you have your answer - you can reach back out in a year. If yes, asking if they anticipate a search within the next 12 months makes you aware of a possible relationship.

This approach saves invaluable time, allowing you to focus your efforts where they are most likely to bear fruit.

Telling a compelling story and effectively communicating your message is the cornerstone of success in the competitive world of sales and investment management. By covering easy questions, engaging in conversations, and prioritizing the follow-up process within the meeting itself, you can ensure that your story resonates with your audience, leaving a lasting impression and increasing your chances of success.

To watch one of our Rainmaker Live! sessions, see in Dakota Marketplace.

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Written By: Morgan Holycross, Marketing Manager

Morgan Holycross is a Marketing Manager at Dakota.