How to Write an Effective Investment Sales Email That Gets the Meeting

Let’s start off with a little story about how crazy the investment business is as it's related to email. 

Here's the deal - if you raise money for a living, you know one thing is true as true can be: you can't raise money without a meeting. You have to be able to get a meeting with a qualified buyer and a pool of capital. We work for these super-smart people: portfolio managers, great investors, great education, you get the picture — in fact, you probably live it every day.

The question is, with all the emails that everyone receives, what drives them to open an email? How do you get a meeting? How does it all work? 

The answer is the subject line. 

At the end of the day, if we're tied to meetings and super-smart people who manage great portfolios, essentially what makes or breaks getting a meeting with them is the subject line. 

Why is that? Subject lines are what catch someone's attention and decide whether or not they even see the rest of your message. Then, if the email's well-written and includes a strong call to action, it just might elicit a response.

In this article, we're going outline how you can craft emails designed to get a meeting. We’ll walk through through the three section every email needs, and what you should include in each. By the end of the article, you’ll know exactly what to include in your emails to get your point across and, most importantly, get the meeting. 

Section 1: the subject line

At the end of the day, all investment sales people care about at the end of the day is one thing: getting meetings with qualified buyers. 

When we go into a city to schedule meetings, it's this simple: you get a meeting with a strong subject line. You have to get to the point. 

Take this for example: Say you’ll be in New York City on October 5th, so you make your subject line “meeting request for October 5th at 3:00 PM.” Now the person reading the email knows exactly what that email holds for them. They know you want a meeting with them because it’s crystal clear in the subject line.

Now, if you want to increase your response rate, put the word “video” in the subject line. This concept hasn't gotten out there yet in the investment world. If you have a video introducing yourself, definitely include this in the email. 

Section 2: the body

The second thing to focus on is what we like to call the JP Morgan Private Bank test. This is where we will say the recipient’s name and say exactly what we want or what we’re looking for. 

This part needs to be one sentence that packs a punch and illustrates the value of your investment firm. At Dakota, we tell our team to make this sentence extremely simple, while knowing that one sentence has to do a lot of heavy lifting.

You have to make it count. 

Take this sentence for example: “Hello, my name's Gui Costin. I'm calling from JP Morgan Private Bank. Unfortunately, your 99-year-old great aunt just died and left you a million dollars. Please reply to this email with your wiring instructions.”

If it's a legit email, you're going to obtain a 100% response rate. 

What we mean by this is that you want to make sure you're really getting to the point in the most acute way possible, while bringing your strategy to life in one sentence. 

Think through what you can say that will be so compelling that the reader looks at it and says, "You know what? This is a meeting I want to take when this person is in town on October 5th at 3:00 PM."

Section 3: the call to action

So, you've written your one powerful sentence and successfully introduced your firm. Now it's time to close out the email. This is where we've seen a lot of salespeople fall down.

The closing needs to have a very clear call to action. A lot of people say, "Hey, can you meet sometime on October 5th?" Or, "Can you meet sometime next week?" Even, "Can you meet sometime next month?"

What's the problem with these closing? They're not giving anyone specificity. This gives them the opportunity to say, "No, I can't meet," and end the conversation right there. 

The key is to pick a specific date and time, something to allow room for the person to say yes, or to suggest an alternate time, rather than giving a simple "no."

Why is this so important? Because our lives and our careers unfortunately live and die by the quality of our emails. The quality of our subject lines, the quality of that one sentence, and the power in that clear call to action. 

Make your emails count, and watch your meeting count climb

Too many people write emails by rote, not taking the time to personalize their messages, or ask for what they want. Or, even worse, they write extremely long paragraph-by-paragraph explanations of their firm that go unread because they're overwhelming; they're trying to get everything they can into that one email.

Don't be that person.

Instead, think of email writing as an art. Your art is to write that one sentence. Make it so meaningful about your investment strategy that someone thinks, "You know what? Based upon what you just said, it sounds too compelling not to take the meeting."

Your emails exist to obtain one result, and that's to book the meeting. Nothing else. You don't need to get into how your firm was founded. You don't want to get into a long story of how you manage money, save that for later. 

Write an email so compelling that the person reading it would truly believe it's worth their time to take a meeting with you by getting to the point very quickly.  

Put these tips into practice and you'll find that, over time, the number of meetings your team is setting has increased exponentially. 

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Written By: Tim Dolan, Vice President, Institutional Sales

Tim Dolan is a Vice President of Institutional Sales at Dakota.