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How often should I pester a potential investor who is slow to respond.

I have an investor who seems very excited about my product. At least he was until it came time to write a check.

Now, I am only able to reach him if I call 5 or 6 times or swing by his office. In the sales world we would follow up upto 6 times then call it a loss. When people have asked ME for money they don't follow up at all. So im not sure of the propper behavior.

12 Replies

Porter Haney
3
2
Porter Haney Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO and Cofounder at wedgies.com
If they aren't getting back to you they aren't interested. I'd move on after 1 or 2 no responses.
Roger Wu
2
0
Roger Wu Entrepreneur
co-founder at cooperatize, native advertising platform
Most investors want to be last money in. And there needs to be a sense of urgency for him to pull the trigger and wire the money. Closing the round sometimes helps, and let him know that you'd be more than happy for him to come in on the next round .... at a higher valuation or worse terms for him.
Ray Sturm
2
0
Ray Sturm Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder and CEO at AlphaFlow
Agree with both Porter and Roger. I rarely had success with anyone I had to chase more than a little bit, although I'll say big name investors with many more people pursuing them often needed more massaging (never 5-6 times tho). Along with Roger, I agree that you need a forcing function and I had success with a rising cap. Even if you're not close to closing out the round, you effectively create mini rounds where the cap goes up and the investment gets more expensive. Good luck!
Jordan Plosky
2
2
Jordan Plosky Entrepreneur
Co-Founder and CEO at ComicBlitz LLC
My motto is "you don't ask, you don't get". If he didn't say no, then the line is open, no matter how small. But, you have to keep providing him with more information every time you contact him. "Hey, THIS happened!" , or "We're planning on THIS!". It can't just be about asking him for money. He knows you want his money. But, you have to sell/entice him to part with it.
Once a week is good to follow up. Only if they say no is it time to stop in my opinion. What do you have to lose?
John Seiffer
1
0
John Seiffer Advisor
Business Advisor to growing companies
I don't think there's a set formula. The right approach is whatever works and doesn't piss people off. This depends on how busy people are, how much your project is at the top of their list and as Roger Wu said there is a comfort of an investor being the last one in - there's less risk and the longer they can drag it out the more hidden problems in a company might emerge.

When you do talk to people, and they are interested (and certainly if you've had to call 5 or 6 time to connect) then I would ask them how things work at their end. Tell them you don't want to be a pest and would love to have them on board. Ask when would they like to hear back from you. Then try to nail down a date and time (Someday is not on the calendar). If they say "Let's touch base in a couple weeks" then get out your phone and say "Can we make an appointment for 2PM on Tuesday the 30th - I'll call you. Does that work?"

If they don't want to be tied down, ask if their interest is declining or if there's more info they need or what. Remember a hard NO is better than a lot of maybes. But you know that from sales.
Noah Shanok
1
1
Noah Shanok Advisor
Entrepreneur
You should email him with momentum updates about once a week. The tone should imply he's already in - since that's what it sounded like to you before he went dark. If an update is about momentum with the round ("we're close to oversubscribed and aiming to close on x date"), that's most effective. But it's just as important to show momentum in the business.

You want to give him the sense that the train is leaving the station AND that it's becoming a rocket ship.
Steve Everhard
1
0
Steve Everhard Advisor
All Things Startup
Have you managed to validate their source of funds? Are they a high net worth angel or prospecting on behalf of others? Lots of Angel's run ranking lists based on what they saw last. Ask them for a heads of terms - it's not a legally binding document but pushes them along the path. They may well be broking you around trying to raise funds if they doesn't play with their own money.

I would add that tyre kickers are numerous in the funding world and I have met several "Angels" who have never placed a bet on anyone, yet they are still on the circuit showing interest, offering advice and murmuring about investing. Be sure that your investor has the means to complete and heads of terms may well be your best course. If they decline I would move on.
Ronis Gracie
0
0
Ronis Gracie Entrepreneur
Product Manager at LeadsMarket.com
I've been through something similar. At one point I called the investor and said "Are you in or are you out, you gotta tell me now". He ended up investing but I agree with Roger, there needs to be a sense of urgency. Usually we as entrepreneurs are afraid to put the investor in the hot seat, but I think is a good move, it shows confidence and it shows the truth, in or out, so you don't waste time. Just don't make pressure too early, that would definitely scare him away.
Sajjad Chowdhry
0
1
Sajjad Chowdhry Entrepreneur • Advisor
Real Economy Entrepreneur
Patrick, My humble advice is to walk away. Too much follow up might just turn them off completely. That would mean risking a long term relationship. I don't necessarily means they don't like your product. Give them the benefit of the doubt and keep the door open for you to come back at some other time. Maybe 18-24 months down the road you have more traction and the investor is even more excited. Regards, Sajjad Chowdhry LinkedIn | Twitter "My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence..." - Sherlock Holmes in The Red Headed League
Ami Vider <ami.vider@gmail.com>
0
0
Ami Vider Advisor
Content Writer / Editor at FinTech/Forex start-up
Moses didn't take 11 no-s, should you (sarcastic smile) -- in sales they use to say take the 11th NO. If you don't know the investor, and you don't have a way to get info somehow (friend, assistant, partner) - keep on trying until you are certain that you are really getting the cold shoulder. I just had a case, a buyer did not respond for 2 months. Suddenly I get "I am in the hospital, they just took out a big tumor from my lung, sorry for being out of it" -- sad story, but being 1/2 the world away in Australia, I had no idea. If you don't know, don't always assume "the worst". Try again, be persistent and polite, but never give up until you know what the other side is thinking (especially if you really want the product to get off the ground). Good luck!!!
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