A Step-by-Step Guide to Ace Your First Investor Meeting
In my BiggerPockets article “How to Find Investors To Fund Your Real Estate Deals,” I talked about how to find potential investors for your next apartment building deal. In this article I’ll give you a script for your first meeting with a potential investor.
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What do you want to accomplish with your first investor meeting? Ideally, you should get some level of financial commitment from your investor. But before you do, you have to address their main concern.
The Investor’s #1 Fear Is Losing Their Principal Investment
Make sure you identify the main risk factors of your proposed deal and how you plan to mitigate them. If an investor hears that this is an “unbelievably safe investment without any real risks,” they’ll grow suspicious. You’ll be much more credible if you’re upfront about the risks and how you plan to address them.
Speaking of risk…
The Investor’s #1 Perceived Risk Factor Is YOU
You have two strikes against you as far as the investor is concerned. Firstly, he doesn’t know and trust you (yet) and secondly, you probably don’t have a track record (yet).
You will spend most of the meeting making the investor comfortable with you. Only then can you address other objections and discuss the deal itself (including how much money they’ll make). Your goal in the meeting, then, is to build rapport with the investor and demonstrate to him that you will be successful even though you don’t have a portfolio of successful deals.
Start By Sharing Your Story
Talk about where you were born, about your family, where you grew up and went to school. Your goal is to build rapport and sharing personal information like this will achieve just that. Chances are you’ll discover things you have in common.
Then describe your professional experience. Focus on your track record of success in whatever you have accomplished professionally, even if it’s unrelated to real estate. Your investor should be able to see that you tend to succeed in whatever you do. If you had a failure, you can turn that into a strength by talking about what you learned.
Talk about your passion in buying apartment buildings. Why are you interested? What have you done so far? Talk about your team. Talk about deals you’ve looked at so far but passed on because the numbers didn’t work.
Related: How to STAND OUT as a Real Estate Investor
At this point, you’ve done most of the talking, but that’s OK. You shared about your life and your passion about building long-term wealth for you and your investors with apartment buildings. If you’ve done your job, your investor will say that he knows you a lot better and has become more comfortable with the prospect of working with you.
It’s now time to shift the conversation to how you might do business together. In “The # 1 Secret to Raising Money to Invest in Apartment Buildings” I talked about creating a Sample Deal Package to use with your investors. To recap quickly, the Sample Deal Package is a complete investor package using a real deal with financials and projections. The only difference is that you don’t have it under contract.
You’re going to use the Sample Deal Package in this meeting.
Here’s the Script
You: “I have a deal for us to look at. I don’t actually have this building under contract, but when I do have a deal, it will look substantially like this. I wanted to get your feedback on the terms and projected returns; would that be OK?”
Next, review the executive summary page of your Sample Deal Package with the investor, focusing specifically on the investor terms, not the deal itself (that comes a little later).
You: “The deal I’m looking for should produce an average annual return of around 15% over the life of the investment. This will consist partly of cash flow each year as well as appreciation. The minimum investment I’m looking for is $50,000. How interesting would that be to you?”
Investor: “That would be interesting to me. How long would the money be locked up?”
You: “I’m telling investors that they should be prepared to keep their money in for at least 7 years. This would allow us to build the value we’re looking for. I realize this is a long time. In order to address that, after 4 years I would allow an investor to cash out by offering to sell their shares to other investors though there is no guarantee that others would buy out the investor. The LLC operating agreement would spell out exactly how that would be done. How would you feel about that?”
Investor: “That would be fine. Would there be any cash flow distributions?”
You: “Yes. Typically, we will pay out distributions once per quarter. How would that work for you?”
Investor: “That sounds reasonable. What do you see as the greatest risks?”
You: “It would depend on the deal. I think the greatest risk is our ability to execute our business plan. We could fall short of our projected returns or it might take more time to achieve. For example, let’s say our plan calls for the renovation of half of the units so that we can raise rents by 30%. We would make sure we have the money in the bank account to fund the renovations. But maybe the tenants won’t move out as quickly as we think and it will take longer to raise the rents.
Having said all that, my goal with the first few properties we buy will be to keep these kinds of risks to a minimum. In other words, I don’t want a completely vacant building or a building with all kinds of problems. I’m going to look for a good deal for a relatively stable building.
Once I have a building under contract, I will outline the plan in more detail and identify the risks so that you can make a better decision.
Before we look at the Deal Package, what other questions or concerns do you have regarding the returns and terms we talked about so far?”
At this point, the investor should be relatively comfortable with you as a person as well as with the risks, returns and terms of the investment. If you’re just starting out talking with investors, don’t make it sound like your terms are set in stone. Rather, gather information from your investors about what they would (and wouldn’t) like if they were to invest with you.
Next, spend a little bit of time reviewing the Deal Package itself. Don’t spend too much time because you probably don’t have too much time left in the meeting anyway, and the numbers aren’t for a real deal. But it should give the investor a feel for the kind of deal you’re looking for.
You: “Let’s take a few minutes and look at the Deal Package. Like I said before, this is not a deal I currently have under contract, but when I do, it will look a lot like this.”
Then briefly go through each section of the Deal Package just enough to orient the investor and answer any questions. Don’t focus on the numbers since these will change.
Finally, you want to close by describing the logistics of closing on a deal from the investor’s perspective:
You: “I appreciate your time today! Here’s what will happen next from my side. I’ll keep you posted and when I have a property under contract, I’ll email you the Deal Package. If you’re interested in investing, you just have to tell me the amount you’re interested in, and I will reserve that amount. Once I get commitments from all of the investors and the due diligence is satisfactory, I will instruct the attorney to begin the closing process.
You will receive an LLC operating agreement and a private placement memorandum. You sign the operating agreement and a subscription agreement that documents the investment amount. A day or so before closing, you wire the funds to the closing attorney.
My goal will be to send an email report to the investors once per month in the beginning, and once things have stabilized, I will send out quarterly reports with any distributions.
What questions or concerns do you have about this?”
After this first meeting, it’s important that you stay in touch with the investor. Put all of your potential investors on an email list and send them an email every week or two, just so they know you’re still thinking of them.
If you follow this process, it will be amazing how quickly you can get commitments from your investors once you have a deal under contract. If you do this upfront, it will give you the confidence to make offers on properties and secure the funds in time to close.
What’s been working with your investors? Is there a script you normally use?
Please let me know!