Get them together and run through the presentation. If you religiously go through a pitch book during the presentation and actually flip pages, then make sure you assign the right person on your team to go over those bullet points on the page.
The CIO should talk about his team, the firm's investment philosophy and strategy, and touch on the investment process from a top-down perspective. Then turn it over to the portfolio manager (or whatever you call them at your firm) and have them provide greater granularity around the investment strategy and begin to talk about sector and security selection and the like.
Make it emphatically clear to the investment professionals that in absolutely no case should they read the words on the page of the presentation. Ideally, the presentation book is there so the presenter can refer to a specific chart, or number or key point. There is nothing more boring, ineffective and lethal than reading the bullet points off of a PowerPoint presentation.
These presentations need to be well choreographed and should be so professional that it looks natural, relaxed and it looks like everyone really enjoys what they are doing and appreciates their role in producing the “product”.
Speaking of role, doing a little role-playing is a very effective way to practice. Since you know the product so well, you can play the role of the prospect and ask the tough questions of the investment team during these practice sessions. Ask a wide range of general and specific questions and work with the investment team to fashion meaningful, succinct answers to these questions. The presentation team should really never be caught off guard and rendered “speechless” by any question from the prospective client.
It is very important to have a meeting to review the presentation as soon as possible after it is over. You can — in a diplomatic way — point out those questions that could have been answered better. Because you will most likely not be doing most of the talking during the meeting, you can really listen to the questions, determine what it is the prospective client really wants to know and then evaluate whether the answer by the investment team was effective in satisfying the inquiry. Watch the body language of the questioner after your team has responded. You will be able to tell if the necessary points were made and if the questioner is satisfied by the answer.
After a final, I always ask for feedback from the prospective client as to how they thought the meeting went. Invariably, some of their feedback is really valuable and I will share it with my investment team. Then during the next practice session, we address these perceived shortcomings and try to improve on them.
While this is a little self-serving, there are firms that will work with you and your investment staff and provide sales training for non-sales professionals. The advantage here is that a “third party” is providing these insights which some investment professionals “value” more since it is coming from someone on the outside who is not emotionally attached and therefore is perceived as being very objective. Odd as it might sound, some people believe they are getting more and better advice on these issues if they pay someone on the outside for help.