I have been sending out introductory e-mails about our firm and our products to our target market, the small to midsize public pension funds, and I never get any response. I know everyone is busy and there are many people out there like me trying to establish a relationship, but could you please give me some insight as to why this strategy is not working?
Why do my introductory e-mails to pension executives fail?
First, I need to make some assumptions as to what actions you have taken prior to sending out your introductory e-mails. For instance, you obviously did some analysis and research on this target market to know that generally the small to midsize public pension fund has invested in your product type over time. Also, you have assumed that these funds will continue this practice in the future given the risk/reward characteristics of the product and its accretive role in a multiasset, multimanager construct. I will also assume that you have tried to contact the key individual at the pension fund by telephone in order to establish some “live connection” so when these people do receive your e-mail, your name, the name of your firm and perhaps even the product will click in the back of their mind.
Second, you are absolutely correct in your assessment that these pension fund “gatekeepers” — usually chief investment officers or research specialists — in your product type are incredibly busy and inundated daily with information about firms and products, and unless there is name or product recognition, the delete button is really close and very handy.
The biggest problem with introductory e-mails is that they are generally much too long, trying to get out everything you think is critical to the prospective buyer regarding the firm, the strategy, the team, the process and finally, the results. Most of the ones I have seen are at most divided into two very long paragraphs (boring!), use run-on sentences (sort of like this one) and contain a plethora of compound adjectives that are never hyphenated correctly (but that's a topic for another day).
I send introductory e-mails out after making contact with the recipient. I keep mine fairly short, and refer to specific information (with page number) contained in an attachment in the e-mail (usually the current presentation) in short, easy-to-read paragraphs. Sometimes, I put the information in outline form with bullet points indented under the key message, which is the topic sentence in the paragraph and most times I put the topic sentence in bold type. It is impossible and self-defeating to try to write an introductory e-mail that attempts to capture in elegant prose what the presentation tries to capture in brief yet descriptive shorthand. I usually close my introductory e-mail with a request that we establish a set time for a follow-up call either with me or with me and another appropriate person from the firm.
If possible, you might want to mention that you and the team plan to be in (name the city and state) in two weeks and would be pleased to come by for a brief meeting.
In summary, the introductory e-mail should
- follow a telephone call
- be short, with multiple, easy to read paragraphs and
- establish the next steps: a follow-up phone call or an in-person meeting.