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Advisors, Private Equity

Drum Up Deal Flow With Better Outbound Emails


For deal professionals, relationship management and development is the bread and butter of the deal world. For advisors and investors looking to create relationships with CEOs, this often comes in the form of outbound emails and phone calls. (Inbound deal origination — in which you work to make your firm more “discoverable” — is another important component.)

The traditional approach to outreach was to cast as wide a net as possible, broadcasting all information to all potentially relevant or interested parties. But today, business owners are inundated with messages from PE firms and advisors. This comes in addition to dozens of other emails and calls, social media, and an always-on news cycle. It’s hard to read every message, let alone respond.

Break Through the Noise

Says the head of business development at one investment firm, “In my experience, the only way to stand out is to send a highly personalized email explaining why your fund is relevant. I try to immediately qualify our firm by pointing out our previous investments in the sector and why we are attracted to the target.”

When writing an email or online message to a prospective business owner, advisors and investors alike can benefit from a few simple tips:

  • Make it about them: Pique their interest by mentioning something about their firm or a shared interest. Use terminology you’ve seen on their website or other marketing materials to describe areas of overlap.
  • Establish credibility: Succinctly summarize your firm’s value proposition or main differentiator as it relates to them — this might be a relevant deal you’ve worked on in the past, a mutual connection, a current opportunity, shared priorities, geographic proximity, etc.
  • Make your ask clear: Propose a specific time to speak or meet within the message.
  • Keep it short. A few sentences is more than enough for a first message.
  • Follow up: Resend the message or give them a call if you don’t hear back.

 Capturing the Long-Tail

What about CEOs or other contacts with whom you don’t necessarily have extensive overlap? For these people, it may not be appropriate to send a personalized message — but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore them.

Developing an outreach strategy to manage and development lower-priority relationships is important too. A regular email newsletter can be a great way to keep your firm top-of-mind without spending undue time. You might include announcements about closed deals, new members joining the firm, new press mentions, published blog posts, or insight into industry or market trends.

Here are a few tips for establishing a successful newsletter.

  • Commit to a regular schedule. Readers appreciate consistency, and implementing a regular schedule will also make it easier to carve out time to produce the newsletter. Start slow — a quarterly email is a great place to start.
  • Assign one person responsibility. For firms without a dedicated BD professional, giving one person responsibility for the newsletter — regardless of how many people contribute — will ensure it goes out.
  • Follow email best practices. Be sure your audience has opted into the subscription and knows what volume of messages it entails.


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