Wow, it is already early November 2019. We are in the last inning of the year and we continue to see a market that relentlessly wants to move upwards, continuing its long standing trend and frustrating alternative and active managers everywhere. Are there exceptions? Absolutely! Does the market seem to care much? Not so much. It’s tough being an investment manager today, and tougher still to be focused on distribution activities. Marketing can and will continue to happen – in fact it must to keep managers top of mind, brands developing and track records in front of the right audiences. However allocations are much harder to come by. We continue to see exceptional track records go unnoticed, and find the market more and more challenged to ‘make time’ to engage with managers of all shapes and sizes. The biggest of the big will be ok; they’ve got the added benefit of being able to fund significant support activities for the platforms they serve and thus their value-added is more obvious, whether its ever discussed or not. It is the little gal we love, and the little gal we want to see exceed and will continue to push for – day in and day out – until the market returns. Whether you are a manager, a marketer, or a registered and licensed sales professional seeking to maximize your value, here are some excellent ways to finish out the year:
- Re-underwrite every client relationship. You know the saying, a bird in the hand…
- Contact every prospect by phone – not just with a cursory email – and check in on THEIR priorities – not yours. What is 2020 looking like for them? Do they see any potential opportunities and for whom? How can you best add value given the current market environment, from their perspective?
- Get together 5 professionals that matter to your business. These can be vendors, key clients, top prospects, in the know colleagues – pick 5 and schedule lunch, a cocktail, coffee, or a walk in the park. Get out and get some face time. Something always comes of this and if not, you’ve gotten some fresh air and ideally a revived perspective.
- Evaluate your YTD marketing deliverables. What tools did you put in the hands of the market you seek to be engaged by? How many write ups, interesting perspectives, questions answered did you provide? How differentiated were these? If this evaluation leaves you feeling ‘light’ on presence in retrospect, you’ve still got time. Identify a key topic that differentiates the firm and write about it, then send out a December 1 targeted piece. By this time, quarterly reporting and updates for Q3 are behind us all, and professionals have some time – or will soon enough – to review your best ideas. Most importantly you’ll stand out in the crowd.
- Take some time to THANK the people around you. We often think to do this once the holidays kick in, but doing it now might still provide some much needed motivation to finish the year as strong as possible. The resources you engaged are excellent, otherwise you would not have engaged them. So while you might not have the results you seek, be grateful, say thank you, and remind your resources WHY they elected to work with you. We all want to work with and for people we like. Set the example and perhaps this will in turn create good will that is passed on.