Use email first to communicate with investors and consultants. Always.

Institutional investors and consultants always prefer to be contacted by email in the first instance - and if you don't hear back within two weeks don't worry about following-up. A lack of response is often a sign of how busy they are, not a lack of interest.

The big picture: Exploring the communication preferences of institutional investors at the NAREIM Capital Raising & IR meeting, investors and consultants confirmed how they like to be approached:

  • All investors and consultants voted for a preference for email first.

  • Follow-ups were recommended within two weeks if you hadn't heard anything.

  • If an investor or consultant offers a quick "No" to your product, accept it's not a fit for their current portfolio.

  • Don't leave long voicemails.

  • The first communication is akin to triage and all investors and consultants have intense flagging systems. Trust you've been flagged.

  • Most consultants are happy for you to reach out to others on their team and in the wider firm. Just let your primary point of contact know who you're speaking with.

Diversity and platform are much more important than you might think. Institutional investors and consultants are paying increasing attention to diversity within real estate investment management platforms, as well as the succession planning for founders and managing partners.

During the NAREIM Capital Raising & IR meeting in Chicago last week, institutional investors and consultants repeatedly stressed the importance of  understanding the platform as part of their due diligence checks - with investors calling on managers to provide greater detail on employee changes, succession strategies and corporate efforts to tackle diversity within the firm.

  • Where do we get diversity benchmark data? In 2020, NAREIM and FPL Associates will launch a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Survey, highlighting current data on diversity of gender and race across functions and seniority, and provide industry best practices and policies surrounding, diversity, employee retention and inclusion.

  • We invite you to help build the survey into an industry benchmark. To join, email NAREIM CEO, Zoe Hughes.