“Know thyself” has persisted as an eternally useful concept. As one of the three Delphic maxims (the others being “nothing to excess” and “surety brings ruin”), the collective need for self-awareness has been a constant of human history, philosophy, and society. And while digital marketing in real estate syndication may not be quite as romantic as a Greek epic, the importance of self-awareness continues to live on.
In fact, it would not be unrealistic to say that self-awareness is the bedrock of every broader marketing campaign. Firms and sponsors that are unable to see themselves as they truly are will inevitably either end up disappointing investors who were expecting something much different or they will fail to realize the way they can uniquely offer value to the marketplace.
In both scenarios, a lack of self-awareness will prevent otherwise well-structured syndicates from ever reaching their full potential.
With self-awareness, a sponsor can begin to authentically set realistic expectations. That, in turn, will help build trust and establish the syndicator as a serious contender, rather than a charlatan (something that is a dime a dozen in this industry). This is particularly crucial for firms that are trying to appeal to wealthier investors.
The wealthy have heard seemingly countless pitches throughout their lives, coming from just about every industry. These people are not looking to “get rich quick”—they already are rich, meaning that their top priority is preserving and modestly building their wealth as opposed to assuming some high-risk endeavor.
In fact, they are probably not even looking for the “best deal they’ll ever see.” Because as experience has taught them, anyone who is capable of promising such a deal is either being dishonest or hindered by a delusional sense of unearned confidence. This brings to mind the aforementioned Delphic maxims: nothing to excess and surety brings ruin.
Raising money from high net worth individuals takes finesse. Watch as author Adam Gower discusses with Family Office Club’s Richard Wilson how NOT to pitch to investors.
The Gateway To Credibility
Recognizing the need for self-awareness is one thing, but it will still remain up to the sponsor to take the appropriate course of action. To begin establishing a sense of authenticity, a sponsor will need to take a look at their past history and see how they have been able to deliver.
Suppose that during a recent project, you suggested to investors that they could earn a 10% return on a one-year investment. What was the rate of return you were actually able to deliver?
If the final return was 10%, your investors were likely pleased. If it was 12%, then they were almost certainly pleasantly surprised. But if it was 8%, this suggests to investors that you consider underdelivering to be something that “just happens” and is a “part of doing business.”
With just one instance of underdelivering—even during chaotic market conditions, such as those we’ve seen during COVID-19—your word as a sponsor will be severely damaged. And once your word is lost, you will need to do exponentially more work in order to regain the trust of these once reliable investors.
The Power of Exceeding Expectations
“Under-promise, over-deliver” is a mantra that is heard in countless industries around the world, yet few sponsors apply it in practice. The temptation to over-hype oneself is strong, especially when doing so can potentially add millions of dollars to your balance sheet.
However, as soon as you zoom out a bit and develop a long-term perspective, it quickly becomes clear that it is much better to be the firm that is “always pleasantly surprising” than the firm that is “always making big promises.” Again, this is especially important when marketing to the very wealthy and to those individuals that are extremely reluctant to give up any of their hard-earned capital.
Self-awareness can also be the gateway to creating a better value proposition. Promising that your firm can offer something that is unique, rather than promising to be the very best at everything, will help reinforce your deal offerings and potentially advance your credibility even further.
Your unique angle can be pretty much anything: working with a specific asset, working in the crowdfunding space, targeting specific markets, or having a unique business structure are all ways a syndicate can distinguish itself from its vast competition.
To succeed in this industry, you will need to develop a strong brand, effectively express a value proposition, and—perhaps most importantly—have returning investors. If you can be honest with your investors about who you are and what you are capable of offering, they will be remarkably more likely to stay by your side.
What distinguishes you from other investors?
Tell us about your truth in the comments.