The allocation decision is based on two (2) essential ingredients: TRUST and ACTIONABLE CONVICTION. Both must be earned. That is NOW and has always been THE challenge for everyone trying to raise assets.

With that said, a core focus of the marketing process is relationship building, which requires ENGAGEMENT.

Many managers/funds wait until a “hot streak” of good performance to “engage” with current and prospective investors. Think about the message that sends? Only “reaching out” in “good times”, does that mean it’s radio silence when performance is poor? that’s the exact wrong message!

Plainly: ALWAYS ENGAGE. The issue is what is the objective when “engaging”. “Engagement” should not be only to SELL or “pitch” performance, that’s one-sided. Successfully raising assets requires a two-way conversation. EVERY new or smaller manager/fund should have a structured, disciplined, focused and DOCUMENTED process of engagement i.e. MARKETING. When raising assets, the objective is clear: To “close” in the fastest, most efficient and economical manner possible. To accomplish that goal requires deeply understanding the prospect. The more information, insight and intelligence gathered about what the prospect is thinking, feeling and experiencing, in the present as well as in the past, the better and faster a determination can be made if/when it’s time to “CLOSE” or “DISCARD” (move on!). “Engagement” is about many things but should always be a continual and consistent commitment regardless of investment performance.

“Engagement” should never be done without careful thought and consideration! Don’t send an email or pick up a phone to make a call until “prepared”. Being “prepared means knowing WHO you’re talking to. Each and every prospect touchpoint either erodes or builds TRUST and ACTIONABLE CONVICTION. Getting anyone’s “attention” and maintaining “attentiveness”, especially a wealthy individual or family, is among the hardest things to do now! Raising assets is not just a competition for money based on investment performance, it’s equally a competition for time and attention based on marketing performance. As such, no engagement opportunity can be wasted. As a note: – “Attention” is a point or moment in time; “Attentiveness” is through a period of time. 

So BEFORE “engaging” ask a crucial question: “How much do I really understand about the prospect?”. Most new and smaller manager/funds have little qualitative (life/lifestyle) or qualitatively (portfolio composition/asset allocation/investment experience) prospect understanding and as a result have little insight into the REAL emotional, relational and financial drivers that influence the decision to invest.

In the absence of prospect-specific knowledge and understanding, most default to “pitching a product or performance”, which leads to attempting the “close” too soon! When that happens, the possibility of a “relationship” ends well before one has even begun. When few emails and calls get returned, the reason is often the prospect feels the “call” is about “selling” something and no value is found in having the “conversation” since the prospect may “feel and believe” what’s being offered may not be needed, wanted or appropriate. Conversely, if the prospect “thinks and feels” highly-relevant and possibly profitable information, insight and intelligence may result from the call the probability of getting “attention” but more importantly, “attentiveness” is much more likely.  With the long allocation cycle of 6-11 months from initial meeting to actual allocation, “attentiveness” is critical and that can only be achieved by prospect-specific engagement.


What is the tactical action point?

To attain “attentiveness” gather as much prospect-specific intelligence as possible BEFORE any marketing touchpoint to then execute highly-relevant and high-impact prospect-specific engagement. This process is mandatory to achieve the two (2) essential ingredients in the allocation decision:



As always, I hope you find this helpful.

Continued Success!

Bryan Johnson 

Managing Partner
Johnson & Company
Direct: (512) 786-1569 or [email protected]