Considerations for Capital Stack Structure
August 3, 2016
It’s Tough to Sell a Dirty Truck
November 22, 2016

Make It Easy To Say Yes

I’ve either prepared or reviewed numerous financing or investment packages over the years. It kills me when one is not prepared in a manner that flows, but makes the reader work to figure out what is being requested.

I recently read a proposal from a very experienced developer seeking equity for a new project.  It was hard to follow what was being asked of the reader.  The package seemed to bounce around from idea to idea, didn’t answer obvious questions, and didn’t highlight this developer’s extensive and successful experience.  For instance, the project is to be built in a tertiary market.  You would think the proponent would answer the obvious question regarding market demand in the package, but this was not discussed, and the reader was left to peruse an attached 100+ page market study.  I was getting turned off way too soon, and I would suspect others would too.  I was ready to say “No.”

You want make it easy to say “Yes!”

When you are seeking funding for a project, either equity or debt, your pitch should tell a story. Get the reader involved in what you’re doing.  Sell the sizzle and get them excited.  The material should follow a natural flow, from a high-level summary to the action you are asking of the reader.  You want to make it easy for the reader to say “Yes!”

The mistake often made is to jump too quickly into the details without giving the reader the context and framework of the project.  Start with an overview from 30,000 feet.  Then, during the balance of the package introduce the reader to the various components of the deal.  Cover subjects such the region, market, location, and the property. Include information on any pre-leasing, borrower experience, project economics, and finally a suggested transaction structure.  Make sure obvious questions are answered along the way, and don’t forget to add well-placed photos, maps, site and building plans, and renderings. Pictures tell a thousand words.

One last thing about the proposal: make sure it looks nice. It doesn’t have to be on glossy paper stock and spiral-bound, but a professional look and feel is appreciated.  Most packages today are sent via email, so a well designed PDF file is fine.

Don’t stop at the proposal

Making it easy to say yes continues after the package is delivered.  Simple things like answering questions in a timely manner, delivering follow-up material in a neat and orderly fashion, and doing what you say you’ll do and go a long way to build credibility.  It will help on the current deal and in future ones.

And if the answer is no, bow out gracefully and look forward to the next opportunity to work together.  One of the greatest assets you have is your reputation and experience.  The answer may be no to this project, so make it easy to say yes to the next one.