Go Beyond Business Cards And Master the Art of Investor Networking

Networking as an investor often feels like a fish in the water. You are in your comfort zone and autopilot mode. However, this approach will not help you build a high-value circle with resourceful connections. Networking is the lifeblood of so many people, and investors need it for many reasons, such as quality deal flow, finding co-investment partners, accessing raw data, building camaraderie with like-minded people, and much more.

Steffi Berg Baker, an expert in handling money, relationships, and communications, shared her insights on the importance of networking for investors and how they can do it correctly.



Types Of Human Capital You Need In Your Circle

The people around you directly impact your life and achievements. It is well known that you must build a circle of productive and resourceful people who can add value to you and push you in the right direction. Steffi emphasizes the importance of seven distinct types of human capital you should surround yourself with:

The intellectual: Who knows facts and possesses the intelligence to do everything. They are essentially the brains of the group.

The socialite: Who knows all the best events and parties. Socializing is important for people from all walks of life, and a socialite will help them go to the right place to build valuable connections.

The catalyst: Who you can trust to create a positive impact, move things in the right direction, and get things done.

The deal hub: This person has the best deal flow in the group and advises the right moves. They are action-oriented, and their expertise is backed up by their success.

The super connector: Who knows everyone in the larger community. Similarly to a socialite, this person can strike-up meaningful conversations with the right people and build valuable connections.

The super spy: Someone who knows everything happening in the community. They are on top of all the latest trends and inside scoop accessible to only a few people.

The rain maker: The one with excellent finances, who knows everything about making more money.



Insights from the Inner Circle: Lessons Learned from HNWI/Family Office Colleagues

Steffi also shared what she learned from her association with high net-worth individuals (HNWI), family offices, and colleagues. These lessons tell exactly what to say and how to forge relationships with these people.

Finding High-Value Individuals/Family Offices

Social media is a wonderful place to find like-minded professionals who share your vision. It is a round-the-clock party where people can mingle and kick off insightful conversations. Steffi advises that people who use social media wisely can build a strong and valuable circle very easily. Additionally, you need to know what you bring to the table, as it will be a two-way conversation. This does not necessarily mean that you should be everything to everybody. Identify your specialty and use it to help your connections.

Consider going to events off your beaten path. Connect with different people with different points of view, so you can always have a fresh perspective on things. Seeing the same type of people over a long time is stagnating. Actively look for new things and people who can add value.

Are They The Right Person For Your Circle?

Before you start networking, step back and ask yourself if this person would be of value to you even if you do not conduct any business together. Would you enjoy a dinner/coffee with them? Will they motivate and educate you to become a better professional?

Breaking The Ice And Building A Relationship

While networking, you should always lead with strategies, not tactics. Do not talk about short-term goals and events, talk about your vision, the big picture. Tell them what you are doing and why you are doing it, from a larger perspective. It is also good to keep an evaluation process that reveals more about the person than what they project. Take some time to get to know them, observe their actions, and see if they align with their words.

Take your time to nurture these inner circle relationships. You may have 20-50 people to deal with regularly, so you should know who they are and stay in touch with them. Do not put your relationships on a cruise. Another important point to remember is that during the conversation if you ever have to say no, be honest and stick to your opinion. Tell them if their idea does not appeal to you and if it will not work out. Being truthful is a wiser option than ghosting them, as the latter can damage the relationship.


Five Reasons Why Deliberate Networking is Important

Steffi shared in her keynote the five major reasons you should be persistent when it comes to networking with high-quality professionals:

  1. Gain crucial intel in advance. If the word is on the street, it is probably too late.
  2. The right people will close deals quickly. Speed is of the essence, as deals that drag on, ultimately die.
  3. Name that person in 3 calls or less. If an HNWI is close to your circle, you will identify them within 3 calls.
  4. Minimize network friction, that means wasting less time and resources in talking to the wrong people.
  5. Minimizing network poison, which happens when you hit it off with someone but they do not offer a good enough deal or their deal blows up leaving you in losses.


Three Keys To Building Successful Investing Relationships

Key #1: Plan Your Network With The Rolodex Method

The Rolodex method is keeping a list of people who can be resourceful in particular situations. So, if anything comes up in the future and you want to check who in your contact can help you, all you need to do is check the Rolodex. You should also prune the list over time and identify the gaps within your networks to build more connections. Review your social media profile regularly to know if it is set up properly to attract the right people. Keep a list of to-do and not-to-do activities, to ensure that you are making the best use of your time in doing something productive.

Key #2: Plan Your Network Nurture With Best Practices

Identify your top 50 people and allot time each week to connect with them. This constant one-to-one will help in sharing ideas and projects. Share relevant articles so you grow the knowledge base of your entire circle, and it only takes a few minutes. Call when you can, or send an email. Ask insightful questions and listen well to their opinions. Offer thoughtful introductions, and find a little project to collaborate on to strengthen your bond.

You can also share your authentic self with these people. They are the closest to you and it is unnecessary to always have your game face on in front of them every time.

“You don’t have to be vulnerable where you know its safe” – Steffi Berg Baker

Key #3: Know Who You Are Dealing With

What is the history of your connections? What do you have in common? What do they value? How do you feel around them? – These are the types of questions you should be able to answer about your network, and the last one is a make-or-break. Check if the people around you are:

Takers: People with short attention spans and a preference to talk in the first person. They usually focus on their wins.

Matchers: People who do not ask for any favor and believe in shared victories. You feel good around them and see yourself grow.

Selfless Givers: Those who care about your victories and not much about theirs. They do not seek recognition and focus on contribution.

Otherish Givers: These people set healthy boundaries to create a win-win situation. They rejoice in others’ victories and are willing to be vulnerable.

It is important to remember that people grow with time, and these tags do not stay forever. Neither of these categories is good or bad, as each has a distinct value proposition, and almost everybody has been one of these at some point in their lives.

Bonus Key: Engage Your Mind, Heart, And Gut

Building connections for sustainable success should keep you fully engaged and invested. Lead with your heart and believe in miracles. Steffi mentions experiencing heart-brain coherence, a state in which your brain works with your heart and body. It is a state of unity and harmony that keeps you more aware.

Networking is a journey, not the destination. To make this journey fulfilling, it is important to adopt the best practices, see how they work for you, and make changes if necessary. These tips will help you master networking, as they have done for Steffi and her numerous clients. Keep putting yourself out there, build connections, and watch your circle grow!


About The Speaker

Steffi Berg Baker has 20+ years of experience in finance and counseling, during which she has played diverse roles as a part of family offices, a strategy associate, volunteered as a mentor to founders, and much more. Several CXOs and industry leaders applaud her acumen in wealth management, networking, and consultancy. Currently, she is a financial educator to ultra-high net worth individuals and family offices so they can run their money and not vice versa.

Watch Steffi’s full keynote at Keiretsu Forum’s Northwest and Rockies Salt Lake City Investment Summit. Click here.