In a Sea of Black and White, What does the Rainbow IR Fish Do?

Posted by on April 19th, 2012

As my colleague Caitlin Cox alluded to in a previous post, in the client services business, the lines are blurred when it comes to defining exactly what we do. In a social setting, it’s much easier to answer the age-old “what do you do” question with a simple doctor, lawyer, dentist, etc. But, being that I don’t have an MD, ESQ or DDS at the end of my name, I don’t have that luxury. When I reply “Investor Relations,” I watch countless people look back at me with blank stares while I prepare to give my two minute blurb about the exciting world of IR. But the truth is it really is hard to define exactly what we do.

Outsiders would probably argue that IR consists of standard financial communications writing, investor roadshow planning, etc. In black and white, that is the bulk of our functionality. But, when you add color to the items listed above, it’s a whole new chapter of Investor Relations 101.

From setting up investor events to figuring out a way to reposition great coverage for the investment community, there are many different ways IR professionals need to service their clients. The constant is the need to continuously build relationships with investors.  Standing at the helm of IR is the rapport we build with analysts following our Companies and industries. We know which analyst covers medical devices rather than biotechnology and which analyst never ever wants to hear from you if you’re not pitching a profitable company. The key to developing this relationship lies in the cold call or what people may call “The Pitch.”

After countless encounters with investors, I’ve come up with several tactics to getting that meeting for your Company:

  • BE CONFIDENT. No one wants to get a nervous call, especially not a busy investor with 10 minutes for lunch before their next earnings call. Be confident in the way you present yourself and the Company. If you don’t buy what you’re selling, neither will an investor.
  • DO YOUR RESEARCH. Conventional IR resources/databases are only step 1. Research analysts thoroughly, find out about their investing patterns and leverage that information when you pitch.
  • EYE ON THE TARGET. Every investor will try to get you off the phone, it’s your job to keep them interested. Share the most relevant positive news about the Company and its accomplishments. Stay away from poor past financial decisions and unmet goals.
  • STAY POSITIVE. As the old saying goes, nobody likes a Negative Nancy. Stay positive in both your tone and message. Your demeanor should make the investor ask “why didn’t I meet with this company sooner?”

So, before you pigeonhole an IR professional, think back to all the creative methods you developed to get a date – that date is what all IR professionals are trying to score, every day, for their Companies.