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7 Tips To Climb The IB Ladder With These Networking Tips

June 29, 2021

As an investment banker, you need to be a people person. Learn how to build relationships with IB clients and top executives that lead to success.

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Investment Bankers Excel By Building Relationships 

Wall Street has a bad wrap. Many believe that bankers just sit around gambling with other people’s money. But you know that investment banking is a lot more nuanced than that. 

In the financial market, career advancement doesn’t come easy, especially for investment bankers. Unlike hedge funds or trading career paths, investment bankers working in the capital market rely on making pitches and gaining referrals to clients to land profitable deals. 

Investment banking professionals must spend years developing the skills and experiences needed to put themselves in a position to pitch a deal. 

And landing clients is essential to your success as an investment banker. Your bottom line isn’t just about the number of clients you bring in, but the amount of money they invest. 

People want to work with people they know and trust. They want to know that your advisory services are reliable and will eventually lead to profit. 

Professional networking, or relationship networking, is the best way to land more corporate clients and improve investment opportunities. 

Let’s take a look at seven tried-and-true networking tips that will help you grow your investment banking client list and 

7 Networking Tips To Help Land Investment Banking Clients 

Networking is a great way to position yourself to pitch your investment bank or financial services to a client. 

Whether you are looking for new clients that your bank has never partnered with or have been assigned a potential investor, here are seven things you can do to climb the investment banking ladder and land big deals. 

  1. Perfect Your Pitchbook 

 You already know that your pitch book is a significant component of client acquisition. When you have a strong pitch and a solid networking relationship, you are more likely to land big clients. 

Here are some things you need to incorporate into your pitch to engage your client and sell yourself and your investment bank. 

  • Maintain A Clear Message 
  • Limit Length to 10-15 Pages 
  • Set The Tone With A Company Analysis 
  • Plead Your Case Early On 
  • Use Deal Rationale To Create A Compelling Case 
  • Impress With Your Financial Analysis Skills 
  • Remember To Include An Appendix.

Strengthen your pitch by turning it into a story and keeping the branding consistent. Don’t forget that your pitch itself is only a piece of the puzzle. You’ll still have to build relationships through professional networking to prove your trustworthiness and valuation. 

  1. Be Prepared With A Digital Business Card That Lists Your Financial Services 

It is essential to maintain a current digital business card to share with new contacts in an age of cold emails and video conferences. 

The problem with paper business cards is that they are easily lost. A digital business card is a sharable file that can be sent through your mobile device and easily stored in the cloud or desktop computer. 

A digital business card offers many benefits. You can easily update contact information without the hassle and cost of reprinting. 

You can also include more than just your primary phone number and email address. You can include links to your website, your LinkedIn profile, and even resources you find helpful. 

Not only does a digital business card make professional networking easy, but it helps build your credibility with new clients by showing you are up to date on the latest industry practices and care about your reputation. 

  1. Expand Your Asset Management Skill Set

Even though you spent years studying balance sheet creation and corporate finance, the finance industry is constantly moving and changing. 

To land high-quality clients, you need to do your due diligence by staying up to date on industry practices. Remember your job involves working on the buy-side and the sell-side. 

So brush up on restructuring, underwriting, and new strategies created by leading research analysts. By attending workshops, you may even find some unique networking opportunities with other institutional investors. 

  1. Spend Time On The Conference Circuit

 Top bankers often spend a lot of time on the conference haircut. Here they can meet with top executives and representatives from advisory firms to build relationships and share knowledge. 

These meetings end up a lot like information sessions or informational interviews. You have to stand out from the crowd and follow up to improve your chances of networking success. 

Remember that the real action at conferences happens off stage and between sessions. It’s ok to skip panels and keynotes in favor of one on one meetings during the day. 

  1. “Wine And Dine” To Build Relationships

Once you’ve built up a solid amount of contacts, you need to work on building the relationship. 

An inbound contact who needs to raise capital or sell quickly won’t need to be wined and dined. However, if you believe the deal is further down the road, you will need to take the time to prove your knowledge and trustworthiness. 

You can prove to the CEO a few ways that you aren’t just in it for the profit. 

  • Make The Meeting Casual: Arrange a lunch or dinner to discuss what the company has been up to and has planned for the future. 
  • Provide Market Updates: Tell executives what’s going on in recent research reports or capital markets, or the M&A.
  • Formulate Acquisition Ideas: Meet with executives to discuss possible areas they want to expand into. 
  • Be On Call: Always be ready to answer their questions whenever they have them. 

Even though you don’t get paid for any of this, this is an integral part of the “client-winning” process. If you don’t show them you value the relationship, then you can kiss that big deal goodbye. 

  1. Don’t Bother With Online Marketing 

Online marketing may work well with some industries, but rarely for investment banking. 

It involves paying for ads on common sites like Facebook, Google to market themselves to clients. Direct mail and TV advertising are also pretty popular, but these tactics will never work for an investment banker. 

These methods are too impersonal and robotic. Clients would rather interact with a real person, build a relationship of respect and trust, then listen to your pitch. 

When the amount of possible clients is low and the per-client value increases, you need to get personal to seal the deal. 

Always make personal contact and understand their financial wants and needs before going in with the pitch. 

  1. Keep Your Head Up And Your Eye On The Prize

Quality networking takes time. You may spend years developing a relationship before you see any gains. 

Remember, there are no guarantees in investment banking networking. You could do everything right for three years straight but still, lose a deal due to pricing or incorrect financial modeling. 

Always remain positive and dedicated to your end goal. Don’t let failure set you back. Keep moving forward, focusing on lead generation and building relationships with other bankers. 

Use These Investment Banking Networking Tips To Land Your Best Clients 

 

Investment banking is about so much more than winning an offer. It’s about getting to know other financial analysts on a personal level. Unlike equity research, you need a good relationship with your client to build trust and prove you have what it takes to succeed. 

It’s never too early or too late to start networking. Whether you are still in business school or are looking for that next promotion, networking helps others in your industry make up their mind about you and keeps you poised for big career moves. 

Use these seven networking tips today to gain connections and start working towards landing the next big deal of your investment banking career. 

FAQs

What is the difference between private equity and hedge funds? 

Private equity funds are invested directly into companies, while hedge funds are alternative investments used to earn returns for investors. 

Which strategies for capital raising are best for investment bankers? 

Investment bankers raise money through Initial Public Offerings, IPOs, bank credit, or buying and selling bonds on behalf of their clients. 

What are some secrets to successful networking? 

Secrets to successful networking include using digital business cards, discussing non-work topics, and creating an atmosphere of familiarity. 

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