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Coe Juracek on How Truth and Culture Can Be Key in a Competitive Pitch Environment

Coe Juracek on How Truth and Culture Can Be Key in a Competitive Pitch Environment

Business development isn’t easy. Everybody’s chasing the same dollar, looking for an edge. For Coe Juracek, his edge comes from two simple elements — truth and culture.

Juracek works in a challenging sales environment. He’s the senior managing director of the investor coverage group for real estate investment firm Crow Holdings Capital, in charge of leading capital formation, business development, and strategic initiatives. His job takes him all over the world, pitching his firm’s investments to some of the most influential investors on the planet.

Juracek explains that marketing “is about being knowledgeable about the business and being plugged into the team. Because in the end, my team’s job is to be the contact point for the firm to the investor universe.”

For Juracek, communication and effective sales are about being so plugged in that he can give prospects both the information and the feel of what his business is about.

“The interesting thing in our space is that there are a lot of companies that are really good. They can sit in a room and explain why their results are fantastic — and they objectively are good,” says Juracek.

In a highly competitive environment with myriad talented competitors, it’s a knife fight for capital — every time, says Juracek, because fundraising is a zero-sum game.

“If I get that dollar, somebody else didn’t. I win, you lose,” says Juracek. “There’s no prisoner’s dilemma, where in one scenario, maybe we can both win. You win or you lose on this dollar.”

So, you need to be able to tell your story convincingly and honestly to have your best shot, Juracek says.

It’s Not as Simple as It Sounds, Says Coe Juracek

From one perspective, real estate investment is incredibly simple to understand, especially when compared to complex investment instruments like derivatives, swaps, and other financial instruments. Real estate is about the almost apocryphal “location, location, location” that every regular citizen understands innately.  In investments, an added layer is that a company has a property (or portfolio of properties) and they try to attract investors based on the quality and performance of the properties which are decided, in the end, by… location.

However, nothing is ever quite that elementary. When he’s pitching a real estate investment, Coe Juracek must not only understand his product and be able to explain it in both very simple and deeply technical terms, but he also must understand how the prospects would be using his product within their portfolios.

And there are so many great companies with great results that often it’s hard to explain how your firm differs from another.

In the end, says Juracek, it most often comes down to company culture.

“Our company culture is different. It is different than other financial investment management firms, but it’s very hard to sit down and describe that,” says Juracek. “To an investor in a room, they’re thinking, ‘Everybody talks about culture, Coe, come on. Really? It’s really that different?’ So, it’s an interesting challenge.”

Yet financial services companies do try to pitch their cultures as unique or special, whether because they’re trying to recruit talent or they’re pitching customers that they’re different from everyone else.

The word is bandied around so much in financial services that it’s almost become meaningless.

So, what do you do if you have a genuinely different firm culture?

Don’t say. Show and do.

“I very carefully select my team to be people who, by their nature, convey that,” says Juracek. “And then over time, investors get a sense that, ‘It’s not just Coe that acts this way, it’s actually truly that the whole company is filled with people that are not the same [as other firms]. They have these values and attitudes and interactions.’”

Ultimately, says Juracek, investors want to be a part of that, because they believe it’s an excellent place to do business.

In practice, out in the field and in the middle of a pitch, it’s the way that you carry yourself and the people that you hire. But most importantly, it’s how you yourself interact with people.

“It’s the way we conduct business,” says Juracek.

Coe Juracek Lets Culture Speak for Itself

The best example he can give is when investors come to Juracek’s office for the first time.

“Either in that trip or a week, a month, or even a year later, they will say, ‘You know what was really funny about my visit to your office? Everybody smiles at each other. Everybody legitimately looks happy to be there,’” Juracek recounts. “And when I watch people talking to each other in a meeting with me, or I walk around the halls and see people interacting with each other, I can tell that people are working hard, but that they’re having fun. You can see people giving each other a hard time. You can see people laughing. This is not a slog.”

Coe Juracek says he lets the firm culture speak for itself.

“I don’t end up emphasizing it a lot in pitches. It just ends up being a factor,” Juracek says.

Of course, Juracek also has a strong investment narrative. He’s a professional with a valued product, after all.

“Our basic pitch as a firm is that we’re a Main Street real estate firm. We’ve been in real estate since the 1940s. Nobody knows real estate better than us. We’ve done it longer, bigger, and as good as — or better — than anybody else. So, to become a partner of ours, irrespective of the strategy, is to get into a relationship with a firm that has been in the middle of real estate in the United States since it was an institutional class, and even before,” Juracek explains. “Then I dive in on specific strategies. If you want to talk about our value-add fund series, we’ve been doing it for 25 years. We’ve got 10 separate consecutive funds, all with positive results. We’ve been through the global financial crisis, we’ve been through the dot-com bust, we’ve been through COVID, we’ve been through inflation, we know how to pick products. And we’ve got a team that’s been together for 25 years. So, we check all these boxes and know how to measure risks — and hopefully take smart ones.”

It’s a solid pitch, to be sure. The narrative speaks of resilience. It speaks of prudence and a deep understanding of the market.

But the narrative only works if it comes from the heart. And it’s only a winning pitch if the firm has the culture to back it up.

Global Banking & Finance Review

 

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