203. Tom Raber of Alvine Capital: Making the Sale and Reading the Room

Tom Raber is the founder and Managing Director of London-based Alvine Capital, a reverse enquiry solutions firm that Tom founded in 2005, with a particular focus on finding solutions for institutional investors in alternative assets.  Originally from Sweden, he previously held leadership roles at Key Asset Management  and a series of investment banks.

We start by discussing Tom’s path and education and the determination that he showed to get a job on “Wall Street” where he ultimately arrived via a role in investment banking in London. We chart that path, then learn what led to his move to a fund of hedge funds fund raising during the hedge fund peak and ultimately to founding Alvine Capital.

Alvine Capital was, in my view, the pioneer of the “reverse enquiry” form of capital raising. Instead of relying on a push strategy for alternative products it derived a pull strategy from its many relationships with providers of institutional capital. It was a strategy perhaps initially necessitated by the requirement to stay efficient as a small, boutique operator. Ultimately, though, it became a differentiator and value proposition.

I asked Tom about how he learned to succeed in sales, and about the need for a thick skin and techniques to actually seal the deal. What follows is a series of insights on preparation, reading the room, reading the client and ultimately finding the moment at which a decision is likely and bringing that decision around, whatever it might be. We discuss the importance of preparation and follow up, two areas which may not always be receiving the right focus.

Finally we bring our discussion to the human side of sales, the need to adapt, shift habits, pace oneself. It is a rich discussion with one of the best there is.

This podcast is kindly supported by Tom and Alvine Capital who have supported Fiftyfaces Productions every year since its inception by sponsoring a podcast series. This year they are sponsoring Series 4. There is more information about Alvine Capital on the website: alvinecapital.com