How can you tell if an investor is interested? First things first–don’t listen to anything they say. Investors are infamous for saying things that are the opposite of what they’re thinking. The best example of this is FOMO–fear of missing out. Many times, when an investor is not interested in investing, she will have a hard time telling you that directly. Why? Because something might happen down the road that will make them to want to invest. If they give you a hard “No” then you probably won’t want them as an investor. This results in the strange investor-entrepreneur dynamic in which investors won’t say “no” but they won’t say “yes” either. They end up dragging out the process and wasting a lot of your time.
If you can’t listen to what they say, what are leading indicators? One of the best indicators is SPEED–how fast they get back to you, how proactive they are with the process, how quickly they want to meet, and how fast they make decisions. Speed is one of the few leading indicators that is very highly correlated with investor interest. Watch what they do and how FAST they do it to understand how interested they actually are.