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3 Ways to Know an Investor Is Wasting Your Time Looks for signs of interpersonal engagement to determine if you can take an investor seriously, and other key vetting strategies.

By Marina Glazman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurs live or die by the ability to persuade investors to write checks. Investors, meanwhile, need to be persuaded not just to choose you over another startup, but to move from window shopping to action, which is not always a given. As a founder who has spent thousands of hours researching investors and their portfolios — studying their reading lists and interests, crafting hundreds of painstakingly individualized emails, fielding dozens of calls and dropping anything and everything for the possibility of landing a pitch — I've learned that identifying interactions that aren't going anywhere is crucial.

There are always tip-offs that an investor is about to waste your time; almost inevitably, the way they communicate with you will reveal their level of seriousness, as long as you know what to look for.

Three interactions in particular taught me some common red flags.