Approaching Potential Advisors

Here are some techniques to use when approaching advisors:

  • Existing Relationships. Some of the people on your list may already be acting as advisors, just without the title. They’re the easiest to ask: Tell them how much you appreciate their advice, then say you’d be honored if they’d consider joining your advisory board.
  • Strangers. Strangers are a little more difficult, for obvious reasons. Use LinkedIn to see if you have any mutual connections. If you do, ask that person to introduce you. If you don’t, try cold-emailing the potential advisor. A couple of notes:
    • Meeting in-person is ideal, but a video call will work especially during the COVID times.
    • Do not ask them to sign an NDA—you’ll come across as presumptuous and ignorant.
    • Don’t say you’re reaching out because you want them to be your advisor. You don’t know if you want them yet, and that’s like asking someone to be in a relationship with you before your first date.
    • At the meeting, you should give a well-prepared pitch and a product demo.
    • While they’re giving you feedback, measure how excited or interested they seem. Are they asking relevant questions and honing in on the right areas?
    • At this stage of the game, professional chemistry and passion is more important than wisdom.

“We WILL be there with you every step of the way.” 

  • After your conversation, send them a warm email thanking them. You should also try to provide value to them. Is there anyone you can connect them with? Have you read anything recently that’s related to their space? Are you going to any industry events they might be interested in?
  • After a week or two has passed, send them another message asking for a second meeting. Since an advisor position is a big commitment on both sides, having more face-time before you formally ask is important. But let them know why you’re asking again, so they don’t think you’re being overbearing.
  • If you send this email to 10 of the 15 people you met with previously. If all goes well, eight of them will accept the second meeting.

These are just a few things you can do, we have many more in our learning module on this topic, check it out:

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