Advisors · Advisory boards

Best way to approach people on becoming Advisors?

Matthew Diaz

February 13th, 2015

Here's an example:

Let's say you have the contact information to a CMO, VP, CTO, or any executive position at a major company such as Apple, Live Nation, Samsung, etc...

There's no mutual relationships, no way to get introduced, but you have their contact information (email). You really want that individual to come and join your advisory board.

What's the best way to approach this individual in an email? 

I would love to hear your answers.

Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

February 13th, 2015

I truly think that's a last resort. We built FD:Advisors so you don't have to do that because half the battle is intent, knowing that the person wants to help and what they want to help with (their expert areas and the markets they are interested in). I wrote an article about getting advisors to say yes  and that "Doing our homework" piece is a huge part and that's hard to do, so we make it easier. The other piece is on you - tell them (briefly) why you want them. Not because they are a CTO or a VPX but why them, what areas of expertise do they have, why did you reach out to them. Copy/paste emails aren't good here. And finally, do not propose right away. Just say you'd love to talk and see if there is potential to advise, not "xyz so will you be my advisor." Your goal is a first conversation (that you should have an agenda for).  

As an extra, if you messaged me about advising I'd wonder what you were doing and I'd go look at your profile which doesn't say much. So, fill that out so they see you're excited and pumped and they don't have to work so hard.


February 13th, 2015

+1 for everything Jessica said.

Be empathetic -- they're busy, they've a ton of responsibilities at work, they don't know you, they have families and their time is precious, they don't care about what you are doing like you do, the compensation you can offer them (even if it's equity in their company) is actually immaterial to them.

Moreover -- you don't know them. How do you know they'd be good advisors? Their seniority at a big company doesn't mean anything other than that fact in itself. 

For advisors, you need to get to a point where that makes sense as an evolution in a relationship (for both of you).  


February 13th, 2015

I updated my profile. I'll change my approach and expectations when approaching advisers. Homework is very important. Glad to have this discussion board as a huge resource.