How to not suck at intros By www.foundercentric.com. We help founders.
Ask for time before you tell people what’s going on.Hey, we’re a new company Hi, I’d really value yourresearching HR stafﬁng advice about how designersissues for our upcoming manage clients for a portfolioproduct -- who is the right product I’m working on.person in your organisation Could I buy you a coffee infor us to be talking to? the next few weeks?
Don’t write too much.Keep it to 5 sentences. Make in easy to read & answer in 2 minutes or less.
Ask for something speciﬁc.An email needs a clear ask or it’s getting put in the “I’ll think about that later” pile. Busy people never look at that pile.
Only ask for one thing.If you have multiple points or callsto action, you’ll get the easiest one answered and the rest ignored.
Nobody owes you.Don’t make a big ask in your ﬁrst email contact. Don’t give people work to do, or stuff to read.
AttachmentsFirst contacts don’t need ﬁnancial projections and a board deck.Adding a little bit of extra info to an intro can be handy, but keep it to themore “casual” stuff (e.g. a short intro deck.)Don’t expect anyone to open your attachments -- just throw them in thereto save the curious a request.
Subject linesUse the subject line to help themquickly understand what you want.Intro: Harry meet SallyAsk: Intro meeting to learn aboutyour video content.Update: Progress this month onProject X.Reminder: Please send me the draftspec you mentioned.
How toaccept anintroductionIf someone introduces you to a potentiallead, jump on it immediately with a quick“Hey, great to meet you, we do X andneed Y.”
How to makean introductionHey James, meet Lydia -- she does cooland relevant thing XYZ.Hey Lydia, James runs JQR and isgenerally wonderful.I wanted to put you two in touch becauseABC.All the best,
It’s okay to nudge.Nudge people every 2-6 weeks. We all lose email. It’s ﬁne.
Make an email icebox.When folks politely reject you (e.g. “Keep me in theloop!”), add them to your icebox list,Send the icebox a brief email update about once amonth with the main progress that they would careabout (e.g. new products for clients, tractionprogress for investors.)
Phone callsSorry, nobody wants to just “have a call” withyou. Tell them what you want to talk about.Sometimes a call is the best tool, but if youmake someone have a call on something youcould have dealt with over email, you’ll beconsidered a time-waster.
Research callsFrame the ask around the customers context.Hi Mr Chen,I’m developing a product that helpsrecruiters manage their email. We’re in earlystages, and would really appreciate 30minutes to help understand your workﬂowand needs. Is there a good time to speak inthe next few weeks?
Get permission wheninterrupting.If you’re calling, IMing or Skyping inunscheduled, say what you need in asentence, and ask for permission to continue.“Hi, I was hoping to grab you for 5-10 minutesto ask a few questions about the project planyou shared with me. Is now good?”If it’s a bad time, ask when’s a good time.
Proposing MeetingsPropose a couple time ranges in the short-term, plus an emptyday/week further in the future.Propose to go to their ofﬁce, or to meet them at a convenientcoffee shop -- if you’re asking for the meeting, you’re travelling.Tell them how long it’s going to be, and one or two agendapoints if they exist.Everyone hates to “catch-up” with complete strangers.
Running lateIf you’re going to be late, let themknow immediately, and give themyour updated ETA.
Running longAs soon as you think the meeting might run overthe allotted time, ask for permission or options.“We’re not going to getthrough topics X, Y & Zin the next 20 minutes.Can we run 15 minuteslonger, or is thereanother time we couldtalk about Z?
Check out our stuff.We’re Founder-Centric. We helpfounders. www.foundercentric.com
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