How to land and get the most out of any advisor meeting
I’ve observed hundreds of meetings between founders and advisors. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to land and derive the most value out of any advisor meeting.
How do I get an advisor to meet with me?
You should approach a potential advisor with a specific reason about why you need their help. Instead of offering to buy them a coffee and ask general questions, come up with a concrete, pointed question. For example, say “Here is my specific challenge: I can’t seem to turn a few hundred fans into paying customers. I know you’ve done this before—is it my price? my product? or the way I talk about it? an onerous on-boarding process? If this isn’t in your wheelhouse, could you introduce me to someone who can help?” Being authentic, vulnerable, and honest will appeal to advisors and make them more likely to take time out of their day to speak with you.
You can offer to compensate the advisor for their time, either directly by paying their hourly rate or indirectly, by donating to a charity or community service organization of their choosing. Even if they don’t take you up on your offer, they will appreciate the gesture and take note of the fact that you recognize that their time and expertise are valuable.
How do I get the most out of the meeting once it’s scheduled?
Do prep work. Before the meeting, send the advisor a list of questions and solutions you’ve already tried to solve your problem. Show them that you’ve already made an effort on your own.
Nail down your pitch. Be able to explain your company and product in less than three minutes. You should cover your target customer, their pain point, and how your specific product solves it.
Ask for advice and how to apply it to your situation.
Reserve ten minutes at the end of the meeting for the advisor to send you the contact information of people they want to introduce you to and the resources that can help you move forward. This way, you get what you need without having to write awkward follow up emails and take up more of their time than necessary.
Summarize the key action items they suggested. Ask them if you can follow up in 4-6 weeks to share results from implementing the advice—this is how you land a second meeting with the advisor!