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Whether you’re looking for user testimonials, searching for beta testers, or trying to expand your network, as a founder, it can seem like you’re constantly asking for help. If you’re an introvert, you might dread sending requests to connect on LinkedIn. Even if you’re extroverted and enjoy talking to new people, asking users for their honest product reviews can be awkward. Luckily, the entrepreneurial community is full of people who want to support new founders. But what’s the best and most effective way to ask for help?
- Be clear with what you’re asking for. If you ask, “Please introduce me to more developers,” you likely won’t hear back. How are they supposed to know which developers’ opinions will be beneficial for your company? Instead, do the work for them. Your request should be specific, well-researched, and tangible so that it’s effortless for them to fulfill. A more effective example is, “I want to understand what security engineers look for in auth providers. Can you forward this email to Sam Knight at Super Safe Inc?”
- Be concise with what you’re asking for. When you’re asking for a favor, you may feel the need to butter them up beforehand. But too much fluff can confuse your reader and hide your request. There’s a fine line between being cold and keeping it concise but one tip is to strategically format your email structure using line breaks. After a brief, relevant pleasantry (see below), isolate your request to its own paragraph so that it clearly stands out. People are busy so make it as easy as possible for them to know what they need to do to help you.
- Be authentic. We’ve all gotten auto-generated emails where your name has obviously been inserted into a mass template. No one likes this. If you’re asking for their help the least you can do is add a bit of personalization. Artificial intelligence leader Allie K. Miller strongly recommends including a note that’s uniquely relevant to the person you’re reaching out to. If you want to connect with a speaker from a conference, mention their presentation and share specifically why their perspective about your product will be valuable to you. This doesn’t have to be a long-winded love letter—remember to keep it concise—but a little bit of creativity will help you stand out in a crowded inbox.
The underlying theme of these three tips can be summarized as, “Treat people how you want to be treated.” Are you more likely to respond to a simple email with a clear and easy request that will only take you a minute to complete or a dense, generic email that you have to reread twice just to understand what they want?
Asking for feedback or advice may never become your favorite task but in order to build the best product you can’t skip this step. So instead of sending a thousand generic messages, take a few extra minutes to craft a clear, concise, and authentic note. We guarantee your response rate will improve.