How to Craft an "Ask"

Every pitch should have an "ask," a polite request that lets the audience know how they can help you next. A great “Ask” portion of a pitch should be:
  • Actionable for the mentor/audience
  • Ask for advice, not leads/money
  • Helps you towards one of your goals for the program
  • Be specific enough for a large fraction of your audience to feel like they have the knowledge to help you in a limited time frame.
Example 1:
  • BAD: “Introduce me to senior level executives of company X”
  • GOOD: “I want to understand what matters to senior level executives at companies like X”
  • WHY: One is about extraction, the better one is about learning & building a relationship.
Example 2:
  • BAD: “Purchase my discounted product today!”
  • GOOD: “Help me understand who would want my product, why, and how to reach them.”
  • WHY: Same as above!

Example 3:

  • BAD: “I need help with my business model.”
  • GOOD: “I am debating between 3 models: subscription service, a direct sale, or selling through retailers. I’d love to hear your feedback on how to make this decision, especially if you have deep experience in any of these models.”
  • WHY: The first was so generic that people don’t realize they can help, or won’t feel special in helping.  The second one lets people with the right knowledge know they can make an impact on you.  It also shows that you have done work to figure out your options and are ready for guidance vs mentors do your homework for you.

Hat Tip: This content expands on the work I did while at the amazing www.valleyventurementors.org.