How To Pitch To Your Advisors (EDITed)
Most people get nervous when thinking about asking the very best to be their advisors. These are some of the thoughts that go through their mind:
“They wouldn’t want to work with our ministry”.
“We’re not important enough to be accepted by XYZ”.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
When you approach the very best to advise your ministry team – you have more advantages than you realize.
Give Honor: Firstly, everyone loves to be honored. When you acknowledge someone for their dedication to their craft, and you express how valuable their contribution would be to you and your team, they are likely to say yes. People love to sit at the head of the table, so when you invite them to do so, they will usually agree.
Be aware that I’m not talking about flattery here. Flattery is misplaced honor, and people can smell it a mile away. What I am talking about is giving due respect to someone who actually deserves to sit at the head of the table in their given area of expertise.
80/20 Rule of Advisors: Secondly, only the minority are brave enough to approach the best. Everyone else is just like you. They feel anxious about going up to those who excel at their craft, and asking for advice. This means that the majority of people will go to B and C grade advisors, which will ultimately get them B and C grade results.
However, it’s actually EASIER to get A-grade advisors because everyone is too scared to approach them! It’s harder to get B and C-grade advisors because everyone is competing for their attention. Let everyone else fight over the scraps and have faith that God will provide your ministry with the best. Be bold, skip the scraps and go for the steak.
Play The Odds Game: Finally, it’s literally impossible to fail as long as you continue to approach the best people you can find. Play the odds game! Who cares if 9 in 10 will say “no”? Just ask 10 people and you’re guaranteed to have at least one A-grade advisor in your corner! What you don’t realize is that the majority of people never even try. Those who try usually quit after the first or second rejection. When you keep going, your odds of success increase exponentially with each attempt. Every rejection teaches you what not to do, until you are so good at recruiting advisors that you won’t be able to accept any more!
Here is what to keep in mind when pitching to an advisor:
- When you make a pitch to a potential advisor, let them know why you value their opinion. Let them know that when you and your ministry team got together, their name was the first to come up. Inform that person that your ministry team is putting together a team of skilled advisors from the community, and that you would be honored if they were willing to fill your (Legal, financial, etc) position.
- Be confident. Why wouldn’t someone want to support the good work you are doing to bless the community?
- Don’t get discouraged if your first offers are rejected.
Again, I wouldn’t give advice that I haven’t first tested myself.
I hunted down the contacts of my favorite authors, theologians, apologists, etc. when I had questions about their books.
Most of them have personal Facebook pages that can be found in 5 minutes. I once paid .99 cents to talk to a big-time business author through a Facebook chat. He was a really nice guy! I had three calls with him, he gave me the next steps and told me I could contact him again once I had completed them. I also discovered during our brief conversations that he was the former professor of another business author whose books I loved.
On another occasion, I reached out to one of the world’s leading Christian apologists & philosophers. He wasn’t willing to work with me, and the rejection stung for a few days, but who cares? I still gave it a shot, and at least I can say I talked to him!
I have been building a team of advisors, trainers, and mentors in every area of my life that I want to excel at. Here’s what that looks like:
- I have a group of strong Christian men who advise me if I’m struggling spiritually, and keep me accountable.
- I have a successful Christian business mentor who gives amazing business advice.
- My wife and I know an older, thriving Christian couple who teach us relationship tips, tools, and strategies.
- We have an excellent tax strategist who makes sure our business’ finances are in order when tax time comes. I also call her when I need advice on how to navigate my tax decisions.
- As far as hobbies go, I have always loved martial arts. I met an ex-special forces operative through a friend who now gives me the best martial arts training you could find anywhere.
Before I had a group of mentors and advisors in my corner, I felt like I was always pushing a heavy rock uphill. Progress was slow and often painful. As I gained high-caliber advisors, the rock began to roll over the peak of the hill. I now spend my days trying to keep up with the rock that continues to roll faster under its own momentum.
Building a team of skilled advisors will get your ministry to critical mass much faster than what you and your ministry team could do alone.