Before startups say no to 99% of partnership opportunities you have to qualify and find out what it is the other company is actually looking to do. There’s a standard song and dance where a VP or co-founder from another company gets an intro through a mutual connection or sends a cold email asking to set up a phone call to talk about an integration/partnership/relationship.
Too often, myself included, if it looks interesting and targeted, entrepreneurs jump on the phone and spend an hour finding what the proposal actually is and what an integration might look like. Don’t. When the quality request comes in simply reply back via email and ask these three questions:
- What, specifically, is the proposed integration?
- What 10 customers have asked for this integration and why?
- What parts can you do via the standard API we already have and what parts do we need that are non-standard?
These three questions will provide a wealth of information and save you a ton of time. Now, you still might jump on a call for 30 minutes after you get the answers but the quality of the call will be significantly better, saving everyone time.
What else? What other questions do you like to ask when handling initial partnership requests via email?