Land Customer Interviews with Better Cold Emails
  • Updated on 27 Feb 2019
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Land Customer Interviews with Better Cold Emails

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Customer development interviews are something you should continue doing well beyond validating your startup. Whenever possible you want to find people to interview based on an introduction or recommendation, but more often than not you will find sending emails to people you only discovered online.

Below are some simple tips for you and a template you could you to ensure that you're landing the interview and not scaring them off.

The anatomy of an interview request email

  1. Introduce yourself and indicate why have you chosen them.
    Your name and position in your startup should suffice. After that, it's very important that you show your interviewee why you're reaching out to them. Refer to an article they wrote or some experience they have on their LinkedIn that's relevant or interesting to you.

  2. Ask for feedback, to position them more like a potential partner than a potential customer (Reassure them you don’t want money)
    Indicate that you value their opinion and that you're not looking to sell anything to them. Admitting that you're very early stage and need their expert advice will usually work in your favour.

  3. Very briefly describe the problem or area you’re trying to help with to pique their interest enough to respond
    This is not a sales pitch. Don't dive into the features and explain why you're better than the competition. Just indicate the market you're serving or the problem you're tackling.

  4. Make the request for an interview
    Be direct and ask them for a time. Mention that you're not looking for much of their time and indicate that you're looking to get their feedback from the interview.

  5. Confirm the time
    Offer some dates and times for the call as a starting point for the interviewee to choose. Without offering any choices, they will be less inclined to look in their calendars and find a time for you.

An effective email template

Below is a template you can use to reach out to your customers. We've bolded the parts that you should change to personalize the email.

Hi John,

I’m Anita, founder of OmniEat. I came across your LinkedIn profile and it looks like you have a lot of experience with nutrition and the food industry. I’m looking for feedback on a potential product to help patients with stomach disorders find diets that work for them.

I don’t have a product to sell yet. I’m trying to determine if it’s a problem worth solving in the first place.

I would like to ask you a few questions and get your feedback over a fifteen minute phone call. Would you be available on Monday or Thursday anytime between 1-5pm?


It's short and simple, with very clear instructions and no sales intent. That's all you need!

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