Jason Lemkin provides advice to startups on starting relationships with customer prospects. He explains the importance of founders, especially the CEO, of talking to prospective customers and not hiding that you’re a small startup.

Video Transcript: Build Relationship with Customers

Building a relationship with customers turns out to be profoundly easy. And what I mean by that is let’s talk about that as those 10 unaffiliated customers, nobody is dumb out there and this is a mistake that many founders make. Especially the first time that they meet with a C-level person, the CIO. They think you know Bob, Linda, or Jerry were some big startup – no, they know exactly who they are dealing with. They know that it’s six guys who set up the market in San Francisco with 11 customers. They know that.

But they also know that they have to make a couple of bets a year on things that can truly disrupt things that can add profound value in their companies. So when you get that lead, so my advice is that when you get that lead take it as the CEO, or founders. Talk to the customers, don’t be scared of talking and don’t outsource it to your sales rep, who you hired to early. To be honest yes, we’re 10 folks. I had a vision that would just change the entire industry, and I will do whatever it takes Linda, my leads to make you a success.

When they hear that I’ll do whatever it takes as a CEO to make you a success, one out of 10 of those leads will take that risk because then you can help.