There is a common observation made by startup investors in Silicon Valley:
“If you ask investors for money you will get advice. If you ask them for advice you will get money”.
I have had similar experiences in the sales process. If you are new and genuinely trying to open up new markets, you should approach senior executives for advice.
Everybody likes to be valued for their wisdom and perspective. Asking very specific questions on the viability of your offering will get interesting responses.
When you hear criticism, ask why. Go deep. These insights are super valuable.
It goes without saying that your motivation for advice needs to be genuine.
Often the exchange will provide leads or even wam introductions if the executive sees value in your mission as a startup founder.
It will cost you a few dollars for a coffee and 20 mins of your time. What have you got to lose?