I get asked to connect people all the time. I also ask others to connect me to people every single day. Getting introductions is an incredibly powerful way to get to know people who can help you with your business or in your personal life. It’s also great to be able to give an introduction to two people who will mutually benefit from knowing each other. Email introductions are the most common intros these days, so it’s important to know how to both introduce two people and respond to introductions.
Introducing Two People
I like to keep it really simple. Here’s a mock introduction between my business partner Jesse Davis and our friend/Madison entrepreneur Steve Faulkner of Real Time Txts.
To: Jesse Davis, Steve Faulkner
From: Nathan Lustig
Subject: Introducing You
Jesse, meet Steve Faulkner. Steve is, among other entrepreneurial endeavors, the founder of Real Time Txts, a service that texts subscribers free drink offers at local bars in real time. He also wrote an awesome article about Madison entrepreneurship that was featured in Techcrunch.
Steve, meet Jesse Davis. Jesse is the cofounder of Entrustet, a website that allows you to decide if you’d like your digital assets transferred to heirs or deleted when you die. He is also active in the Madison startup scene and Capital Entrepreneurs and writes a great entrepreneurship blog. Jesse is interested in connecting with you to see if there is a potential partnership for Real Time Txts and Entrustet.
I wanted to connect you guys so you could figure out how to make it happen. I’ll let you take it from here.
Key Points to Remember
- Use the format above to introduce both people to each other
- Include links to each person’s business, unless the person is well known
- Include a sentence at the end to say why you’re connecting both people to each other
- Include a sentence that tells the two people you’ve just introduced that it’s up to them to take it farther
Responding to an Introduction
It’s fairly straight forward. Click reply all and thank the introducer for making the intro. Introduce yourself to the other person and go from there. It’s important to include the introducer in the first reply so that they know that you’ve actually responded. If I’ve taken the time to introduce two people, I want to know that they’ve actually taken the next step to connect. After the first email, feel free to leave the introducer off further conversations. Here’s a sample reply:
To: Jesse Davis, Nathan Lustig
From: Steve Faulkner
Nathan, Thanks for intro.
Jesse, many people have told me that we should meet as well. As Nate said, I’m the founder of Real Time Txts, a service that sends people texts about free drinks at Madison area bars. Do you have some time this week to chat via phone or meet up for coffee so we can discuss a potential partnership?
I hope this helps! What do you think? Do you use this format or do you have a different format that works well for you?
When introducing people, should you ask to be CCed on the next email, or do you just hope that they do so you can know that they actually got in touch?
I usually don’t ask people to CC me on the next email, but people usually do. I know a bunch of people who do, though and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. If you want to go that route, include “Please copy me on the response and then I’ll leave the rest to you guys” or something like that.
I’m with you here, Nathan on the cc. But what I’d like to happen is later notification that they got value from the introduction. too often people forget to say ‘thanks’ or to return favors IMO.
I like Norman’s suggestion about coaching people – great suggestion.
Your question is exactly the one thing that I would add to Nathan’s perfect description above. Like Nate, I too do lots of introductions each week. because the conversations could be sensitive beyond my “need to know”, I always end with the following sentence:
“With this email, I’ll expect the two of you to connect directly, but please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can further facilitate the connection.”
This assures me that if either party needs more help making this connection they will let me know, otherwise it’s in their hands. My experience has been that about 60% of the time, the responders keep me on the “cc:” for their first exchange.
Yea, that’s very true. Thanks for adding it in here.
Nathan, I agree with your approach to introductions and I’d also mention the importance of only doing the introduction if you think there’s a reasonable chance that both parties will get value. I frequently have to tell people that I won’t do an introduction just yet because they’re not ready to talk to the otherr party (particularly when a young entrepreneur wants an introduction to senior exec). I’m very cautious about abusing my contacts. The solution is often to coach the party seeking the introduction until they are ready to bring value as well as to take.
Norman,You’re exactly right. It really sucks to get tons of intros where only one party benefits. I don’t mind being intro’ed when there’s only a benefit to one of the parties, but it can’t be all the time from the same person.
Good advice. I write a lot of emails like this! Sometimes several per day. I totally agree with you about mutual benefit, but if two people have very, very similar interests, like studying public interest law at Boalt Hall at UC Berkeley this is less necessary.
I also like to coach people. I introduced a fellow Start-Up Chile entrepreneur to my dad, thinking that my dad would know just the right people who could help push his project forward. I also coached him on the right way to communicate with my dad, something I have learned over the past 27 years!
I heard from Enrique that you’re coming back to Chile. If the rumor is true, I look forward to meeting you! I’m sure you’ve heard about the gorgeous new office 🙂
Yup, coaching the people in the intro is a huge part of making it a success, great point. I’m back now and will be dropping my the offices this week, hopefully we get a chance to meet.
NICE ADVICE….THANKS A LOT