One of the best ways to give value to relationships new and old is to make a mutually beneficial introduction. However, a lot of people rush these introductions and don’t give them the weight and value they need and require. We’ve been on the receiving end to some amazing introductions from people (HT to @winnlosedraw, Explainify, Thou Mayest, @ntotelegraph, & many more).
But we’ve also been on the receiving end of some terribly handled introductions. Specifically via email.
Here’s our cheatsheet for how to make the best email introductions ever, making both parties feel valued, loved, and deeply inspired. The caveat is that this will take you a bit more time to do. But, if your goal is to be an Access Point and present value to people in your life, then it’s worth taking the extra time to go through these steps.
1. Get private permission first. Fred Wilson (VC and founder of Union Street Ventures) calls this double-opt in introductions. Never, I repeat, never, email a cold email introduction to two people: “You guys gotta get together and I need to come too!” Wrong! Now you’ve created even more of a sticky mess. I don’t know who you are introing me to, I don’t even know you that well. Now I have to spend 3 emails back and forth figuring out who this person is and if I even want to be introed to them. Too late, you already threw us into bed together! Awkward.
2. Once getting private permission from both parties, let them know that you’ll be introing them soon. This way they’re expecting it. Also let them know WHY you are introducing them. If it’s to inspire one another over coffee, be clear about that. If it’s to convene about a mutual project you’re working on. Give a project overview. If you don’t know why you’re introducing them but you just have a good feeling about it, be clear and say that! That way both sides know this is a potentially awkward intro, but also has the potential of great upside.
3. Now for the introduction email. Don’t rush this step. Too many people just want to get this task off of their to-do list so they flip a 3 sentence email together and CC-fest everyone. Take your time. Write a thoughtful paragraph about the person on each side of the introduction so everyone can see what you’re saying about them, how you feel about them, and why you want to give them relationship value through this introduction.
Hey Taps, I want to introduce you to John. He’s a good friend of mine and we’ve known each other for about 5 years. I love John because he’s such a solid business leader, works tirelessly to build water wells in Zimbabwe for orphan kids, and has an incredible heart. He’s been on a mission to fund a drilling rig in rural Zimbabwe and with your background and expertise of government and private sector relationships, I believe connecting the two of you could produce an incredible partnership moving forward.
Hey John, Taps is such an incredible guy. I met him about 4 months ago at our local entrepreneur event called Pitch Nights. Taps has built a few companies, which I’ll let him tell you more about (here are a few links to his online profiles and companies [insert links]). His heart really seems to be to help other people and he has vast knowledge in bridging relationships. I think he should hear about your water initiative, as well as get to know you. I think you’ll both hit it off nicely.
4. Then, step out of the conversation. Give your blessing on the relationship, then step away and let serendipity and happy feelings carry the new relationship to greater heights. There’s nothing worse than having a relationship leech on the email train, watching and listening to the convo then desperately wanting to be a fly on the wall. Even if you want to be a fly on the wall, don’t! Pretend you have other stuff you need to do. If they directly invite you to come along, then go for it, but otherwise move on down the road. I like to close my intro emails like this:
There you have it, gents! I hope you guys have a lot of fun and enjoy your mutual love for coffee. Keep me posted if I can help in anyway. I look forward to chatting with you both soon. Cheers and have a great week.
Email introductions can be a highlight of someone’s day or just another knee-jerk, delete button reaction. Make your connections count by putting genuine thought behind your future email introductions.
If you'd like another great email conversation trick, you should take a look at the highly efficient move to bcc routine. It's high level, respectful, and keeps the inbox clutter-free.
Also here's a previous article we wrote on introducing yourself directly to a new person over email.
(photo via bruno girin)