AJ co-founded TrendKite in 2012 and oversees all aspects of the organization’s sales operations.
Sending a Successful Introduction Email
Last year, as I was wrapping up my time with my previous employer, I received a gut-wrenching piece of feedback from my manager; he thought I was really introverted at events with larger groups of people and even went so far as to say I was being very “hermit like”.
Certainly not the most complimentary thing someone could say and really took me back. I’ve always thought of myself as at least somewhat extroverted (my Myers-Brigg score was close on E/I, but it did fall on the extrovert side), but a hermit?? Ouch.
I, like many people, hated the idea of traditional “networking”. Forced networking at events just wasn’t what interested me, and I had a lot of negative ideas about how it was supposed to be done.
I shared this feedback with a close friend and he suggested I pick up a book called “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. It was a great read, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to meet new like-minded professionals outside of a professional setting.
A chapter of the book I found really interesting was on email introductions. Over the last year, the ability to write a simple email intro has been really powerful. That said, I see a lot of people struggle with it, and its probably just because they haven’t received feedback on how to write a good one. Here is how you do it with an included example of each (some names changed):
Make it short
If the two people you are connecting are close contacts, make the intro very short. It will be very warm on both sides, and there will be mutual respect between the parties; don’t overcomplicate it. If you don’t know one of the connections really well, ask the person that wants the intro to forward you a blurb to make sure the expectation is clearly defined. Include the blurb underneath your email instead of incorporating it into the email body itself.
My good friend Andy Wolfe recently wrote one:
Hey Dan - I'd like to formally introduce you to my friend AJ who's a founder @ TrendKite. Aside from being an old friend, AJ was in the DreamIt incubator, and Silverton funded his company. They do PR analytics, and Mike most recently suggested AJ meet you since you're the man :).
Make it exciting
A friend of mine, Josh Jones-Dilworth, had probably the best line in any intro I’ve encountered: “please go an extra mile to do well by each other no matter how the relationship unfolds — you are both top 5% people and deserving of whatever ‘above and beyond’ you can provide each other.” Josh knows a lot of people, and I have no idea if this is true or not, but it's really flattering and just made me feel a little bit special, and really that’s all it takes. Do go that extra mile when you make an intro.
SUBJECT: AJ, meet Amy and vice versa
Make it mutual
What is each party getting out of this meeting? Sure, occasionally one person has a vested interest in pitching something, but that’s to be expected. Even if I am asking someone to intro me for an opportunity to pitch TrendKite, I always let them know I'm looking for feedback and think they’d be a great person to provide it. Because our product is so new and fresh, the person I'm chatting with will not be wasting their time. If it has nothing to do with pitching TrendKite, I’ll usually say that many others have mentioned their name in conversation as someone I should connect with (true) and that we should meet.
Email I sent recently to a close friend of mine asking for an intro:
SUBJECT: Intro to (Company Removed)
TrendKite is an Austin based startup that was a 2013 DreamIt company. We were founded to provide a better, faster way to consume news and a more transparent way to measure it’s impact. We work with companies like (company removed) to help them track and analyze overall press coverage, analyze industry trends, and also to help them explore new market opportunities.
Don’t treat intros like favors
I promise you, no one is keeping count. Don’t worry about how busy that person is or that they are a super important and probably “get too many intros already”. Let the person receiving the intro email decide whether or not they want to respond.
If you asked someone for an introduction and they haven’t delivered, don’t hesitate to ask them about it. David Bookspan drilled this one into our heads during DreamIt.
My follow-up to David during DreamIt:
Also, if you were the person being introduced, always bcc and thank them in your response.
Overall, as I’ve said, I’ve been able to meet some wonderful people in Austin through simply asking for an intro and following the steps above. Feel free to reach out with questions - email@example.com