There are effective practices when asking for email introduction that respect the time and circumstance of all parties. I’ve really come to appreciate these and wish more people approached introduction requests this way.
Here’s how I approach asking for an email introduction:
Step 1: Preliminary Request for An Introduction
You’ve identified that someone in your network is connected to the person you’re trying to reach. Send them a brief preliminary intro request to gauge the strength of their relationship and willingness to connect. An example script:
I was looking to get introduced to Johnny Dealmaker from Project X and saw you were connected to him. Not sure how well you’re connected to him, but if the relationship is strong, I’d really appreciate an intro to chat about ways to work with my Project Y. Please let me know if you feel comfortable doing this and I’ll forward over a proper request for introduction that you can forward to him.
Key elements of this email:
The Ask – “I was looking to get introduced to Johnny Dealmaker from Project X and saw you were connected to him”
If you’re asking for an introduction, skip the dog and pony show and ask for it in the first 2 sentences. A clear understanding of how someone can help is always appreciated.
Consideration of the Connecting Parties Relationship – “If the relationship is strong; Please let me know if you feel comfortable doing this”
As the person being asked for an intro, I never like to make introductions when I don’t know if both parties will benefit.
There are people that I’ve met for 48 seconds at a networking event who connected with me on LinkedIn. When someone asks to be introduced to these people, I lack the context to asess how mutually beneficial an introduction will be. As a result, I don’t feel comfortable making introductions to them.
Alternatively, maybe I do know them well, but I just had an awkward interaction with them. The last thing I feel like doing is emailing them for an intro request.
The bottom line is I appreciate when someone acknowledges that not all connections are people I feel comfortable making an introduction to. Framing the request with this in mind makes the ask a whole lot more manageable and is just a courteous practice.
The Why – “I’d really appreciate an intro to chat about ways to work with Project Y”
The why gives me the ability to determine whether both parties will benefit. Everyone has demands on their time, so its important as a brokering party to make sure you’re adding value when connecting someone.
Make It Easy for the Connecting Party – “I’ll forward over a proper request for introduction that you can forward to him.”
The connecting party is doing you a favor by making an introduction. The least you can do is make it as easy as possible for them to do this. Making them formulate in their own words why they’re connecting you guys requires effort. Sending something that they can forward along with appropriate context limits the work.
Step 2: Proper Request For An Introduction
After you’ve got confirmation that the connecting party feels comfortable making an introduction, it’s time for the proper request for an introduction. This email contains similar elements to the first one, but with some additional context because it will be forwarded to your target. An example script :
Was hoping that you might be able to introduce me to Johnny Dealmaker at Project X?
I wanted to connect with him because our email list targets a similar demographic with limited overlap. Seeing as our products are non-competitive, I wanted to touch base to see if he was up for brainstorming ways to leverage our existing user bases to grow both of our lists.
We did this with Company R in the past, and both parties received a 15% lift in new subscribers.
Any help is much appreciated.
Explicit Ask – This indicates to the target that someone approached them about connecting.
Compelling Context Why – Here you should expand upon why this person should spend time connecting with you. This serves to legitimize the ask from the connecting party and provides context for the target to assess whether connecting is worthwhile. Your goal is to put your best foot forward in a concise manner.
Strengthening Example – I think it’s always effective to mention a past success or current partner. It provides credibility. In an era of cyborg spam filters, this is very important even when an introduction brokers an interaction.
Appreciation – Again this person is doing you a favor.
At this point, the hope is that the target indicates they’re interested in connecting and you’re mutual connection proceeds to make the introduction.
I like this methodology because it respects the time and circumstances of all parties. Because you’ve given each party the option to opt in, obligatory feelings are limited (to the extent they can be). This makes for a better conversation with the target and relationship with the person you’re asking an introduction from.
*If you’ve pulled the ol shotgun intro on me or asked me for an introduction with little to no context, don’t feel bad! I simply thought I’d share what I find to be a more effective practice for everyone involved. Big ups to Kenny Herman for helpen me tighten up this practice by teaching me how to ask for an email introduction when I started at SP.
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