The Art of the Introduction

04/03/2017

by Firestorm

The Art of the Introduction

Have you ever struggled with the best way to make an introduction between two people?

Or perhaps you were looking forward to being introduced to someone only to be totally disappointed with the introducer’s lack of enthusiasm, attention to detail in the intro or even worse, their lack of a relationship with the people they were introducing?

Well, this post should help assuage your desire for more clarity in both of the aforementioned situations. 

Are We There Yet

First of all, let’s make sure you are at the correct juncture for either making or receiving an introduction.

If you are the middle man, or the introducer, do you know both parties well enough to make the intro? Will your introduction carry any weight or is it the equivalent of the recipients’ cold calling each other? Also, do you trust the parties to follow up, to treat the other with respect and to do an amazing job if they were to do business together? If not, STOP! Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200! 

If you are the recipient of an introduction, do you feel like you have a good relationship with the introducer? Will you go out of your way to make time for their contact? After all, the way you act will ultimately reflect on them as they are vouching for you.

Make the Intro

If you’ve passed the first litmus test then you may proceed to the next step, which is making the introduction. A couple of ground rules before we continue though:

  1. Nobody likes to be sold, or to be put in a position where they feel they are being set up to be sold. I try my best to make both parties feel like I am simply making the intro and whether or not they wind up doing any business or not, is entirely up to them. If the goal is to introduce two parties that will only be good partners, I make sure to say that as well.
  2. Nobody likes to have their time wasted, so put some context behind the intro. Tell people why you think they should meet. 
  3. If you are making an introduction, copy both people on it and include their contact information.

The following is a list of ways to make an introduction in order of preference starting with the most preferable.

  1. The in-person introduction. Schedule a lunch, a coffee, a happy hour or invite them to join you for a round of golf. The point is you are facilitating an in-person introduction where both parties can meet in a low-pressure environment. It is not dissimilar to inviting your single friends, that just have to meet, out to dinner with you and your significant other, although it should be much less awkward for them! 
  2. The email introduction WITH a heads-up phone call to both parties. This is a great way to facilitate an intro if you don’t have the time to go out with them, or perhaps if it is a time-sensitive intro where they need to meet quickly. The first step is to make a phone call to both parties and let them know that you will be making an introduction shortly via email. You can give a little background and explain the reasons for making the intro. After you have completed the phone calls, follow up with an email reiterating what you said on the phone. Be sure to include contact information for both parties. 
  3. Just the email intro. I feel like this one is perhaps the most common. I know I do a ton of this. It’s quick and easy and can still be very effective. I’m including an outline of what I like to use when I make an intro below. Please feel free to use this and edit as you see fit.
  4. Just giving contact info to a person and telling them to call. Unfortunately, I feel like way too many people use this approach. My impression when this happens is that the person “making the intro” doesn’t have that great of a relationship with the recipients. Many times this winds up just being a cold call.

Email Intro Template (CC both parties):

(Connections Name),

Hello, I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to make a quick introduction to a business acquaintance of mine, Philip Pelto. Philip runs a B2B networking company called Firestorm®. Here's a link to his LinkedIn profile. https://www.linkedin.com/in/philippelto  I'm not sure if the two of you could ever do any business together but you are both great people and I thought the two of you should know each other.

Philip,

Hey, great to see you last week at the Firestorm event. I wanted to introduce you to (Connections Name). (Name) is in the (______________) business and is doing some great things! Here is a link to (his/her) LinkedIn profile. (Insert link to LinkedIn Profile) As I mentioned above, I'm not sure if you guys could ever do any business but you should definitely know one another. 

I'll let the two of you take it from here. Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a great rest of the week!

Person 1 Contact Info

Person 2 Contact Info

(Insert Email Signature)

Some Tips if you are the Recipient:

If you are looking to ask someone for an introduction to one of their contacts, and you would like to ensure that they do a good job of making the introduction then here are a couple of ideas for you.

  1. Send them a link to this article or VIDEO and ask them to read it first! : )
  2. When you ask them for the introduction, say that you realize they are busy and would like to make it as easy for them as possible to make the intro. Therefore, you have written the introduction for them. You can send them your version of the above email intro template and ask them to simply paste it into an email and CC both you and the other recipient. Voilá!
  3. Once you receive an introduction please be sure to promptly reply, thanking the introducer for the intro and letting the other recipient know that you are looking forward to meeting them. Take the initiative to make the next step and schedule a meeting.

Closing Thoughts:

Hopefully you find these tips helpful in making and asking for introductions. As the title mentions, this is an art and as such it is a constantly evolving process. With new technology and ways to connect there will always be new things to consider. However, I still believe that the in-person relationship building practices and in-person introductions will remain the most effective and powerful ways to grow your business. I’d love to hear your thoughts, your challenges and your successes in the comments below!! Cheers!

Philip Pelto is Chief Connection Officer of MyFirestorm, LLC a business to business networking organization. Firestorm® promotes business relationship building by organizing peer meetings, educational and social events. You can find more info on Firestorm® here: http://myfirestorm.com

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