What You Need to Know
- Mutual goodness is not usually enough to bind two strangers together.
- Giving a reason for offering an introduction can make the introduction more effective.
- Circling back to see what happened will increase the odds that your intro will help.
Pretty basic stuff, I know. You’re probably thinking you introduce people through email all the time. Well, there is an intro … and then there is an intro!
Here are best practices to help you make (and receive!) more and better introductions.
1. Contact the parties first.
When I am making an intro, I will often contact Party A and Party B (separately) to ensure that the introduction I’m considering makes sense and is welcomed. Have you ever received an intro to someone, and it puts you on the spot? We’re having more meetings than ever since most meetings are still online. The last thing you want to do is make an intro that does not provide value (at least potentially) for both parties. Remember, you’re basing the introduction on your relationship with either one or both of the parties.
2. Be clear about why you are making the intro.
Have you ever received the “good guys” intro? (Or “great ladies” intro?) ‘I’m introducing you to one another because you’re both good guys and would benefit from knowing one another.’ This general approach to making an introduction may not be the best use of time for anyone. Think strategy! Being a great connector doesn’t mean you simply connect people you know to one another for the sake of it. Be clear about your strategy and why an introduction makes sense. If you’re not sure, see above!
3. Provide background information.
Supplying information about business people is as easy as ever. All you need to do is add a link to their profile on LinkedIn. You can even provide the introduction through LinkedIn. A challenge with LinkedIn intros is that they’re not always viewed or viewed in a timely manner. Some people are always focused on LinkedIn communication while others are not. This may be situational depending on LinkedIn usage. As you’re contacting the parties ahead of time, you might ask if they prefer an email or LinkedIn introduction. If you ask the right question, you get the right answer.
4. Personally endorse.
Mention why you think the person or people are awesome sauce. Are they part of your networking group? Are they a client? Brother-in-law? Have they established an important niche that makes the introduction more relevant? If you can share some kind words about those you are introducing as appropriate, you will add a personal touch that is appreciated and won’t be forgotten.
5. Follow up.
This isn’t a must, but it is a nice touch. You might want to write down who you’re introducing and why. This way, you can circle back over the next week and ask about the introduction. Was the intro well-received? Will there be a next step? Is there anything you can do to support the intro? If Party B has not yet responded to Party A, you may need to intervene and determine why. Again, you are the one with the more established relationship with at least one of the parties so your “check in” should carry some weight.