The Art of the E-Intro

The internet and tough economy have combined to accelerate our ability and appetite for meeting strangers. Not just random strangers, but people who work at companies we may want to do business with, work with or learn from. We can easily search our contacts to find someone to make that intro, and most people are receptive in a way that was unimaginable only a few years ago.

Sure you can whip together a quick:

 “Hi Bob, allow me to introduce Karen. We had coffee this morning and I think you two would have a lot to talk about.”

If Bob really trusts me and has some time on his hands (ha!), he may reach out to Karen. Otherwise he’s left wondering what the common ground might be.

“Is this Karen person going to try and sell me something? Is this intro work-related, or is Cindy subtly fixing us up?”

A great intro leaves nothing to guesswork and inspires a sense of possibility that makes it impossible to ignore. Here is a (modified) Real Life Example with markers highlighting the key features:

Hi David,

(A) I remember your telling me that if I find good talent to pass them your way. I’d like to introduce you to a colleague of mine, Lori Martin. (B) While she’s been highly successful as a medical equipment sales rep, her real passion is early childhood education. She would love to be selling products that ensure every child is kindergarten ready.  Naturally, I thought of you and your tools. (C) Lori is great at turning cold leads hot, always beats her targets, and shares what works with colleagues so the whole team wins. Sounds like the kind of person you like to work with!

(D) I’ve cc’d Lori here so you each have the others’ information.  Feel free to reach out directly.  Enjoy!


Here’s how the “formula” breaks down:

A. Get their attention in a way that warms them up to what’s coming.

B. Share some context about the people you’re introducing. Be specific enough to intrigue them, but keep it brief for efficiency.

C. Throw in a personal observation about their strengths/experience to solidify the reason to connect.

D. Be clear about how to proceed.

One last tip, for the Subject, make it obvious so they know what the email is about now, and when they hunt for it later. E.g. David Meet Lori

Yes, an intro like that takes some time to put together – possibly as long as 15 – 20 minutes, and it shows. Readers learn important details, know why it’s worth their while and even feel a bit flattered.

Don’t whine about not having the time.  Yes, sometimes when you’ve spoken to both parties you can just say:

“Hi Bob and Karen, by now I’ve mentioned you each to one another. I think you’d enjoy meeting and discussing your mutual interest in in-bound marketing. I’ll now leave it up to you two to connect, enjoy!”

But when it really matters, like making sure a job application or proposal gets read, you truly honor your contact and that relationship by making a special intro. Who knows? Maybe one day they’ll return the favor.

What other tips can you offer on the Art of the E-Intro?


Done? Learning from Biscuits and Resumes

Not much beats a warm, from-scratch biscuit.  My favorite 12-year old can get mighty impatient, doing the “Are They Done Yet” dance in front of the oven.   It’s a delicate, delicious balance.  Pull them too soon and you lose flaky layers to dense dough.  Wait a hair too long and the outside is sawdust dry and crumbly.  With biscuits, perfect does make a difference and the standard for “perfect” is fairly discernable.

That’s not necessarily the case with other creations.  Take resumes for example.  Ask 10 people for input on your resume and you’ll get 12 different ideas.   How do you decide who knows best?  What’s the standard?

A brilliant client once set a goal of getting her resume “80% there.”  She figured 80% was good enough to get her in the door.  Striving for more than that would tether her to wordsmithing for weeks instead of actually meeting people.  Besides, she observed, with a resume you can always modify it for the next person,  so there’s no need to add a bunch of  “perfect” pressure to an already stressful situation.

I’m grappling with the 80% rule now regarding our Daily Debrief App.  Is introducing an app like baking biscuits or writing a resume?  Sure feels like the former when you’re in it, although it’s really the later.  I’d say Eric, Spike and I are at about 70%.  Not ready to submit to the app store, but awfully darn close!

An almost there icon