June 25, 2013

How-to: Make the Best Email Introductions (Part 2)


Drafting a Brilliant Introduction: The Basics

Here's the rule of thumb: The more thoughtful the introduction is, the better your response will be. As we discussed before, this will increase your chances of grabbing their attention, especially if the introduction isn't solicited.

In this section, we'll discuss what makes good introduction text. The good thing is Contactually makes it easy for you because our platform offers these suggestions in a familiar way. Basically, it's designed with the way we perform email introductions in mind.

Contactually makes this process easier, which, hopefully, will result in you ramping up making your introductions. I firmly believe this is one of the best things you can do to get value out of your network. One of the most important things you'll need to understand is the content of your emails, which we'll discuss further below.

Email content for introduction emails

First, make a short statement about why the two people you plan to introduce are relevant to one another. We'll call this statement the introduction text. There are three elements that make good introduction text:

    1. 1. Who is the person to you? How would you describe your relationship?

    1. 2. What makes them relevant?

    1. 3. Why do you like them? What makes this a good introduction?

Our suggestion is to hit all three elements. Let's go into details here:

[hs_action id="3345, 3344, 3343, 3339"]

Who is the person to you?

Write a simple description of this person including their title, their company name and some professional background. Also describe your relationship with them. This can include how you met or anything that describes your relationship in an intriguing way If you feel that it adds to the experience.

What makes them relevant?

You can add a statement of their expertise or what they are really good at in this section. This component may need to be changed or updated for each recipient. However, you may also find that you introduce the same person to others frequently for the same reasons. If you do, save the text as a note in the contact's profile.

Why do you like them?

Add a positive comment about the expected experience in meeting that person -- in short, something encouraging. It's important to make a statement about something you feel is genuinely true and that you'd be willing to stand by if you were asked in person. Being genuine in NRM is so important.

Hone your skills by writing comments unique to that person and conjure images in the heads of your audience if possible. Instead of saying "He is a great guy," you can say "What I like most about Jim is that he always has intriguing perspectives when I face challenges. He often comes to mind as a good person to ask for advice when I'm struggling."

Why is this a good idea? First, you're giving the introduction a positive spin, which is very attractive. In addition, the person you're talking about will get to read it, and who doesn't like to read something genuinely positive about themselves? It's especially nice because it's not explicitly directed towards them, but rather at a third party.

By doing this, you give a subtle endorsement that goes a long way for a person's ability to win business, especially if it is related to a referral. Feel free to take this out of the online world and deploy it into the real world as it is absolutely powerful.

Let's take a look at some examples:

    • Ted is a Partner at Fenwick and West, focusing on the Tech start-up and venture capital industry. His clients include Facebook, Twitter and Dropbox. Not only is he incredibly smart and fast on his feet, he also will always aim to make time for you if you are in a bind despite the fact that he is one of the busiest guys I know. It shows that he cares about relationships and I am glad to have him as a friend. I hope you will too.

    • Patrick is the CEO of Mindmavin, a company that focuses on helping deliver greater experiences to their network and generate more referrals from people they know. Patrick is the best expert I know when it comes to professional networking and experience based sales. He and I met while working together at LinkedIn and I am sure you will enjoy meeting him.

    • Zvi is the CEO of Contactually, a relationship marketing platform that allows you to grow your business by regularly staying in touch with the people that matter most. Since he is amazingly plugged into the DC Tech scene, I believe he will be very helpful to you. What I like most about Zvi is that really cares about people and always is happy to assist willingly.

The importance of Brevity

Make it short. Some may have a tendency to write long descriptions about people because they're so fond of them. While I understand that, I'd still keep in mind that people are busy and already overloaded with information. Make sure you're not sending too many "empty calories." People pay premium for brevity these days and my advice is to try to keep it to three to four lines.

Since you're investing time to find out why you like a specific person and why they are relevant to other people in your network, you might as well try to leverage your findings moving forward. For example, you can customize your introduction text and turn it into a recommendation on LinkedIn. You're then making a public statement that most likely will result into deepening your relationship with that person.

Let us know how your introduction making efforts are going in the comments or by tweeting at us @Contactually.