Welcome to a once-a-month free edition of the Hatchet. We share weekly career advice for new managers working at fast-growing companies, directly to your email inbox.
Interested in receiving these stories too? Sign up here.
Be great at giving and receiving introductions
Introductions are a powerful tool for connecting with someone outside of your current network. Let’s start with why they work.
Say my friend Bob asks me if he can introduce his friend Amelia, who wants to contact me for business reasons. Amelia could've tried cold emailing me herself, but I am more likely to take Bob's request seriously because:
Bob is my friend and I’ll feel inclined to do him a favour by accepting the request and giving it serious thought
Bob is a standup guy and I’ll assume Amelia has his seal of approval or else he wouldn’t be introducing her
Depending on the reason for the introduction (is Amelia looking to apply for a vacancy in my team? Is she a vendor I’m in the market for?) there’s a third reason I might be inclined to take the intro serious:
I’m a busy man and Bob just gave me an easy way to skip my own due diligence process by offering me a recommendation. Imagine receiving 100+ applications for a new position and here's Bob telling you to consider Amelia.
Clear story right? Introductions work.
How to ask for an introduction?
Time is a valuable currency. If you’re going to ask someone to spend some of theirs on helping you, it makes sense to handle theirs with respect.
That starts by following some basic email introduction etiquette.
1. Ask for introductions by sending a forwardable email
You want to aim for a double opt-in introduction. A double opt-in is when the person introducing you forwards your request first in order to verify whether the other person is interested in receiving an introduction at all.
The lesser alternative is a single opt-in: the introducer just puts everyone in CC and introduces them to each other. That's like bringing a plus one to a wedding unannounced. It might turn out awkward for everyone.
Make sure you draft a forwardable email that outlines why you'd like the introduction and what value you can provide the person you're looking to connect with.
Would you be willing to introduce me to Wytze?
I know he started a publication recently and we have a free CRM tool that allows independent writers to grow their subscriber base by managing all their subscribers from one convenient dashboard.
Our current clients include Company A, Company B and Company C. I think our solution would be a great fit for the Hatchet.
Feel free to forward this email.
2. Follow-up swiftly once you've been introduced
Once you've received the introduction you've been waiting for, respond quickly and put the person who introduced you in BCC. Bob's part is done here, so he shouldn't need to receive more emails of you trying to find a suitable moment to meet.
Give extra information where needed and re-iterate why you want to meet: what is it that you hope the other person can do for you?
Suggest three dates and times to meet up at their office, so they can just pick one.
Bob, thanks for the intro (moved you to BCC)
Congratulations on the Hatchet.
I run a small company that has built a free CRM tool for independent writers like yourself to manage their subscriber base. I'd love to show it to you to see if it's anything you'd be interested in using.
Do you have time for a 15-minute demo next week at your office?
Here's three options I'm available:
Send a meeting invite over email. Stick to just 15 or 30 minutes if you can, and be on time. Keeping the pleasantries short (e.g. talking about the weather) as getting straight to the point is actually a way of being respectful of someone else's time.
3. Double follow-up after your meeting
Assuming you had a fruitful meeting it's wise to follow up within a day. You'll still be top-of-mind within 24 hours, but waiting too long will undo that for you.
Don't forget to let the person that introduced you know how it went. If the initial meeting results in a success further down the line, it's also worth following up with your introducer weeks or months later to inform them. They'll appreciate it.
Sending you a short thank-you note for that introduction to Wytze last month. He's now a happy customer of our CRM software.
Be a great person to meet with, and you’ll get the greatest meetings.