When approaching an “intro” – someone who has been introduced to you virtually or in person by a mutual connection – you put the name of your friend or peer on the line as well as your own. A bad first impression not only ruins your chances of capitalizing on this connection, but it also puts your friend in a difficult position as inappropriate behavior reflects poorly on them as well.
Follow these simple tips to ensure that you make the most of this important networking opportunity and that contacts continue intro-ing you to their networks.
1.“Be proactive– don’t wait for the other party to reach out. Once you’ve been introduced, take the lead on it.” Respond within 24 hours with a meeting time.
2. Research the person you’re contacting. You should know information about the person or firm you’re interested in – the founder, previous investments, vision, etc. Utilize LinkedIn to look them up and connect. Also, be aware that they will look you up so keep your profile clean and informative to enhance your networking.
3. Don’t seem entitled; be humble and professional. “Displaying an inflated ego can hurt your first impression and reputation. Even if you have the best education and the most exciting idea, you should let them speak for themselves. Focus on effectively communicating the benefits you offer, and not just bragging.”
4. Not sure the appropriate behavior? Ask your colleague. Put yourself in your intro-er shoes – keep in mind that the person doing the intro for you is putting her/his reputation on the line, so if you’re not sure about when, how, or what to say or do, ask them.
5. “Get to the point and keep it short.” Remember your goal. Do not write a long email explaining your background and your idea. Introduce yourself, be polite, add relevant links, and include a call for action – say you want to meet or want information, etc. People won’t read or respond to floods of unnecessary information.
6. Don’t make English mistakes and don’t get the person’s name wrong! Make sure there are absolutely no typos’ misspelling, etc. Proofread!
7. “Don’t suggest meeting at your location or convenience.” Ask him/her where is convenient to meet. You are asking for a favor. Do suggest a specific meeting time. This makes the person check his/her calendar, and if they aren’t free they’ll suggest another time. It will speed up the process to establish a meeting rather than asking vaguely to meet in the next few days/weeks.
8. “Read what the other person is writing and be reasonable.” If the other person responds and can’t meet in the timeframe you suggested, reply that you understand and would love to meet when he/she is available. “You wouldn’t give an hour of your time on your yearly vacation to someone whom you never met.”
9. “Don’t bombard the colleague who introduced you with dozens of emails.” After the initial connection, remove them from the email chain or move them to BCC. Keep them updated but be conscious and respectful of how much they would like to be in the loop.
10. Wait at least 2-3 days to follow up on an unanswered email. No intro works for you!
11. Last tip; always thank your colleague for the intro. Show your appreciation for his/her help and hope they will help you again the next time you ask 🙂
*This post was writing by Leetal Oknin & Tair Kowalsky from SigmaLabs Accelerator with the help of Gal Avital, Singtel Innov8 VC, Lia Cromwell, UpWest Labs, Tal Tochner, PICO Venture Partners, Dotan Bar Noy, CEO at ForceNock, and Dan Bendler, CEO at Shopic. Thank you all for your insights!