This aims to serve as a master guide on handling receiving an introduction.

Why Intros Work

  • Intros are an extension of credibility and serve as a form of endorsement.
  • The person giving the intro is effectively requesting a juxtaposition of their credibility with the person you were offered an intro to.

Requesting An Intro

  • Make sure you have some reputation of credibility with the person you’re requesting an intro from — no intro is better than a bad intro.
  • Be specific about who you want an intro to and why they’re the right fit for what you’re looking for.
  • Ensure that the person you’re requesting an intro from knows the person you want an intro to — some people are often connected to people they aren’t close to on LinkedIn or other platforms. If so, give them space to back out of the intro.
  • Ensure you’re not over-indexing intros; a good baseline is requesting 2-3 intros/ year.

Before The Intro

Before getting the intro, make sure you check off these boxes -

  • If they’re a VC, I’ve read their fund thesis, and investment preferences (check size, valuation cap, lead preferences, etc). If possible, look over both their & their funds Crunchbase/ Pitchbook.
  • Look over their LinkedIn/ Twitter/ Personal Website
  • Write down what the ideal outcome of the intro

Sending a Forwardable

Here’s a template I’d recommend saving in your email client and using -

Hey [name],

It was great [connecting/reconnecting] with you today <additional context, personalize>. Thanks a ton for agreeing to forward an email to at - I think their experience with < relevant experience> would be an amazing addition to our investor lineup.

Here’s some context to forward along - Hey [introducee],

I’m currently building [company w/ website hyperlinked], [a one liner] and am actively kicking off a [amount being raised & valuation raise] ([link to deck]).

Here's a quick TL;DR of where we are at now -

  • Give 2-3 bullet points about the progress explaining
    • the problem
    • the solution
    • your differentiation
    • and traction
    • your background (previous companies, school, etc)

I would love to chat sometime next week or two if this is a fit. Feel free to send over some times which work or grab a time from [booking link].

This template is a good boilerplate to start but personalisation matters. Talk specifically about why and any common threads you may have (grew up in the same city, started your career at the same company, etc).

This template is easy to modify for other use cases. For example, for job hunting, your email can look something to the tune of -

Hey Pam,

It was great reconnecting with you last week at Dwight's house and thanks a ton for agreeing to forward an email to Aditya at Staples.

Here’s some context to forward along -

Hey Aditya, A pleasure to meet you - I’m looking to transition out of my role at Dunder Mifflin. I heard Staples had a few roles I might be a fit for and I thought I would reach out and have a quick chat.

A quick TL;DR of my background -

Most recently I served as the Regional Manager at the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin, overseeing sales operations and team management. Before that, I also was the Regional Director in Charge of Sales and a Salesman at DM (joint the company straight of out Cornell!)

I would love to chat sometime in the coming week or two if this is a fit. Feel free to send over some times that work or grab a time from calendly.com/narddog.

Appreciate your time,

Andy Bernard

After you send a forwardable, the person you’ve requested the intro from is going to forward your request along to the person you want to chat with.

Don’t be impatient and follow up every few days, it often becomes incredibly annoying and there’s not much the person giving the intro can do about it. I recommend nudging the person you’re requesting the intro from in 3-4 weeks if you haven’t heard back from them.

If your introduction has already been forwarded, do not reach out to the other person directly. Following the procedure and respecting the intermediary will help maintain a good relationship and increase the likelihood of a successful introduction.

After The Intro Goes Through

If the other person, accepts the intro, they’d probably put the both of you on an email thread together (though in off changes, they might do it over iMessage, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, etc).

It’s common courtesy to move the person who made the introduction to BCC so that they aren’t unnecessarily in the loop throughout the conversation.

The usual curtsey is that you as the person who requested the intro should email first but it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, just a recommendation.

Thank you for the introduction [name], moving you to BCC to spare your inbox.

Hey [intro],

A pleasure to meet you and thanks for taking the time out to chat.

As I mentioned, we/ I'm building [company], a [one liner] with <social proof/ traction>.

We'd love for you to join us as investors alongside [investor 1], [investor 2] and other great investors in our round.

Feel free to send over some times that work or grab a time from calendly.com/narddog.

While I’m not a huge fan of general booking links, quite a lot of my colleagues have been huge proponents for how much simpler including times that work for you/ a link makes it, I’d recommend doing it since it removes quite a lot of back and forth from the equation.

If the person gets back to you with something to the tune of " time works for me", it’s a convention to send them a calendar invite. Busy people will often forget about something/ get booked up incredibly fast and something might slip through the cracks. Getting on their calendar is a great mechanism for making sure you’re not missing out.

The introducer is putting their credibility on the line by facilitating this connection, effectively endorsing you to the other party. It’s essential to honour this trust by handling the introduction professionally and respectfully.

Post The Call

  • Update the introducer: Keep the introducer informed about significant developments resulting from the introduction. This shows appreciation and keeps them in the loop.
  • Follow up and stay in touch: Follow up in ~24 hours to express your appreciation and recap key points. Stay in touch periodically to nurture the relationship and keep the connection active.
  • Make notes: I also highly recommend making notes from your meeting (what I like to do is verbally recap the contents of the meeting and use my phone to record and transcribe those).

The TL;DR/ Golden Rules

  • An intro is the credibility of credibility. Don’t violate it.
  • Send a personalized forwardable with a specific ask.
  • If someone offers an intro, take them up as soon as possible.
  • If an intro is time-sensitive - convey the timeline.
  • Always double opt-in. Never give one side the other’s info without consent.
  • If someone has sent a forwardable along, do NOT contact the other person directly.
  • Ideally suggest times that work/ include a booking link with the forwardable.
  • Immediately BCC the introducer in the first response to the intro.