The Virtual Handshake: Making and Taking Email Introductions

handshake © by buddawiggi (2003)

I get asked to connect people all the time. I also ask others to connect me to people every single day. Introductions are an incredibly powerful way to get to know people who can help you with your business or in your personal life. It’s also great to be able to give an introduction to two people who will mutually benefit from knowing each other. Email introductions are the most common intros these days, so it’s important to know how to both introduce two people and respond to introductions, just like a virtual handshake.

Introducing Two People

I like to keep it really simple.  Here’s a mock introduction between my business partner Jesse Davis and our friend/Madison entrepreneur, Steve Faulkner of Real Time Txts.

To: Jesse Davis, Steve Faulkner

From: Nathan Lustig

Subject: Introducing You

Jesse, meet Steve Faulkner. Steve is, among other entrepreneurial endeavors, the founder of Real Time Txts, a service that texts subscribers free drink offers at local bars in real time. He also wrote an awesome article about Madison entrepreneurship that was featured in Techcrunch.

Steve, meet Jesse Davis. Jesse is the cofounder of Entrustet, a website that allows you to decide if you’d like your digital assets transferred to heirs or deleted when you die. He is also active in the Madison startup scene and Capital Entrepreneurs and writes a great entrepreneurship blog. Jesse is interested in connecting with you to see if there is a potential partnership for Real Time Txts and Entrustet.

I wanted to connect you guys so you could figure out how to make it happen. I’ll let you take it from here.

Thanks,
Nathan

Key Points to Remember

  1. Use the format above to introduce both people to each other
  2. Include links to each person’s business, unless the person is well known
  3. Include a sentence at the end to say why you’re connecting both people to each other
  4. Include a sentence that tells the two people you’ve just introduced that it’s up to them to take it further

Responding to an Introduction

Responding is fairly straight forward. Click "reply all" and thank the introducer for making the intro. Introduce yourself to the other person and go from there. It’s important to include the introducer in the first reply so that they know that you’ve actually responded. If I’ve taken the time to introduce two people, I want to know that they’ve actually taken the next step to connect. After the first email, feel free to leave the introducer off further conversations. Here’s a sample reply:

To: Jesse Davis, Nathan Lustig

From: Steve Faulkner

Nathan, Thanks for intro.

Jesse, many people have told me that we should meet as well. As Nate said, I’m the founder of Real Time Txts, a service that sends people texts about free drinks at Madison area bars. Do you have some time this week to chat via phone or meet up for coffee so we can discuss a potential partnership?

Thanks,

Steve

Just because an introduction hasn't happened in person yet doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen at all. Embrace the email introduction; virtually shake hands and let the partnerships begin!

Nathan Lustig, from Madison, WI, is the cofounder of Entrustet, a website that helps people access, transfer and delete online accounts when someone passes away. He is a member of The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business's development and growth.

About Nathan Lustig

Nathan Lustig, a serial entrepreneur from Madison, WI, is the cofounder of Entrustet, a website that helps people access, transfer and delete online accounts when someone dies. Entrustet, recently acquired by a European competitor, is Lustig's second company to be acquired.

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