The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

I just read this great blog post and thought I would share it with you in it’s entirety. Read it in order to upgrade your networking skills to current best practices. Ignore it and run the risk of looking like a rookie, or worst still, frustrating the very people you are trying to help.

I now turn it over to Seth Gold from….

Simple quiz. How many LinkedIn connections do you have?

According to 2014 LinkedIn user survey, 41 percent of LinkedIn users report having 500+ connections, and 15 percent have over 1,000.

A very common mistake with social networking: we add and add connections without knowing the actual context. Hardly anyone knows how to subtract.

People ask others to connect them to people every single day. It brings people together. It strengthens your network.

Email is how most of us communicate with each other in this day and age. It’s an awesome tool. You can start conversation with anyone in the world, without the social cues of an in-person interaction.

So why did some email introductions go downhill (fast!)?

Because we do things that we’d never do in real life.

Ever heard of the story of First Round Capital’s Partner Chris Fralic, who sent 10,000 emails a year for five years? The number went up to 17,000 in 2012.

Yes, Fralic knows everyone and everyone knows him.

But what makes him such a talented super connector?

It’s mastering the art of email intro.

Here are how people like Fralic do it.

1. ALWAYS use the double opt-in intros

Ever sent out an intro email without giving your contact a heads up on why an intro is being made? That’s single opt-in intro.

Don’t be lazy.

Don’t make an intro because it makes you look good. Do it because you genuinely want to help.

Single opt-in intros actually create more work for your contacts. You’re asking them to take care of a baby. Well, that’s not their jobs!

A double opt-in introduction provides context on why it makes sense for them to get to know each other. It shows your respect for their time. Both people are presumably busy, so you want to make it painfully easy for them to take an action.

How do you make a double opt-in introduction? Always ask for both parties’ permissions before firing off the message. It gives people choice to opt-in. It doesn’t put them under any pressure to accept or offer a ‘yes’ right away. After receiving the consent from both parties, you can ‘pitch’ the message to them separately.


Yes, what’s in it for me?

We are self-centered. It’s a simple filter we use to evaluate our environment. In the business world, WIIFM is perhaps the most important question when one is asked to participate in some sort of action.

Know what value your intro can offer and portray it to the contacts. Don’t just say ‘you two should meet’ with stating the ‘why’. This is super important! Only make intros (or try to do so!) when you truly think there’s a mutual benefit, even if that benefit is further down the road.

Explain why you think two people should connect. Is there a specific problem that one or both of them are facing that could be solved by this intro? Or do they share a common goal, value, or business idea that you think they should discuss?

3. Make it PERSONAL

Links to people’s bios can save both parties time from doing some research. But don’t just include a link to each person’s LinkedIn or website. That’s lazy work.

Be personal. Give one or two sentences detailing each person’s most relevant background info. It shows that you’ve done your research and the email is from you, not some automatic machine. Then you can add links to their bios to allow the other to find out more.

What if you don’t know these people well? What’s Google for? Do your homework. It’s important for your recipients to know that you’re writing for thempersonally.

4. Subject line matters

According to Fralic, emails with ‘intro’ in the subject line could get lost. He suggests putting the name of the company or your name in there.

Be creative. Spend a little time to come up with an email title interesting enough to entice people to read.

5. Make your intro easy to read

We all want to avoid sending emails into a black hole.

Since you’ve come up with a good subject line and recipients have opened your email, how do you ensure it gets read?

Everyone enjoys a nicely presented, well-structured email. It’s visually pleasure.

A little presentation goes a long way. Format your email. Bold your message.Underline the key words. Put links in your words, especially if each of these links is 3 line long. Be careful with copy pasting – it can mess up your fonts and make your email look lazy.

6. Be patient, don’t pester

Leave some room for the other person to breathe. If you haven’t heard back after sending your email, don’t try to follow up every single day for seven days straight.

People are busy. Don’t overwhelm them with more emails. Give it 7 working days or even a few weeks to send a follow up. Include the original email with something along the line of “just making sure this wasn’t stuck in your spam folder.”

7. Avoid the endless loop

“How did it go?” After a while it’s best to send a quick to check and see if they’ve connected. If they never did, ask why. Knowing the results of an email intro is really helpful for feedback and learning. You can also find out that you may not want to introduce that person again, regarding whatever happened.

You’re trying to bring people together for a mutual benefit. Think of email introduction as having guests over to your house for a party. You want to show them your hospitality. You go extra miles to make sure they feel comfortable and well-treated.

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