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The Perfect Introduction Email to New Consulting Prospects

Clients and friends are great, but sometimes their greatness could be improved a tad. For instance, when they’re sending an email (or text message) introducing you to a new contact—Peach McPinecone—who could potentially become a client of your consulting firm.

Peach is CEO of Poptaters, the manufacturer of something even better than tater tots (as if that were possible), and she needs your help. But she doesn’t know you. Yet. That’s where the introduction comes in.

Whoa, doggie. Let’s back up a step. Where did this potential new consulting prospect come from?

Her name surfaced from Biff, your client who recently attended the Potato Extruders Association conference. You asked Biff who he met there that was intriguing or shaking things up. (See this post, to learn more about finding hot prospects.)

When you ask Biff to introduce you to Peach, he agrees. However, if you let Biff draft his own introduction email, he’s likely to pen something tepid and uninspiring… if he drafts anything at all. There’s a good chance Biff’s promised introduction won’t materialize unless you make it easier for him than ordering a side of fries.

That’s why you offer to write the introduction email for Biff.

The perfect introduction email to new contacts for your consulting firm exhibits three attributes:

  1. It’s super short
  2. It’s enthusiastic
  3. It endorses you

By those standards, the ideal introduction may sound like, “Peach, you’ve got to meet Darwin. He’s my key to success.” Alas, that may be slightly too short and Biff may not agree to send it.

Let’s expand the message slightly, including the three attributes above and adding just the right dose of flattering editorial.

Below is an example of a perfect introduction email.

Hi Peach and Darwin.

Very quick introduction to two people who should know each other.

Peach, Darwin consults for the potato-goods industry. He helped with our successful launch of the Potato Trebuchet last year, and I’m a diehard fan of his writing on spud dynamics.

Darwin, Peach is CEO of Poptaters, and has been mashing the competition. She presented a session at the PEA conference and I was incredibly impressed.

I’m positive you’ll enjoy chatting with each other. Email addresses are above. Take it from here and build a high-value relationship.

-Biff

That’s it. Under 100 words and it works 100% of the time. All you need to do is give it to Biff to send out, then follow up.

Has writing an introduction email for your contact worked for you?


8 Comments
  1. Catrin
    March 14, 2018 at 11:13 am Reply

    Thanks, David. We could have used that 3 months ago. I think writing a draft for them is a great idea. It doesn’t just provide them with the right language that furthers the objective much faster, it also has a great side benefit in saving them some time, so they don’t have to think about it (right-side up).

    Do you think if this was a phone introduction, it would go similarly? More importantly, if the introduction was to take place via phone, do you recommend to connect with the mutual connection first to hash out how to do it, or would you just let them run with it and hope for the best?

  2. David A. Fields
    March 14, 2018 at 11:29 am Reply

    You’re right, Catrin, providing the letter serves multiple purposes. It ensures the introduction will be powerful, it increases the likelihood that the introduction occurs, and it’s one more way to grab some share of mind.

    If a client tells you he’ll make an introduction by phone, your best bet is to remind him of your Fishing Line. The Fishing Line is designed to be easily remembered and relayed by someone else. If you want, you could also ask whether he’d like a two-sentence summary. Other than that, make sure you know when the intro will occur, so you can follow up.

  3. steven feinberg
    March 14, 2018 at 4:19 pm Reply

    Hi David… this is excellent and i’ve used a version of this…

    My question is about when The Referral Source (an exec) says they will love to make referrals and they will look through their database…then they don’t do it…i know they are busy, who isn’t… how do you prompt them without being a nag or going to the well too many times…

    All the best

    – Steven

    • David A. Fields
      March 14, 2018 at 5:25 pm Reply

      Steven, your example is exactly why it’s so important to make your referral request in person or on the phone and to not let them get away with an “I’ll do it later” response. Do it there and then. It only takes a minute to think of someone interesting!

  4. Sandor Katz
    March 14, 2018 at 6:38 pm Reply

    Great suggestion David.

    I’ve been on the receiving end of this type of introduction a few times, and love your powerful opening. It’s positioned with the best intentions and as a win-win, and that’s what it is!

    If the prospect agrees to meet, a quick thank you note to the person who sent the introductory letter would be a nice touch.

    Thank you for the idea!

    • David A. Fields
      March 15, 2018 at 10:55 am Reply

      Excellent point, Sandy. A thank-you to the person who introduced you is good form. A personal, hand-written thank you would be an especially nice touch… unless, as happens with me, they always end up with chocolate smudges on them.

  5. Abby Donnelly
    April 11, 2018 at 9:16 am Reply

    David –

    I have been networking and making effective professional introductions for many years and the approach you outlined comes with some significant risks. I recommend a different approach.

    RISKS: By introducing Darwin and Peach at the same time — in the same email, Biff has potentially put Peach in a very awkward position. If she does not want to meet Darwin – does not think he can help her, does not have time right now, whatever her reason, she has to figure out how to both gracefully turn the intro down without damaging her relationship with Biff (by in effect rejecting him and his overture, and/or possibly embarrassing him in the process), AND without sending a rejection message to Darwin (who she doesn’t know at all but doesn’t want to meet right now – much less have to take the initiative on a meeting she doesn’t want to have). No matter how well she tries to handle it, her actions still might embarrass/reject Biff, and harm any future relationship for Darwin. If she can’t / won’t turn it down, she may feel ‘forced’ to take a meeting she doesn’t want to have and feel resentful of Biff.

    MY EXPERIENCE: I have been the recipient of many of these from very well-meaning people. In fact, because I do so much networking, I receive an average of 5 of these letters each week suggesting I meet with someone. It’s hard to fit them al in and still run a business and it’s awkward to turn them down gracefully.

    RECOMMENDATION: Biff still sends a note crafted by Darwin to Peach BUT – the note only goes to Peach and it is a request to Peach asking whether she would be ‘willing to meet with Darwin’. It includes the written endorsement about Darwin and WHY you thought it would be beneficial for Peach to meet Darwin. Because it’s only going to Peach, if Peach says no, she says it only to Biff which saves face for Biff and allows him a graceful way to tell Darwin that Peach is not available, or it’s not a good fit, etc.. Of course if Peach says yes, NOW Biff sends a similar but slightly modified letter to both Peach and Darwin NOW introducing them, restating the endorsement, and asking DARWIN to reach out to Peach to set up a time to meet. It takes a tiny bit more time, but it is much more effective for all three parties.

    You’ll notice that I put the responsibility in Darwin’s court to take the next step because HE is the one who wanted to meet. Therefore, putting that responsibility on Darwin ensures that Darwin takes responsibility to do his follow through — and if he doesn’t, it doesn’t reflect poorly on you, and Peach does not feel like she is wasting her time now having to chase Darwin.

    This approach creates a win for all and little downside risk. Thanks for the opportunity to comment!

    Best regards,
    Abby

    • David A. Fields
      April 11, 2018 at 9:54 am Reply

      You’ve provided an interesting perspective, Abby, and one that many readers may find useful. I’d gently push back on your recommended approach for a couple of reasons:

      1. What you’re suggesting creates much more work for your contact, and that’s contrary to what we’re trying to do because it lessens the likelihood of receiving an introduction.
      2. In 20 years of using the approach outlined in the article, I’ve never encountered someone in Peach’s position who felt they were damaging their relationship with Biff by declining to follow up on the introduction. On very rare occasions, Peach will say, “I’m super busy right now, can we connect in 6 months?”

      (Keep in mind, that most of the people we’re being introduced to are corporate executives, and they don’t network as much or receive as many introduction requests as an inveterate, professional services networker like you.)

      Either way, I appreciate your point of view and your alternate approach, Abby. Thank you for engaging in the discussion.

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