We learned in our first Blueprint for Success column, “Root Canal or Networking?”, that networking is the act of connecting. There are lots of ways to connect people. One of my favorites is via email, with a smooth email introduction.
I often see attempts at referrals that sound like, “call so-and-so … I told them about you,” or, “I told so-and-so to call you,” or perhaps your referral source just throws a phone number at you. Blech. That’s not really a warm and snuggly recommendation, now is it?
The phone has its place and is a great communication tool, except that people don’t really answer their phones much anymore, and phone tag is so annoying. Also, calling someone out of the blue can catch them off guard and might not be as well-timed as you would like.
This is why I love email introductions. They’re pretty easy to do, and a great email intro makes you look like a hero.
If you are the one connecting two people, a good email introduction starts off with you. Here’s an example.
I’m in a networking group with Amber (my referral partner), who has a custom screen printing shop. My client Jane (my referral) noticed my new logo T-shirt and asked where I had it made, because she’s thinking about a cool custom polo shirt for her software team at the office.
Step one: Ask for permission to do the introduction. This sets a respectful, non-sales-y tone.
I’m thrilled to tell Jane about Amber’s great shop and I ask right away, “Would you like me to connect you via email? I can do that after clients tonight.” Jane is cool with that, and I know that Amber will be cool with that, because I’ve referred business to her before (and we’re in a networking group together, so it’s expected).
Step two: The email should explain that an introduction is being made, and include an endorsement or testimonial for my referral partner, Amber.
Step three: Highlight something unique about Amber’s services, and include a call to action encouraging communication. You then include Jane’s contact information in the email (phone, email, whatever she’s cool with).
And I want to include (via the CC option) Amber on the email.
It might look like this:
As promised, I wanted to follow up on our conversation and introduce you to Amber.
Amber specializes in screen printing custom T-shirts, sweatshirts, and various other items. She’s a pleasure to work with, and you saw how great my T-shirts are!
(there’s the endorsement)
I encourage you to reach out to Amber and tell her about your ideas for your project. Her contact info is below, and I’ve included her on this message.
(there’s the call to action)
Please let me know if I can help you with anything else,
Following that, Amber has the responsibility to click “Reply all” in her email program and create a follow-up message that includes you and Jane. This way, you are able to easily see that Amber followed up and can rest assured that the handoff has been made.
Amber should thank you for making the referral, should thank Jane for her willingness to connect with her, and should request further communication. Amber should use this opportunity to send Jane a link to her website and perhaps explain a bit more about her service, and ideally they’ll set up a time to connect via phone or in person.
At this point, it is an extremely warm referral that has given all parties involved lots of background information and has set the stage for a comfortable conversation via phone or meeting.
Finally, keep it short. Long emails tend to get ignored and deleted.
It may seem like more work, but it’s a much better way than simply calling out of the blue. Next time you want to facilitate a warm referral for someone in your network, try an email introduction.
Great introduction emails lead to more successful connections, and you look like a hero too!
—Alissa Haines is a massage therapist and writer in Massachusetts. She creates business and marketing resources for massage therapists like you at www.massagebusinessblueprint.com.