In the search and recruitment industry, we get numerous requests to make connections between professionals. These requests include our primary focus on professional matchmaking between candidate and hiring manager, introductions of sales professionals or consultants that bring value to our clients, investor introductions and other forms of connectivity. If we’ve established a good working relationship and believe there is value to both parties in an introduction, we are happy to facilitate mutually beneficial connections. As we all know, warm introductions are better than cold ones!
Outside of our direct work with clients, when I get requests to make introductions and connection, I ask the requestor to author / ghostwrite what they would like me to send to introduce them. I do this for two reasons. First and foremost, due to the volume of requests I get, I don’t have the time to craft customized connection introductions. Additionally, since I value my contacts, I want to review what the requestor writes: Is the message something that is likely to get a response? People decide to respond or not for many reasons, but I’ve found that a well-crafted, relevant message shared in a personal or professional network most often receives a follow-up response. Once I receive the ghostwritten note, I will use the general content of the original note as a template, but may alter it based on my knowledge of the recipient.
So, what guidelines should you follow as the original author? When you write your introductory note, it’s important to state your case as to why you feel the other party should respond. Build a case based on your perception of their needs and the value you (and your product or service) can bring to the person to whom you are being introduced. Also, do your homework: don’t make the referrer intermediary do much heavy lifting by having to craft or alter your entire “pitch”.
Recently, I had a rather transactional email exchange with a candidate that I decided not to respond to. He didn’t customize his response and I didn’t really get an explanation of what was in it for me or my contacts by attempting to continue to help him. So, I didn’t! Here’s why…
My initial response to his cold introduction:
At present, we are not engaged in any searches that appear to align with your background and professional accomplishments. I would look forward to the prospect of our ongoing dialogue and will update your information in our database of valued professionals for proactive contact should relevant openings arise. I’ll also forward a LinkedIn connection request and please feel free to let me know if you would find value in mutual connections to companies of interest.
His follow up:
Thank you for the email and the offer of assistance. I am currently tracking positions at companies A, B and C. I have applied to all of them, but it seems so impersonal sending a resume via a website. If you have any connections at these companies, I believe it would be beneficial to talk further. Thanks for your time.
He was pleasant in his follow up, and he did clearly state that he felt it would be beneficial to speak IF I had connections at these companies. But why didn’t he request that we get to know each other first through an introductory call? This way, there would be some level of understanding and rapport. I don’t usually recommend people to others without having something more substantive than a cursory email exchange. Further, the request seemed rather one-sided: “Here’s how you can help me”.
To be fair, I did invite him to let me know if there were connections of mine that might be helpful to him. Also, he may not have had a good understanding of how search firms work.
I do have connections at all three of the companies he mentioned, but I didn’t get a more specific request from him such as “Don, I see that you are connected to John Doe via LinkedIn, who is in talent acquisition at company A. Do you feel you know him well enough that I could forward you an introduction request that you could use as a template to connect us both? Thanks very much for considering!”
In sum, he didn’t look for specific contacts in his response and instead asked me to do it for him. I believe the onus is on the requestor to do everything they can to make it easy on the referrer to make an introduction.
In contrast, here is an example of a sanitized email I recently sent to introduce a contact who had invested in her relationship with me and asked me about a recommendation to a specific company.
Given ABC Company’s growth patterns and success, I wanted to make your introduction to Jane Doe at XYZ Company. Jane and I have known each other for some time and have formed a terrific relationship.
Jane works with many types of companies, including those with platforms in drug development, chemistry, and medical devices.
Jane focuses on science and tech-based companies and is extremely responsive and hard working. Jane not only works to find known market opportunities but has found off-market opportunities for several clients. She understands the marketplace in our area and beyond like no one I’ve met.
I highly recommend her to companies seeking these types of services.
Where possible, take the time to get to know people before asking them to do something for you. Always offer to return the favor or assist the referrer with anything you can do to be helpful going forward. Then, make it easy for them to help you. You’re the best person to explain your value and that of your product/service to the person you want that critical introduction to, so ghostwrite your own introduction!
Do this, and the intro will certainly have a greater impact, and my hunch is your results will improve. And, you’ll have a stronger advocate for future requests.