As someone who’s benefited immensely from the generosity of others, Gokul’s tweet resonated deeply with me. I’d pick a strong, warm intro over a cold one any day. This becomes 10x more important when the person you’re trying to connect / engage with is busy and / or important.
In our board deck we’d have a slide that would have a leaderboard of introductions (leads) and revenue impact of all introductions. Other than it leading to banter, it acted as a remarkable competitive boost and ensured 2 way accountability. Who doesn’t want to come first!
But I jump the gun…
Let’s talk go into the nitty gritty details
When seeking an introduction from your investors/advisors, here’s what worked well for us. (If you’re wondering how to bring advisors on board? Here’s a step by step post)
Do the homework
Figure out who you want an introduction to. There are 2 ways to approach this:
You already know who to get an introduction to : In this case, do this via looking at the person’s mutual linkedin connections to see if your investor/advisor is one of them (you have added all your investors and advisors on linkedin, right?). But also, look at whether they are part of common forums (eg : share board seats or alumni networks) and overlap of tenures .
You have a clear need but don’t know who could help with it : Ask your investor / advisors for an excel dump of their linkedin connections and scour through this info to figure out potential folks. (Caveat: This obviously works well with folks who’re active on linkedin).
Managing the operations of this:
Once we identified the folks, we created an excel sheet for each of our investors & advisors and used that as a working doc to collaborate. They just had to write Y/N next to them. Some folks would prefer to do this in person (esp some of the older advisors), so we made numerous trips / calls where we’d quickly go through each name and check.
You want to make the entire introduction process easy for your investors / advisors so that it doesn’t take too much of their time. There are 2 ways in which we’d do this:
2.1) Send a forwardable email to them that they could write on top of / get opt-in and make the intro.
Needless to say, it’s important to put the “why” we’re seeking the intro...
2.2) Basically draft the email as the angel/advisor which they can just send from their side. Below is an example
As you can see, once you get really good at this, you even end up writing like your advisor, with the typos and case sensitive nature etc. This just makes it SOOOOO much simpler.
Also, while we also share blurbs, often if you’re going after enterprise deals, often I like to customise it each message so that it’ll resonate with the audience. This might mean going back and forth on the level of abstraction that we’re talking about when talking about our company.
However...the most powerful of introductions happen like this (and on whatsapp):
BUT…this doesn’t happen too often (because clearly it requires the advisor to get onto a phone call etc). But nothing like it :)