I'm sure you get these emails too. People asking to pick your brain, see their demo, provide feedback on their product, and the list goes on. Being a natural connector in the space, I'm constantly getting the ask, "Can you provide and intro to _____ for me."

I was able to meet up with Max Altschuler, founder of SalesHacker, who recently wrote a book, Hacking Sales. We got talking about this topic and I wanted to share our mutual agreement about the rules you must follow for email introductions.

Your connections and relationships are extremely important and introductions are delicate. It's a huge pet peeve of mine when they aren't treated as such. Therefore, here is my lesson in introductions that should be used by all salespeople, or even just all human beings in general.

Great business-to-business (B2B) introductions require an art and require proper etiquette. It's simple, follow these rules. No excuses!

1. Who Responds First, And How Fast?

When making an introduction, the person who asked to be intro'd (the "requestor") OR the more junior person should respond first. I find about 98% of the time the "requestor" is also the more junior person.

This "requestor" should respond within 1 business day of the intro being made. Very little excuses here. If you are the one who made the request for the introduction, you better respond promptly, thoughtfully, and politely once you get it.

2. Double Opt-In Introductions Only

Cold, blind intros are awful. Intros absolutely must require both sides to opt-in. The only real outlier here is a complete no-brainer. ex. "Bill Gates wants to invest/buy your company, connect..."

It's a huge problem when someone makes an introduction to you and doesn't ask you if it's ok first. Now they put the burden on you to respond or look like a jerk.

If someone asks you to make an intro, reply with, "Sure. Can you send me some context I can forward along? I'd be happy to make the intro if they're interested in chatting with you."

Then send that along and give an endorsement of your own if you'd like. Once they say, "Sure. Please make the introduction." then you're good to connect the two individuals.

3. Don't Flake

Once a double opt-in status has been made and both parties agree to the introduction, the responsibility lies on the requestor to respond promptly. It makes the connector look bad if ball is dropped after intro is made.

If you're really that busy, don't opt-in. Please, it will save everyone their time.

4. Move To Bcc

After the first reply on either side, it is up to the people that were introduced to move the connector to Bcc immediately; unless for some reason you want them to stay involved in the conversation.

ex. "Thanks for the intro Bubba! (Bcc'd)

Hey {name}, nice to meet....."

5. Context

Like I mentioned in #2, if you want an intro you must provide the connector with some context or a blurb they can forward or pass along.

ex. "Hey Max,

I see you know {name} and if possible, I'd love an intro so I can ask him how they navigated the process around {challenge} and potentially use their services. Any chance you can do that for me? Here's something you can send his/her way.

My good friend {requestor} is working on X and is interested connecting with you regarding {challenge} and your company's services. Would you be open to connecting to me providing and introduction?"

Then if I were to forward this on, I would add my endorsement at the end.

"I think the connection would be mutually beneficially. He/she is really dialed-in..."

*Side note: (I like the term dialed-in because of what it implies, it could be interpreted that the requester is both intelligent and connected.)

6. Make Intros Mutually Beneficial

This is important! Try to only make intros where you truly believe there's real mutual benefit. Even if that benefit on one side is further down the road.

"ex. A subject matter expert in Product Management could be beneficial to a salesperson down the line should that sales person decide to start their own company one day. If you know that salesperson has expressed interest in being a founder, then it could be mutually beneficial later on."

  • If I introduce a VC to a company, I better believe that company is going to do well and that VC is one of high integrity.
  • If I introduce a potential sales hire to a company, I better believe in both sides.
  • If I introduce a potential client to a company, I better believe the company can produce!

7. Close The Loop

A good connector will circle back later and see if they connected. "How'd it go?" If they never connected, be sure to ask why? You may not want to vouch for that person again if they made you look bad by standing someone up. That's just bad karma.

8. Say Thanks!

As the requestor, always circle back to thank the connector. Help him/her close the loop and report back. If it went really well, send a gift or some type of thanks.

Sometimes when I get a good gift for something that makes me feel appreciated, I keep that person and their company top of mind for a while. This means I start looking out for them and talking them up. Sometimes without realizing it. For the space I'm in, this could be pretty important for a person/company that thanked me.

ex. You received an intro to a VC and then the VC invested in/lead your next round. Or you received an intro to a potential client and they just signed the deal. You better be sending a gift basket or even better for that one.

FYI--As for Max, he's a scotch guy... for me, a referral to my company QuotaDeck is something I'd love.

9. Be Thoughtful. Customize the Introduction Email.

The best connectors and most connected people I know write incredibly thoughtful introductions. It's not just task on their to-do list.

Being thoughtful in an introduction starts a new relationship off on the right foot. Often times both parties end up talking about how awesome you are when they first connect for a real conversation. You win, they win, it's a win-win.

Add some nice context around the people and scenario. Just don't write a novel.

Here is an example from Max: About a week ago, my buddy Adam Liebman sent me this intro.

"Chris, meet Max. Max, meet Chris.

Chris is currently an AVP at Mimeo, where, among other things, he helps his team to use sales tools to absolutely crush it. Chris and I worked together at Yext, and he's the first guy I would try to hire if I needed a sales leader.

Max is a man of many talents, including throwing the Sales Hacker Conferences all over the country. He also just published his first book, Hacking Sales, and is the man behind the idea of a "Sales Stack."

The two of you know more about sales and the tools that make sales easier than just about any other people I know. I think you'll both enjoy connecting, and I hope you get a chance to soon. I know Max is going to be in town next week for the next conference, maybe all of us can find a way to get together.

Will let you two take it from here.


This is a great intro. It made me excited to meet Chris, flattered me, which naturally makes me like Adam more, and gives good context. It's too long, but in this particular case, it worked.

I think for this point more than the other, you really need to "read the room".

ex. For a VC intro, it's probably best to keep it very short because their inboxes are busier than most.

10. Provide Value

Once you've been introduced and you're looking to connect with the person, provide value, even if it's only a free lunch or drinks. If you do any research beforehand, you'll be able to provide more value because you'll know what resonates.

ex. Maybe you meet with someone way more senior than you in your profession. Professionally, you fear that there's nothing of value you can offer and maybe you're right.

But if you did your research on Twitter/LinkedIn/Google, you'd find out that he/she flies planes as a hobby, and you have some background in that. Now you can provide value when you catch up, which will strengthen the relationship and ultimately make the connector look good.

Lastly, if the prospect, the one you wanted to meet, gets busy, be understanding. Offer to circle back at a better time if necessary.

Bonus: If you do get introduced to someone and you are too busy to meet, but don't feel comfortable saying no, just tell the truth.

ex. "Hey {name},

Thanks for getting in touch. I'm swamped with X right now and am really behind. Can you ping me again in 2 weeks and we can get something on the books when I know where I'm at? Thanks for understanding,"

Nobody can be mad at that, and it puts the ball back in his or her court to follow up in 2 weeks. Also, helps you know who really wants to connect because quite a few people will forget to follow up. Plus, it's extremely polite.

Follow these rules of introduction etiquette and you'll be in good standing with your peers in the industry. After all, being a connector starts with being able to connect people properly. Just go the extra millimeter, and reap all the benefits, your network will thank you.