Connecting with people is at the foundation of all business. Whether it's with a journalist, an investor, a potential partner, or anyone else. The best way to connect with people is through an introduction. You can always cold-call someone, but having a trusted mutual connection introduce you will always be more effective.
Here are the first three things you should do:
First and foremost, express gratitude for the intro.
By now, I have come to the conclusion that common sense and common decency are not so common, unfortunately.
As soon as someone--let's call that person David--introduces you to someone else--let's call that person Jennifer--thank David for the introduction. But it goes beyond that.
Let me tell you a short story. A friend of mine came to visit Tel Aviv from New York. He asked me to make some introductions, which I of course was happy to do.
Over the next few days, I started seeing pictures on my friend's feed from all the meetings he had, all a result of my introductions.
What he should have done was thank me after every such meeting to let me know my intro led to that meeting and how much he enjoyed it.
Gratitude goes a long way, and when someone goes out of their way to help you by means of an introduction, don't forget to thank them.
Make sure your initial thank-you email includes some praise for the person introducing.
Again, somewhat obvious and perhaps trivial, but rarely is this done right.
After you receive the introduction from David, your initial email response should not be something like "Thanks, David, and hey, Jennifer. Let's connect."
Instead, try something like "David, you're the best. You make the best intros. Hey, Jennifer, I've heard wonderful things. Would love to jump on a call or grab coffee. Would that work for you, and if so, when is best?"
Let's dissect that response.
First of all, you praised David, which both makes you look good to Jennifer and makes David want to make more introductions for you.
Another important component to that email is that you don't leave things abstract. You have a specific ask, to connect further.
You also make it easier for Jennifer to respond by asking her if she wants to meet and when.
People don't have time to answer a long email, so keep it short and to the point, and end with a specific question that is simple to answer.
Ask what the most convenient time to connect is and then send a calendar invite.
This is a major pet peeve of mine. If we are talking about a scenario in which Jennifer asked to be introduced to you, she should be the one to offer flexibility on when you'll meet, and as trivial as it sounds, she should be the one sending the calendar invite.
Alternatively, if you ask David to introduce you to Jennifer, because you want to pick her brain or pitch her on something, then you should offer the flexibility and you should send the invite.
Again, this might sound trivial, but sometimes a nice gesture can go a long way and vice versa. If you ask to meet me and then you put me to work by asking me to set up a calendar event, it just feels a bit strange.
The bottom line is, without introductions in business, no progress will be made, but even if someone does introduce you to a potential client, your response to that email could make or break a deal depending on how you reply.