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How to get endless intro’s to your startup

My little secret for gaining non-stop investor and biz dev introductions.

Brian York
Aug 9, 2015 · 3 min read

You hear it time and time again, “Use your network.” Or, “It’s all about connections.” While these statements certainly carry some validity, it goes a bit deeper than that. There’s still a level of execution that needs to take place in order to properly leverage one’s network.

Personally, I am constantly hearing from people within my network looking to have me connect them with investors or sales leads.

99.9% of the conversations go something like this: “Do you happen to know any investors that might be interested in…” or; “I’d love to get an intro to anyone you know that…”

quick sample from this past week

Ok, I get it… you want me to instantly respond with amazing introductions that will move your business forward today (don’t we all?). The problem here is, I’m the one left doing the bulk of the work — Thinking through your business, scanning my contacts for those that align with your model or product and crafting an enticing email to each connection.

Not only is this poor form, but it’s unrealistic.

This is too time consuming to do for one person, but seeing I get asked this same question 5–10x per week from other founders — there’s just no way I’m going to follow through here. That’s the reality. It’s not because people don’t care or are not willing to help, but the time just isn’t there.

The Secret Sauce

If you want an intro, make it as simple as possible for me by figuring out exactly who I should introduce you to and thoughtfully explain why.

Boom! There it is… it’s as easy as that.

Here’s the practice I follow.

Once I know who I want to meet with for Bliss (e.g., an investor who invests in early stage B2B SaaS companies) I’ll spend ~20 mins searching through my LinkedIn connections identifying the best person to make the intro for me.

Example email I use for investor introductions

My email above to Kal does a few things:

1)Makes it super simple for Kal to forward to Fred to gauge interest
2)Shows Fred that I’ve put time in to learn his interests
3)Clearly illustrates the ask and highlights the subject at hand, Bliss.

I follow the same practice for introductions to potential customers:

Example email I use for sales introductions

As you can see, I keep it short, direct and outline my intentions and Bliss’ value prop, making it super simple for David to forward along my email.

As a rule of thumb, I will cap my ask of close friends at three introductions. I don’t want to burden them with more than that. I will, however, follow up with the same friends ~2 months later with three additional introductions.

For people I just recently met I’ll stick to one introduction. I find that one action item is low enough friction where most people will follow through. On another note, if they don’t follow through then it’s a great indication they weren’t impressed with you or your business.

Rolling up your sleeves and spending the time identifying the appropriate person to make an introduction goes a long way. Remember, if you don’t want to put the time in (for your own business!) to simplify the process for your contact, what makes you think they’ll put the time in?

Give my strategy a go… And enjoy the steady stream of new introductions!

Brian York

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Entrepreneur and investor