Requesting introductions is one of the best lead generation tools for fundraising, sales, and recruiting. They are simple and effective; but they’re also easy to get wrong. Here’s how to write introduction requests correctly (template below):
Requestor (you) — The person who wants to meet the Recipient.
Connector — The person who already knows the Recipient.
Recipient — The person who the Requestor wants to meet.
Don’t Write in Someone Else’s “Voice”
What: Write the request as yourself (Requestor), and do not use the Connector’s voice, even if the Connector asks.
Why: Often, your description of your company is likely to be read as exaggeration. This may make the Connector uncomfortable sending the request without edits, which results in delays.
Easy to Forward, No Copy/Paste
What: Send each request as a unique and separate email for the connector, so the connector only needs to press “Forward”, add a brief comment, and then send.
Why: If you ask a connector to laboriously copy/paste your information into a new message for each request, you’re requiring them to perform an extra task. This means the connector will likely send out less requests and there will be delays.
What: Include the Recipient’s name at a minimum. Ideally, you would also highlight some affinity with the recipient or perhaps reference their past, relevant work.
Why: Personalization demonstrates you have done research into the Recipient to ensure your request is relevant, before making it, and shows your genuine desire to meet. This increases the probability of Recipient acceptance.
What: Make sure why you want the introduction request is clear to the Recipient. Be as direct as possible without being transactional.
Why: If the Recipient questions why you want to speak with them, they are more likely to refuse the request. At best, they will request clarity, causing delays.
Details & Learn More
What: Provide a quick overview of yourself or your offering in the email with a 1-click way to learn more. For example: you could provide a 1-paragraph overview of your company with a deck link or attach a PDF 1-pager.
Why: If you force the Recipient to do their own research to learn more about your offering, you are both creating delays and reducing the chance of Recipient acceptance.
If possible, can you introduce me to [Recipient] at [Recipient Company]? I noticed [Recipient affinity and past work] and would love to see if they can help us at [Requestor Company].
[Requestor Company 1 paragraph intro]
If possible, can you introduce me to Aisha at Acme Fund? I noticed her focus on Enterprise Cloud and would love to see if CloudMax is a fit for their thesis.
CloudMax cuts Enterprise server costs by 50%. Utilizing AI and decades of server experience, CloudMax optimizes your usage so you always have the right resources for customer needs. We currently have 15 customers with over $1.5M ARR, growing 15%/month.
Minor mistakes when constructing a request can have a big impact on both the probability of acceptance and the time needed to make the connection. Where as taking the time to write effective requests will increase the top of your funnel across fundraising, sales and recruiting.
This article is part of a series on Seed Fundraising.
1. When to Raise Money
2. How to Build a Deck
3. VCs vs. Seed Funds vs. Angels
4. How to Get a Meeting
5. How to Request an Introduction
6. How to Get Early Momentum
7. How to make a Good Pitch Great
8. The 5 Most Common Pitch Mistakes
9. Meeting Requirements
10. The Basics of Meetings
11. How to Handle an Angel Investor Meeting
12. Know these Numbers for your VC Meeting
13. 4 Investor Gotcha Questions
14. How to Follow-Up After an Investor Meeting
15. How to Close the Lead Investor
16. The 4 Stages of a VC Process
17. How to Raise a $2 Million Seed Round
18. Go from Investor YES to Cash in Hand
19. When Investors Say Yes but Mean No
20. When and When Not to Use an Investors Name
21. Stop Making These Common Fundraising Mistakes
22. How to Avoid Bad Terms that Kill Startups
23. What to do After Receiving a Term Sheet
24. Term Sheet Problems Part 1 — Money Talks
25. Term Sheet Problems Part 2 — Boardroom Blues
26. Term Sheet Problems Part 3 — Side Letters
27. 10 Traits of Successful Founders
Sterling Road invests in pre-seed B2B startups based in North America. Full process here: sterlingroad.com/process.
You can reach me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Kaego Rust & Ethan Prater for their help on this article.
Photo by Joshua Ness