The Art of the Email Intro (and How to Use BCC)
“If you’re ever BCC’d, do not go near ‘Reply All.’”– Faith Salie
One of the most valuable gifts you can offer is access to your professional network. If you don’t think of this as one of the core services, you’re missing an opportunity. But, how you do it matters. Connecting someone to your network can be done with a forgettable introductory email or with a memorable demonstration of professionalism.
When you connect with your past clients and sphere, you can always hope they’re ready to buy or sell. It’s far more likely they know someone else who is buying or selling, or they need a referral for a real estate-related service provider. Either way, an introduction is in order.
Here’s a quick primer on creating an email intro, receiving one, and some thoughts on using BCC or “blind carbon copy”.
Three Steps to Creating an Email Intro
- Get Permission – Never share someone’s contact information without their permission. While you can get blanket permission from your vendors, the last thing your C-Level client needs is some rando spamming her inbox.
- Provide Context and Compliments – By Wednesday morning, busy people can forget what they asked you for Tuesday evening. I subscribe to David Letterman’s “Oprah, Uma. Uma, Oprah” model.
For the subject line, I may simply go with “Intro: Person A and Person B” so it’s easy to find in their inbox. I’ll add “You two need to know each other!” if I’m doing some serious match-making. Person A is the person who has asked for the referral and Person B is the one you’re recommending.
For the body of the email, I start with “Person A, meet Person B” followed by a short but glowing description of what they do, why I’m happy to recommend them, and some color. For example, “Stefan, meet Isabella. Isabelle is a local architect who specializes in Mid-Century Modern homes. We’ve employed her personally, and recommended her on numerous occasions. Besides her creative and communication skills, she also has a dad joke for every occasion.”
Next, I flip the introduction with “Person B, meet Person A.” In this case, I’ll add a short but glowing intro to Person A, why they need Person B, and a little compliment. For example, “Isabella, meet Stefan. Stefan and his partner Pat purchased a home from us in 2018. You’ll love the home. It’s at 123 Elm Street and was built in 1957. They are hoping to add an addition while preserving the look and feel. You’ll love working with them and if you’re lucky, they’ll play some tunes. Stefan has an amazing vinyl collection.”
There are two goals to these intros. First, if you do your job, you’ve shortcutted the decision for both parties. You’ve answered the most likely questions they would ask and pointed them toward a partnership. Second, people love sincere compliments. Who doesn’t want to work with the professional that gave them advance permission to tell dad jokes or showcase their collection?
- Bow Out – Sign off with the hope they’ll connect soon or loop you back in if needed.
Two Steps to Receiving an Email Intro
- Show Your Gratitude – It’s crazy how many people skip this step. Someone opened up their network for you. And by default, they tied their professional reputation to yours. Say thank you! This also lets them know the referral was received and they don’t have to follow up.
- Use BCC – After thanking your referral partner, move them to BCC. For example, “Marc, thanks so much for the warm recommendation. I’ll take it from here. Moving you to BCC to spare your inbox. Isabella, we’re free this Friday afternoon or anytime this weekend…” These referrals inevitably generate a slew of emails trading information and coordinating the connection.
The Dos and Don’ts of BCC
Because I’m recommending BCC for this, I feel compelled to share some Dos and Don’ts. BCC is basically inviting someone to eavesdrop on your correspondence. For many, this runs counter to their code of ethics.
- DO use BCC when you’re comfortable revealing that someone is BCC’d, as in the case above.
- DO use BCC for mass emails. That spares everyone from getting caught in the replies and auto-replies.
- DON’T use BCC to share correspondence covertly. You may have every right to BCC your colleague, a broker, or an attorney on a sensitive matter. But it’s fraught with danger. The first time your BCC accidentally replies all, you’ll be cured of covert BCCs forever. The drama!
- DO use BCC to create a copy of a sensitive email in your inbox. If you need to share sensitive correspondence, BCC yourself and then forward that message. Now there is no chance someone can accidentally reply all.
One question to ponder in your thinking time: How can I turn routine client interactions into opportunities to showcase my professionalism?
Make an Impact!