What’s the Value of a Warm Introduction?

By Laura Borgstede, Calysto CEO

The warm introduction. It has been bandied about in the investor community for years as one of the best ways to reach angel investors or venture capitalists who might be interested in backing your company. It’s a personal introduction from one person to another (or in some cases, one company to another) that acts as an endorsement of sorts about the person being introduced. It’s a way of saying “I vouch that this person is a stand-up businessman or businesswoman with an idea or a product that you are likely to be interested in.” American Express even goes so far as to call the warm introduction “the supreme currency of all business networks.”

We couldn’t agree more, but question why warm introductions are often limited to the investment community. After all, isn’t a warm introduction just as valuable for companies that need a sounding board for their positioning and messaging, or are seeking new partners to fill a missing piece of their product strategy, or even for those that are looking for customers for beta trials? The answer: Most definitely.

Companies like LinkedIn have mastered the technology behind introductions in general. It’s as easy to “connect” with people you met 20 years ago in a completely different context as it is with someone you heard speak at a conference last week (and maybe pressed a business card into their hands). Many people pride themselves on the number of connections they have. The problem: These are cold connections—it’s quite easy to accept a connection, but there really are no “introductions” being made. And cold introductions take way too much time to foster. Think of them in the same realm as an unsolicited email or phone call—how often do you respond to those? Why would someone you are trying to connect with respond? They likely won’t.

So if warm introductions are so valuable, why don’t they happen more often? There are several reasons, of course, but here’s #1: Not every person or company warrants a warm introduction by the person being targeted. By vouching for a person, the person making the warm introduction is putting their own reputation on the line with the person to whom they are making the recommendation. What if the introduction backfires or the person being introduced doesn’t live up to the expectations you have laid out? They are taking a risk, so it’s important that the person making the introduction has spent the time to get to know you and the idea, product or company you are trying to pitch. That makes it easier to understand the specific person or people to whom they should be making the introduction.

Warm introductions are difficult to achieve for many people—they don’t know even how to get started. Who do they need to be introduced to? Who will do the introductions? What is the expected outcome? What do they need to do to prepare for a meeting if the warm handoff is successful?

That’s where relationships come into play. Working with a third party that has deep industry relationships with thousands of companies across the entire IoT spectrum is critical. These companies include hardware and software vendors for potential partnerships, connectivity providers (service provider partnerships), venture capital and other financial firms, resellers and distributors, and of course, end users. Being able to sift through dozens—or sometimes hundreds—of companies and contacts to find the right introductions is a skill that very few possess.

Calysto been in the IoT since the very beginning and we’ve forged deep industry relationships and “connections,” that can help jumpstart your introductions. Plus, through our own relationships, we can introduce you to other experts that can offer sage advice on a wide range of topics, from sales and financing and product development. Contact us to learn more about how a warm introduction can help you advance your business goals more quickly.

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