Lev Lazinskiy

Money Can't Buy Me Intro

| tech | sales | startups |

We know that money cant buy you love, but could it buy you a warm intro for sales?

I saw PartnerHQ launch on YC today. The idea makes sense, but feels like its doomed from the start because it relies on people being willing to burn their network for a quick buck.

I’ve seen a few versions of this type of marketplace in the past but have not seen any success. The most recent version that I explored was from a company that made a network that you could use to get warm intros to people who agreed to take calls with vendors in exchange for donating to a charity. This seems a bit more subtle than simply getting a slice of the commission, but the idea still fell apart in practice. I looked at their customer testimonials page and happened to know a couple of the companies that they listed as happy clients. When I reached out to get a back channel reference from those happy clients I either got “I’ve never heard of this company” or “They gave me a ton of useless leads”.

It feels like the timeshare incentive problem. Every cartoon has an episode where the main character goes to Aspen for a free ski trip and has to sit through hours of high pressure sales meetings in exchange. If you give away something in exchange for a meeting, then smart people will take the meeting with no intention to buy just to get some of whatever you are offering.

The warm part of a warm intro is based on trust. I can’t think of a faster way to lose any trust I have with someone than by shilling some random product to them. Especially, if I don’t disclose that I am being paid for the introduction. If I do, I am not sure how effective the intro would be, if I don’t and the person finds out later, I will have burned a relationship for a couple hundred bucks. Doesn’t seem worth it to me.

Of course, I could be completely wrong. I look forward to revisiting this in the future to see how it goes.

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