Just like an offline network, Linkedin allows people to make an introduction between two strangers in their connections database (translation for baby-boomers: Rolodex).
And just like an offline network, there is a commonly acceptable behaviour, when being introduced, and making the introduction. For salespeople and business development people, this is essential! How do you ask to get introduced to your next mega-client? You’d need to be diplomatic, tactful, and “make them an offer they can’t refuse”. You only have 1 shot at it (pardon the mafia language).
What we need to remember, there are 3 people involved in the introduction, and this action will impact on all of the participants’ names and reputation. So how do we do it effectively?
- Clear message.
Be able to articulate your message in a short paragraph. Demonstrate how you can be useful, and why it is important to them that you meet.
- WIIFM – What’s in it for me?
This is the oldest concept in sales and marketing, yet very few people use it effectively. When writing the note to the person you’d like to be introduced to, understand that the person receiving your note is thinking – What’s in it for me? Answer his question promptly.
- Don’t sell on the first introduction note.
Before any sale can be made, there has to be an element of trust. With the first introduction note, there is NO trust, so the sale should be made on “accepting the intro request”.
- The Sandwich
Think of the person making the intro. Will he be comfortable with your language, your approach, and the relevance of your note? Is there a chance of embarrassment? What will happen if you don’t deliver? what will be the implication on the friendship.
- Your credentials
Keep in mind that once your introduction request has been forwarded, the person you’ve approached will immediately check your profile. Make sure your profile is 100% complete, and it showcases who you are, professionally. Recommendations are important, as they will tell people reading your profile, not just what you think of yourself, but also how others think of you!
- Follow up
You’ve done everything right, and followed the previous 5 steps. Your intro request has been accepted. Be quick to follow up, and set up a meeting. Don’t send more information – establish a real relationship!
What would you expect, when receiving and introduction request, or when you’re asked to introduce between contacts (you being The Sandwich)