Have you taken advantage of your friends’ contact list? If so, how has that gone for you? If not, why?
I have found that too often people fail to take advantage of the networks their connections have built. I am sure there are many different reasons for this- shyness, insecurity, or even just not thinking of it.
Do not hesitate to engage your network to ask for their assistance in helping you connect to someone within their network.
Before you ask for an introduction, hopefully you have pre-thought out why you would like that introduction and the value that will come from the introduction. Just as I have written that our personal brand (reputation) within our network is determined by the value of our introductions, so to is the brand of the person you are asking to assist you with a connection to their network.
The Golden Rule of Asking For Introductions
ONLY ask for introductions to people you can actually bring or offer value.
Just as your personal brand can be built or lost on making the right introductions, it can be built or lost on asking for introductions that make sense. Smart networkers are always looking to increase the value of their investment. If they can help bring value to someone in their network, they will do it. If you have a legitimate reason to meet someone, don’t be afraid to seek this out.
Things to keep in mind when asking for an introduction
• be specific as to why you are asking for an introduction
• follow through on the introduction
• follow up after the initial introduction
• follow up with the person who made the introduction
Be Specific As To Why You Are Asking For An Introduction
The only way someone can truly evaluate who to connect you to, and how to tee up the introduction, is for them to know why the introduction is needed. There are few things I find more wasteful of my time than when my expectations for an introduction are completely wrong.
If your schedule is like mine, it is tight. Therefore, I look for introductions I accept to have a synergy to my current interests or what is going on in my life.
Follow Through On The Introduction- don’t hurt the brand of the person who set it up
I have not seen this too often, but it can happen. All this goes back to maintaining and building your brand. If someone helps you with an introduction, then not only are you responsible for your own personal brand at this point, but you are responsible for a part of their brand as well.
As soon as the introduction is made, unless specified otherwise, it is now your responsibility to follow through and push for the meeting. If the person who has accepted the introduction fails to respond or be available as originally promised, then contact the person who made the connection to let them know. Give the person making the introduction the opportunity to figure out what the next step should be.
Once your introduction has been formalized and a meeting has been set up. Be sure and be on time and prepared. Part of following through is making sure that the introduction lives up to the expectations of both the introducer and the person you are being introduced to.
Follow Up After the Initial Introduction
Your follow-up not only affects your brand, but the brand of the person who made the introduction.
Before ending the meeting or phone call with be sure to clearly state what the next steps will be. If there are no clear next steps, at least state a given time frame in which you will reach back out to the person. Whatever you commit to, be sure to do it as well.
Follow Up With The Person Who Made The Introduction
Follow-up the person who connected you. You want to let them know how the meeting or call went and what the outcome is from this. Not only are you doing this as a courtesy, but you are letting them know how their connection has turned out.
If the introduction turned out successful, you want to build upon this. Now if you ever approach that same contact for another introduction they will be happy to oblige. They will feel secure in that you will protect their own personal brand.
On the flip side, if the introduction does not go well, you also want to circle back with the person who made the introduction. You will want to give your side of the story, so as to protect your own brand for possible future introductions by the same person. But also, you want to give that person the ability to do whatever they feel they might need to in order to keep their own brand going strong.
Asking for an introduction requires just as much forethought and follow-through as making introductions. Your brand has the ability to be strengthened or hurt depending on how this is handled.
Until our paths cross again,