Introductions are a key part to building and maintaining any network. But it can also be the one area that also hurts our network if not handled in the best way.
This is the first part of a two-part look at monitoring your brand through introductions. Here in part one I will illustrate this through an example of the pitfall in making introductions the wrong way. In part two I will list and discuss four questions to consider before making an introduction.
People who will introduce anyone to their network still intrigue me. There is an individual in the Houston area literally connected to just about everyone. I was first introduced to him during a job transition period (in other words, I was unemployed). The sexy cool part of the introduction was the promise that he literally knew anyone and everyone in town. So the theory was that if I could just get in with him, then it would be a matter of time before I might land the introduction that could lead to my next job. Right!
It turns out the guy is a total scam- at least that’s my opinion. But at the same time the guy is brilliant. He somehow mastered the concept of sweet talking people into being in his ‘network’, and as his network grew the value sell was that everyone now was literally separated by just one person- this guy. So, if you needed an introduction, you just had to get his attention and voila!
The problem lies in the fact that all it takes is one or two times for anyone to accept an introduction through him, and people realize quickly the lack of value. Each person I was ultimately connected with responded to the initial introduction, but there was little to no energy on their part for following through despite my effort.
Ultimately, I think the problem was that there was no real perceived value on their end to even interact with me. Many times in introductions, it isn’t completely the initial perceived value related to the person being introduced, but the value of the person doing the introducing. If the person making the introduction has a high value with the other party, then initial introductions will have the necessary ‘push’ to at least get off the ground. Then it is up to the person being introduced to take it from there.
So, how does this translate to you? If you are still building your network, you might be tempted to assist anyone and everyone so as to build your perceived value. While tempting this is not the best way to build your brand or your network.
Facilitating introductions between two or more people is a valuable way to build your brand and strengthen your network. Therefore this is one area that you want to pay significant attention to. There are several ways introductions originate. Either you conceive of the introduction yourself, or someone approaches you asking for an introduction within your network.
At this point it is very tempting to comply with these requests, or at least find it difficult to say no. Think of this part of the process as the preliminary steps in putting together any business deal. In the beginning you want to find out any relevant details as to why this is something that should take place.
The one idea to take away here is that introductions should not be a commodity. Guard them carefully they can help shape your brand identity. Here in Part 1 I highlighted the pitfall of making the wrong kind of introduction. In Part 2 I will discuss 4 things to consider before making an introduction within your network.
Until our paths cross again,