Asking for an introduction is not as easy as you think

Newsletter 7

I constantly request my network for introductions to help someone achieve their ends because I love connecting. I’m doing it not linearly but on different levels, allowing me to see how one movement can produce success for many people.

«It’s not what you know, it’s whom you know,» and I add, «and the value you bring them» would be the well-known secret of success, but which we sometimes forget, focusing our efforts on enhancing «what we know» instead of «whom we know.«

One of the most effective ways to grow our network is to ask for an introduction. Introductions are essential because they build trust and credibility. Still, they should not be asked to just anyone or in just any way because the ultimate goal is not to connect with many people but with the right people.

Otherwise, when receiving an introduction request, connectors will consider what is in the best interest of both parties by looking at the question boxes: what do they want or need, why do they want it, who can help them, how can you help them, and what value do both parties get out of it?

In this article to connected people, we will see some tips on how to do it correctly to improve our connector profile, understanding that an introduction has a genuine social and economic capital value.

IS THIS THE RIGHT PERSON?

Sometimes the first rule of networking is forgotten: Are they the right person to make the presentation? Do they know the person I want to contact? What is their relationship? These questions are essential because you aren’t willing to put your reputation on the line to request that introduction.

A bad fit for an introduction is when you present two professionals who have no good reason to connect.

MAKE IT EASY AND SHORT

Whenever you seek help from your network, you should try to request it as easy and brief as possible.

If you ask someone to introduce you, you know them well enough not to waste time with compliments. Please send your request in a message so they can read it and respond in 30 seconds. Be sure to include a summary that includes:

1) Who do you want to connect with?

2) Why do you want to meet so and so?

3) Why should the recipient care?

ASK PERMISSION FIRST

Only in exceptional circumstances, when there is a very high level of trust on both sides, is it OK to make a blind approach. For all other cases, an adjustment in the introduction process is necessary.

For example, when the people are not necessarily going to receive similar value from the connection or when you don’t know the person well enough. You don’t want to make an introduction that puts someone in the position of having to respond because of their relationship with you. In this situation, be honest and adopt the double opt-in, a term coined by Adam Grant to make a connection between two people who agree to it.

How do I do it? I’ll have the person who wants the introduction write a few sentences, and I’ll edit them and pass them on to the other person, asking if it’s OK and if they permit me to pass on their details so I can contact them. If their answer is OK, I will make the introduction.

BE THANKFUL

When you ask for an introduction, don’t forget to be grateful because, beyond good manners, people want to know that they have helped.

Being grateful is more than just saying «thank you.» Small acts of appreciation make a big difference, such as a message acknowledging that the person has been helpful to you and that you appreciate what they have done. You don’t need to write a colossal novel thanking them, just a few lines that let them know what they and their willingness to connect mean to you.

The final goal is to have your network thinking about what you need, even when you don’t ask. 

FOLLOW UP

As a connector, people trust your connections, and you have credibility, so when you make a presentation, you are exposing yourself, so make sure you do it correctly.

Follow up on the connection to see how the relationship is developing and find out if there is anything else you can do that would be helpful to either party.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Throughout my years in non-profit organisations and as an entrepreneur, I have been fortunate to meet several people who have significantly impacted the social projects we have done worldwide, but most importantly, my organisations and me.

Many times this has been possible because my network was kind enough to offer me warm introductions to people who would provide invaluable insight into a particular challenge I was working to overcome (thank you all so much!).

I’ve learned that almost everyone is willing to help by putting you in touch with people who can be helpful to you, but you’ll get much better results if you make it easy for them by knowing what you need and whom you need to connect with.

So the next time you want to ask for an introduction, think about having a specific goal and a compelling rationale for targeting that person.

*** BEFORE YOU GO

Quote of the Week: «Most people are nice people, and if you’re generous with them and nice, then they’ll be generous and nice to you too«.- Marshall Goldsmith

The above article is a weekly summary of my thoughts on my work as a connector that is ready for leaders worldwide.

You can also enjoy the Let’s Connect Live, where I interview business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and inspirational thinkers.

Jose Raul Vaquero is President of the documentalistas.org Foundation and Founder of clubimpulso.net, which connects more than 100,000 professionals from 24 countries. For this work, he has been recognised by several governments and organisations. Finally, he’s also the Founder of the Young Politicians of the Americas community.