Conversations with Oscar
Recently a visitor to my mastermind networking group enthusiastically stated she had a referral for me. A couple of days later I received an e-mail from her to both myself and the person she was referring. The e-mail stated that we need to meet each other but she gave no contact information other than the visible e-mail address for this person. I hit "reply to all" and expressed my interest in meeting this gentleman and included my phone number. I didn't hear back from him. After about a week I contacted this gal to let her know I didn't her back from this referral. She stated she would reach out to him again. As of this writing I have not heard back from either of them.
This is a common challenge with novice networkers. They want to appear to be engaged in the referral process but haven't the know-how or relational capital to actually consummate an introduction.
Here's how an effective introduction works.
Step 1: Speak directly to both parties, let them know you have someone you feel they should to meet and explain why. Ask "Would this be someone you would like me to introduce you to?" (If either person resists then you do not have a referral. This will happen occasionally. You're doing everything right, but sometimes those you feel might be a fit for each other just aren't.) When they give you a yes ask how them how they would like the introduction to be made.
Step 2: If things always worked out the way I wanted them to I'd be invited to coffee to be introduced in person. However, most of us simply don't have time for in-person introduction and coordinating three schedules is often a challenge. So I usually offer a way of making an introduction that covers all the bases. It goes like this; "If I send an e-mail introduction that includes both of your phone numbers will make sure to reach out to this person?" I've never had anyone say no that question.
Step 3: Send an e-mail introduction. Here's what I usually send to people who I feel would qualify as "geese" (In other words, they probably aren't potential clients for each other, but one or both has a network that would benefit the other.)
Hey Gary and Peter,
I've spoken to you both and feel its time for an introduction. Neither of you are necessarily potential clients for each other (though you never know), but I feel you'd be valuable connections for each other.
Peter Smith is an executive coach specializing in career transition. His website is www.****.com and his number is xxx-123-4567.
Gary is an executive consultant to companies looking to adopt the Triple Bottom Line philosophy that we spoke about. His website is s www.****.com.
His phone number is 123-765-4321.
You're both looking forward to hearing from the other so don't hesitate to be the first to reach out. Make wonderful things happen!
I follow up with at least one of them the following week to make sure they have connected.
If you belong to a referral group this is a form of introduction that is easy to do and is very duplicatable. However, unless you explain how you would like to be introduced it can be difficult to get people to be this proactive with their referrals or introduction. In my experience the best way to get others to embrace the idea of being the source of effective introductions is to be the example.
Side note: In the Hanging Out For a Living world, introductions are simply a higher level of referral. When I ask the metaphorical question "Would rather have the golden egg or the goose that lays the golden egg?", virtually everyone replies that they would rather have the goose. The reason being is that goose is a source of golden eggs. The goose that lays the golden egg is that person or entity who has a network of your client.
Don't get me wrong, I love referrals to people who want to use my Send Out Cards greeting card and gifting service. We all want "ready to buy" referrals. But generally that's a one-off, an egg that generates some revenue but isn't necessarily a source of other clients.
Receiving an introduction to a potential source of clients is always more rewarding and is usually a lot more fun. But what is the best way to make such an introduction? Answer: The way those you are introducing would like to be introduced. The best way to find that out is to just ask.
Conversations with Oscar
Oscar is the ancient master who resides in the teapot.
Although he can be little rough around the edges, Oscar is happy to answer your questions and address your challenges regarding networking, strategic relationship building and other lessons he shares with Tyler in Hanging Out For a Living. You may submit your questions here. However, he is a little sensitive about his age (he was born Dec 4, 587 BC) and his weight (though he carries it well), so watch it!
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