Once you’ve identified an introduction on LinkedIn, how do you actually get face-to-face? The secret to getting in front of that second-degree connection resides in the request. It takes an impeccable blend of thoughtfulness and graciousness.
From our research and coaching, we’ve discovered some elements that increase the probability of getting a response from your potential introducer. Obviously, there is no surefire way to guarantee a response, but including a few or all of the elements below can dramatically increase the likelihood of not just a response, but also a personal introduction.
Most importantly, you need to convey a sense of both appreciation and importance in the request. This is accomplished by taking the time to write a well thought-out request. At times we fall victim to being too impersonal on social networks - too down to business. A “Larry, I’d like to meet your first degree connection John Smith” won’t cut it in today’s social selling world.
The following are a few keys we’ve seen to opening the introduction door.
1. Start with something personal, informal, and brief.
It was great seeing you the other night at Printworks Bistro. It sounded like you have some great vacation plans this summer.
2. Ask for the introduction in a careful and courteous manner - then inquire about the depth of relationship.
I'm writing to learn if you can help expand my reach in the widest way possible. I see that you have a first-degree connection to John Smith, COO of Chevron. If you know him beyond just being connected on LinkedIn, are you willing to personally introduce me to Mr. Smith?
3. Explain to the introducer why the introduction makes sense – they need to see the logic behind your request.
As you know, I work with many high-level executives at Chevron and have been able to help them with X, Y, Z.
4. Give the introducer a few options and then involve them in the process by asking their opinion.
If you are open to making a direct introduction, I could draft a short correspondence that you can use as your starting template, or I would be happy to treat the two of you to lunch. What do you think would be the best way for us to meet?
5. Give them an out – being too pushy will push them away.
If you cannot or do not want to make this introduction, I completely understand.
6. Mention that you realize it’s a big favor and then offer to return the favor.
I realize I am asking a huge favor, but if you are able to introduce us, I really appreciate it. Also, please let me how I can return the favor.
There you have it. Don’t rush your request and give each step your unique spin. Remember, it has to have your voice! Your clients and COIs will see right through a copy and paste.
Kevin Nichols is a thought-leader with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. Follow him on twitter @KevinANichols www.Oechsil.com