The key to good networking is not only meeting new people, but to serve as a referral source for others. But it doesn’t work to just tell someone, “you should call Bob. Tell him I sent you.” That’s a cheap cop-out, and those calls are bound to fail.
For one thing, Bob is immediately going to be suspicious of anyone who calls him and starts name dropping. So he’s wary as you explain what you’re looking for.
Plus, he’s not emotionally invested. Sure, I told you to call Bob, but Bob doesn’t know why. And Bob isn’t going to trust you enough to say,”Oh, well if Erik sent you, you must be wonderful!” Bob needs me to tell him that you’re wonderful.
This is where the email introduction comes in. And if you’re a good networker, this is how you’ll introduce people. It’s quick, it’s effective, and it’s certainly a lot cheaper than inviting them both to lunch.
A good email introduction to people involves three things:
- An explanation of how you know each person.
- An explanation of how and why they can help each other.
- Some enthusiasm. You shouldn’t just connect people for the sake of making a connection. Connect them because you think they can actually do some good for each other.
Here’s how that email introduction should look.
Bob, meet Rachel Wentzel. Rachel is a direct mail marketer, and has helped a lot of companies with their own direct mail campaign. I’ve known her for several years, after she helped me with my own business.
Rachel, meet Bob Heintzel. Bob owns a marketing agency that specializes in digital strategies for B2B companies. I’ve worked with Bob for five years and watched him create some effective strategies that helped his clients excel.
Bob and I were talking over coffee today, and he mentioned that he had a client who wanted to launch a catalog campaign, and I immediately thought of Rachel.
I think that together, the two of you can help each other out, and make great things happen for each other and for Bob’s client. I’ll leave it to you to go forward from here. Good luck!
Let’s break it down
In this example, I’ve given a background of each person, and what I think the other person needs to know. I’ve also explained how I know them, so as to add some credibility to my recommendation.
I also explained the inspiration for making the introduction — Bob has a client who needs a catalog campaign. I do this because I can’t wait for them to figure it out themselves. Bob may find a direct mail provider before he ever sits down with Rachel, but I don’t want that. So I make it obvious.
Then, I step back and let them take the reins; they don’t need me for this. They can figure out a time to meet for coffee or lunch, have a nice conversation, learn more about each other, and then hopefully Bob will ask for assistance with his new client. If not, hopefully Rachel will remember to.
Finally, when it comes to an introduction like this, Rachel should take the initiative and reach out to Bob first. Why? Because she needs something Bob has, a paying client. Bob may not be in as much of a rush, so Rachel needs to take the first step, rather than waiting for Bob to clear his calendar.
Successful networkers aren’t known by the number of people in their Contacts list. Successful networkers are known by the number of referrals they make. Don’t just collect people in your email list or LinkedIn network. Do some actual good in the world and make email introductions between people you know. Explain how you know them, why they should know each other, and be enthusiastic about it.