John Corcoran, Guest Author
I want to outline a framework you can use for making introductions on an ongoing basis. Using just five very simple and easy steps, you can make doing introductions a habit, and both you and your connections will benefit.
Step 1: Identify Your High-Value Contacts
Doing introductions can be time consuming, so it’s valuable to focus on people who matter to you. In other words, it’s best to spend your time connecting people who you would like to deepen your relationship with and who are going to greatly benefit from your introductions.
For me, there are two types of people who automatically go on my personal list of high-value contacts: my clients, and anyone who has been on my podcast. I owe a debt to anyone who has hired me, or given me 30-45 minutes out of their day to be interviewed for my podcast, and therefore I am always trying to think of ways to repay the favor by introducing them to someone else.
Since just about everyone I’ve interviewed on my podcast is kinda a bigger deal than I am, this is a great way to follow up and deepen the relationship after having forged an initial relationship.
Step 2: Be on the Lookout for Introduction Opportunities
The second step is to always be alert for opportunities to make an introduction. Chris Johnson says this doesn’t mean he has to constantly rack his brain for people to introduce, “It’s a reflex. I try hard to remember my network, and remember what they do. I try hard to ask people if there’s any introduction I can make.”
You don’t have to have a complex system. It just takes a little forethought and time. “I don’t have anything like ‘Johnson’s laws of intros,’ says Johnson. “I just try hard to do it once a day.”
In addition, you have to make sure the value in the introduction is reciprocal. If I went around introducing every rabid Jets fan who also happens to love social media to Gary Vaynerchuk, I wouldn’t be giving Gary Vee much value. So it’s better to introduce two people who can provide equal value to one another.
When in doubt, check first to see if your introduction recipients actually want the introduction. They may not. If you don’t check first, you may just create an unwanted, drive-by introduction that burns bridges rather than builds them. The last thing you want is your introduction recipients feeling burdened rather than benefited by the introduction sitting in their inbox, even if it was unintentional.
You wouldn’t stop by a buddy’s house unannounced with someone you want to introduce them to and leave the person sitting on the couch in the living room, so don’t do the same with their inbox.
Step 3: Use Tools to Make Introductions a Regular Habit
Like anything, in order to make a pattern stick, you have to make it a habit.
To make introducing people a habit, I use a couple of simple tools:
One of the most powerful tools for creating any regular habit is the most simple: adding a repeating reminder on your calendar. Give and Take author Grant uses this approach for reconnecting with his “dormant ties” — people who you used to know, but with whom you’ve lost touch. “I added a repeating reminder to my calendar: reconnect with at least one dormant tie each month,” he wrote in The Huffington Post.
A Relationship-Management Program
I use a CRM program called Contactually for managing relationships, in part because it sends me reminders to follow up with people who I haven’t communicated with in a long time. When I receive these reminders, I then think about someone I can introduce them to. By doing so, I give them something of value and I don’t look like I’m just reconnecting for the purpose of trying to get something out of them.
Step 4: Make the Introduction Brief, Relevant, and Fun
A non-urgent introduction can quickly fall to the bottom of the priority list, especially if the people you are introducing are busy, successful professionals. So you have to explain clearly why your introduction matters.
That’s why I try to make my introductions brief and to the point. I want to be respectful of others’ time, which is why I aim to clearly articulate anything the two people I am introducing have in common.
Be wary when introducing very successful, very busy people who likely are the recipient of many introductions of dubious value. The last thing you want to do is create awkwardness by introducing a very successful and very busy person to someone who provides little value in return.
I had interviewed both Andrew and Susan for my own podcast, and I thought Susan would be a good fit for Mixergy.
Now, I could have very easily talked myself out of making this introduction. After all, Andrew has a team of producers and guest bookers who handle booking his guests. Why would he even need me to make an introduction?
The same could be said for Susan. As a bestselling author and in-demand keynote speaker who specializes in talking about mingling, she is incredibly well-connected.
Who am I to be so presumptuous as to introduce those two?
But even well-connected people don’t know everyone on the planet, and Andrew needs a steady stream of quality guests.
So here was my email to Andrew and his team:
I turns out my instincts were right on. Not only had Andrew read Susan’s book, but it turns out he was a big fan.
I immediately did an introduction:
As you can see, I kept the introduction short and made it a little lighthearted.
AoM’s own resident style guru is another expert in the art of the gentlemanly virtual introduction. I wouldn’t be writing for AoM if I hadn’t been the beneficiary of Antonio introducing me to Brett and Kate. Here’s Antonio’s original email:
Antonio’s email was short, to the point, and relevant. He even went the extra step of reporting that he had read through my free ebook and that it was of high quality. That’s why it was a well-executed introduction.
Step 5: Follow Up Later
Finally, follow up with the people you introduce a few weeks or months later to be sure they connected. Oftentimes people get busy and they simply forget to follow through on the introduction you made.
Introductions may simply get lost, or overlooked. That’s why it’s best to have a system for tracking the introductions you do.
Recently, I followed up on one introduction I had made 18 months ago. It turned out the two guys I had introduced had hit it off so well, they had launched a new marketing consulting business together.
I use a free tool called Intros.to which allows you to track your own introductions when you introduce two people via email. You can simply bcc Intros.to, and the system will track your introductions. It can also send you reminders to follow up with people who you introduced previously.
Society as a whole benefits. Apple computer wouldn’t exist if Bill Fernandez hadn’t introduced Steve Jobs to Steve Wozniak. The Beatles would never have recorded a note if Ivan Vaughan hadn’t introduced Paul McCartney to John Lennon.
And where would we be if someone hadn’t introduced Daryl Hall to John Oates? I don’t know about you, but I can’t go for that. No can do.
Copyright © 2014 – John Corcoran. John Corcoran is a former Clinton White House Writer, creator of SmartBusinessRevolution.com. You can download his free 52-page guide, “How to Increase Your Income in 14 Days By Building Relationships with VIPs, even If You Hate Networking.” John works at The Corcoran Law Firm, Attended University of San Francisco School of Law, University of California, Santa Barbara and lives in Marin County, CA. This article originally appeared on the Art of Manliness Website. To read the complete article, click here.
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