Making (or requesting) introductions:
- Always use the double-opt-in method. It costs a little more time but is far more respectful of everyone involved and ensures you don’t burn anyone’s (especially your own!) social capital :).
- Don’t burn your (or your mentor’s) social capital. Only ask for introductions that are most relevant to your strategy right now. If offered many introductions, only act on the ones most relevant. Communicate why you are only asking for/acting on a few: “I want to respect your social capital and only talk to people who will be a great fit so they are happy to have spoken with me, and happy that you connected us.”
When you get introduced
Here are a few simple rules to make sure you are Awesome. Awesome people do better and get more referrals :).
- Provide value in every interaction – ask “how can I help you?” This involves 5 minutes of research into the contact so that you can ask intelligent questions / provide contacts. Odds are they won’t ask you to help, but that you care says a lot!
- Connect via LinkedIn, and if relevant, ask for connections. Smart people use this and get phenomenal results!
- Follow up with at least a thank you email to both the person who helped you and the person who referred you. Add one sentence of what you got out of the interaction and it will increase the warmth and fuzz 5x!
- Bcc Referrers.When you get introduced to someone, make sure to put the referrer on the BCC line so they don’t get all the replies. When you do so start your email with something like “[ReferrerName], thank you so much for the intro! I’ve moved you to BCC to spare your inbox. [MentorName], it is great to make your acquaintance…”
- Make it easy to schedule the meeting. Don’t give the person a link to click to go to a page to view and pick dates… save them a step by either directly listing dates and times as text in your email or by using a spiffy tool like MixMax to embed the options as buttons right in the email. Do this yourself, do not delegate it to an admin as it sends the wrong signals.
- Promote every connection – Send out a shout of thanks on twitter and retweet a message of theirs that is meaningful (where possible). This can be done on any of the social media platforms.
- Use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to keep track of all the people you are talking to. A lot are free – do not let valuable connections fall through the cracks!
- Ask to put contacts on a quarterly newsletter – (see crm above). People who help you generally would like to know that something came of it, and this is an automated way of maintaining your network. This is not the same as marketing emails!
The content of this post is inspired by one first put out on the Valley Venture Mentors blog and was inspired by advice from the awesome VVM Mentorship and Accelerator alum Damon Magnuski, co-founder of www.peoplehedge.com