Everybody wants introductions to clients. Everybody wants introductions to good centers of influence that will help them meet new clients. The key to making both of these points work is to make it easy for others to help you.
Know your Centers of Influence (COI).
Everybody should know who their centers of influence are and be able to list them at any time. This list should be short, concise and easy to understand. Three COIs is a good number.
Make your list as specific as possible. Do not just say you want to meet an attorney. People’s eyes glaze over when they hear this because the description is too vague. Be specific: ask to be introduced to an immigration attorney working in NYC with clients from Latin America. People will feel challenged and will want to get you that introduction.
Ask for people who are looking for the same COIs as you, but for different reasons. For example, if you are an attorney looking to meet small business owners in NYC, ask to meet outsourced CFOs or tech support people. These people are working with the same clients you want to meet who have already demonstrated a willingness to “outsource” unique skills.
A great way to enhance your COI list is to explain how this is a mutually beneficial relationship. Many people like to get introductions to Accountants/CPA’s or Trust and Estate attorneys. Unfortunately, most people think of this as a one way street. They only discuss how these people can help them. When asking for an introduction to a COI, be sure to explain how it can help them as well.
When people ask who sends you business at a networking group or event, don’t say, “clients, friends and/or family”. This is completely unhelpful because nobody can refer you to those people except you. Get clear on who your COI list so you can communicate it when asked.
Asking for help with Email
Keep a list of COIs handy. It’s helpful to email this list to people who ask for them. This way, they don’t have to remember how to help you; you’ve provided them with assistance.
This email should also include a complete e-signature with your name, title company, phone numbers, email address etc. Make it easy for your information to copied and pasted in an introduction. I recently received a newsletter/offer from a local businessperson offering to provide a service. His e-signature at the bottom did not include his email address and the return email address was to a “non reply” address. How am I supposed to call on him for his services or pass along along the offer?
Keep a short précis of what you do along with your COIs that you can send to people who want to make introductions for you. When somebody introduces you, they will do it with your words making sure you are introduced in the best possible way.
Edited by Meg Buck