Introducing vs. Referring


Over the past few training topics, we’ve been learning about a crazy concept I call Network Value Added (NVA) and how we can add value to our network both in and out of Bold Networking.  There are literally dozens of ways to add value; however, we focused on a few key activities like Showing Up, effective Connect Meetings and Inviting others to join your network.  This week we’ll learn a few keys to making effective introductions and compare that to simply passing leads or giving referrals.  

Most professionals I work with would rather work with people they’ve been introduced to vs. cold calling and most people that get introduced to a company would rather do business with them than someone they met cold.  Why?

Five Reasons to Seek and Give Quality Introductions

  • Reduced Prospecting Reluctance – It’s been warmed up a lot, so it’s far easier to make that call and the person that introduced you is even holding you accountable for the follow-up
  • Faster time to business – Introductions typically do business much faster than cold calls
  • Greater Transaction Size – Introductions typically transact much larger initial purchases
  • Enhanced Probability – Much more likely to do business when introduced vs. cold called
  • More Introductions – Those introduced typically continue the cycle of introducing you to others as an expectation of doing business


Professional Introductions:  Bringing together two adults that we believe might have a reason to do business together or may gain value from knowing each other and each other’s network.  Ultimately, this is nothing more than facilitating a conversation to allow the two people being introduced to determine for themselves if staying connected makes sense.  Our role is to ensure both parties are receptive to a conversation and in person whenever possible.

We are not endorsing, vouching for, providing DNA samples, nor criminal background checks; however, as a counter-balance, we do want to diligently protect our network and reputation and introduce professionals that we’ve connected with, know, like, trust, and value.

Leads or Tips:  A lead or tip is NOT an introduction.  A lead or tip is simply pointing someone in the general direction of a possible prospect.  A lead has not given permission to be contacted and the person providing the tip likely doesn’t have much influence or knowledge or the potential prospect.

A lead or tip is generally not much more inviting than a cold call.  Other networking groups typically call these “Referrals.”  If you’ve ever been in a networking organization that requires a certain number of referrals, a lead or tip is likely to happen, because we are being forced to give referrals that may not be of quality nor have they given any permission.

Additionally, if you were in one of those organizations it’s likely that the person referring you had never been trained in giving a proper introduction and may have accidentally set you up for failure, set the expectation way too high, or may have inadvertently put unnecessary pressure on your possible prospect.

Referrals:  Can be an introduction; however, the word referral implies that we are providing a “Reference” for someone and vouching for them, their professionalism, and, perhaps, prequalifying that the referral should do business with the person we are referring them.  Often you may hear me saying the word, “Referral,” however, I am typically referring to a much more powerful and unassuming version of an “Introduction.”

Our role is to ensure both parties are receptive to a conversation and in person whenever possible.

Six Guidelines for Powerful Introductions

  1. Get Permission in advance of the conversation.  Don’t sick the sales killer on the unsuspecting prospect.
  2. Provide the Prospect with your best possible 30-second commercial of the person you are introducing.
  3. Make it okay to say, “No.”
  4. Convey details with crystal clear clarity.  For example, who is calling, texting, or emailing whom, on what number, on what date, and what time.  The more details the better and even a mutual text or email to confirm the details.
  5. Make the introduction in person whenever possible.  Your presence automatically creates additional trust and comfort for both the prospect and the person you’re introducing.
  6. Know your role.  You’re done, so let the two people you’ve introduced have a professional conversation without interrupting and interjecting your thoughts and opinions (aka Hush-it).

For Example:

John, if it’s okay with you and totally okay to say, “No”, I’d like to introduce you to Robert.  Robert helps companies like yours that are crushing it when it comes to sales and leadership, yet may sometimes be a little frustrated that their salespeople aren’t prospecting enough, may be disappointed about falling behind on sales goals, and may even be sick and tired of wasting time and money on free quotes, bids and proposals.  Perhaps you, Robert, and I could have a cup of coffee to explore what he might be able to do for you or others in your network?  Again, totally okay to myself and Robert, “No.”  It won’t hurt our feelings.

Now, if John agrees to a cup of coffee a mutual calendar invitation or email with time, date, location, and even the 30-second commercial and permission to say, “No” are super helpful.  I might include in my calendar invitation or mutual email introduction something like, “John and Robert, I thought the two of you could benefit from knowing each other and learning more about what each of you does.  I’m looking forward to introducing the two of you this coming Tuesday, May 22nd, at 1 pm at Starbucks on 41st and Hudson.  John, it’s still totally okay to tell Robert, “No.”  It won’t hurt either of our feelings and neither of us is assuming that you could even benefit from his services.  Hopefully, when you come across someone you think he might be able to help, you’ll consider making a similar introduction.  See you Tuesday.”

How many introductions might you need every week to grow your business exponentially, if you were getting introduced like this?  I’m guessing not many!  The best way to get introduced to your ideal prospects in this fashion is to start doing it for others in your network and make sure that your teammates are learning right along side you.


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