Whether you’re looking for new customers for your business or for a job, you’ll need to get comfortable introducing yourself (and others) by email or on LinkedIn.
People seem to find this difficult, so I thought it would be helpful to give some examples.
Introducing yourself to connect on LinkedIn
There will most likely be situations where you want to connect with someone you don’t know who is at a higher title level, or an influencer of some kind. I wanted to connect with a C-level executive at my former employer because she was addressing some issues I care about.
I could have spun out about how high up the food chain she was or how she would never respond or whatever. Instead, I sent this:
Dear <name>, I was thrilled to see the way <Company> is addressing well-being and mental health. Having worked at <Company>, <Competitor>, and <Competitor>, I understand the challenges professionals face. I am writing a book focused on working and stress, anxiety, and depression. I hope we can connect.
She accepted my connection request within hours.
Maybe she accepts all connection requests, but it probably helped that I was crystal clear about why I wanted to connect, and more importantly, why I was relevant.
Here are two examples for professionals in job search:
Dear <name>, I recently applied for the Account Executive position at <Company>. I have a strong background in sales, and have been involved in <industry> for the past 9 years. I am excited by <Company> and its mission and I would appreciate the opportunity to connect with you.
~ <your name>
Dear <name>, I recently applied for the Operations Manager position with <Company>. I have a strong background in operations, business development, and coaching, and have spent the past 9 years in the <industry>. I would appreciate the opportunity to connect with you.
~ <your name>
Introducing professionals to each other
There is the correct way and the less-effective way to make business introductions. A good business introduction is like a nugget of gold – and a deposit in the “karma bank.” It can strengthen your connection and value to and with the people you introduce. You look like a star because you were able to help someone find a potential solution to their problem. And the person / vendor you refer is grateful for the lead and also thinks you are amazing.
However, the way you actually make the introduction is very important, and can greatly impact whether this introduction converts into business for the people being introduced.
Let me give you two examples.
I found a client of mine a mentor who had built a big business and had a successful exit. I asked both of them if they would like me to introduce them. Here’s what I wrote:
One of my clients, I’ll call him Mike, was asked to submit a proposal for a project. He was very qualified for certain pieces of it but lacked some of the knowledge needed to properly scope and price the project. On top of that, he was on a deadline with a client of his and didn’t have time to write the proposal to meet the deadline.
I introduced Mike to another client of mine, Donna. Donna had the complementary knowledge that Mike needed to see the whole picture of what the client required so he could come up with a price. In addition, Donna was a strong writer and had some availability.
The cherry on top was that I knew she had recently bid on something similar and had already gone through the thought process so it wouldn’t take her very long.
I could have done something lame like just sending Mike her email, but I think you need to position your business introductions: I think you need to tell each person WHY they need to talk to the other person. Basically, I am recommending that you sell it. So my email went something like this.
Donna, Mike is a long-time client of mine. He is a top-notch writer and copy editor. He has a proposal opportunity for <institution> that he needs some help with. It’s a website buildout from basic landing pages to version 2.0. The details are very similar to the <other project> you were working on in some ways. The really good news:
Mike is a great writer but needs your technical knowledge and marketing strategy savvy to round out his offering <link to Mike’s website>.
Mike, meet my client Donna <link to Donna’s website> who has a background that includes website design, SEO, and marketing. She also has some <relevant industry> background and recently did an expert presentation about <relevant topic> at a conference in Atlanta.
You two should definitely connect.
Do you see how that is much more powerful than just a bland connection with an email address or phone number?
These two professionals are now RELEVANT to each other. They will actually be talking and possibly doing business together (not playing phone tag for weeks).