Gaining access to new, targeted contacts at your clients — and beyond with referral sources, prospects, etc.— by asking for warm introductions is a simple and very effective way to grow and nurture your business relationships.
GAINING ACCESS, SAID IN ANOTHER WAY, IS SIMPLY GETTING IN FRONT OF THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
This can sometimes feel like a major hurdle because we, as professionals, can get siloed quickly. Our exposure is limited to internal or external contacts and relationships because…
A). our subject matter expertise has us aligned with the same individuals, day in and day out
B). the breadth of the specific initiatives and projects we are working aligns us with specific individuals at our clients’ firms.
Yet, when we make a concerted effort to advance relationships on behalf of our firm, we break out of our bounded worlds and expand our circles of influence.
TO GAIN ACCESS TO INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE OUTSIDE OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP CIRCLES, YET WHO ALIGN NICELY WITH THE CAPABILITIES OF YOUR FIRM:
1). Do your homework! By understanding the issues your clients and prospects are challenged with, who the key players are behind addressing those issues, and where your firm’s capabilities align…you will be able to identify the key contacts you’d ideally like to connect with over a reasonable time horizon, say 6-12 months.
2). For each targeted contact, map their relationship “ecosystem.” This includes the people they interact with, both formally and informally.
3). Identify who you/your firm already knows in that particular contact’s relationship ecosystem.
4). Of the individuals you (and/or your firm) already know in that targeted contact’s relationship ecosystem, assess who might be ideally suited to provide a credible warm introduction on your behalf. Then reach out to that person and ask for his/her assistance. Offer to provide some email copy or verbiage that s/he can use to support the intro. This usually accelerates the process.
GET STARTED TODAY
LinkedIn is today’s automated tool for doing this client mapping exercise. Its search feature makes identifying targets easy, so log in and play around. (If you are not regularly using this premier, B2B social networking tool to accelerate your relationships and networks, today’s the day to start exploring!)
Set a goal to execute the client mapping process for at least three targeted individuals you/your firm wants to meet in the next six months. Use LinkedIn to find a path into a warm intro to at least one of these targets.
Finally, don’t forget that being a good relationship partner means you should also be a giver — and not just a taker! So while working to identify people in your network who can offer warm introductions for yourself, make a list of contacts you would like to introduce to others from your network.
It’s all about reciprocity!