I had a fantastic meeting this morning with someone who just might be a better networker than I am. And a joy that was to experience!
He taught me a use of LinkedIn that should have been obvious, but I just hadn’t thought of yet.
We had the usual “get to know each other” conversation and then got to the “how can we help each other” part. That’s when he pulled out a sheet of paper with several names on it. All of them are connected to me on LinkedIn, and we went through the list. There are three people I can definitely introduce him to.
Then we talked strategy. Interestingly, he doesn’t use the “Forward a Connection Request” feature of LinkedIn. He says it takes too long. Instead, he has a pre-written email he sends me. I just cut and paste it into my own email introduction, and he takes it from there. I will, of course, take it one level further and contact the people in advance and warm them up. But I can use the text from his email as a starting point for my conversation.
He says sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But networking and sales are a numbers game. If you know who you need to meet and you ask for enough introductions, some of them will come through.
Here’s what was interesting. Both of our methods worked. He brought the list. I told him the category of people I need to meet. He has two names in mind for me, and I have three for him. So we both have introductions to work on for each other.
But I can go look at his LinkedIn profile and see if I can pull up a few more names for him to work on for me. So I’m happy. My way generated a few names, and I have the potential for more.
I think both methods have value. Everyone I know isn’t connected to me on LinkedIn. So I need to know his criteria so I can mine my entire contact list for him. And he doesn’t know my LinkedIn connections as well as I do. I think there is a fourth on my list that he overlooked.
He now knows my criteria, which might shakes loose another name or two. So combining a list of names and specific triggers is more effective than either alone.
Try it the next time you meet with someone who is on LinkedIn. It’s certainly a very good way to be extremely specific, and I think you’ll walk out of the meeting with more introduction possibilities than if you hadn’t.