Warm introductions are the premier currency of business networks. We trust the opinions of our close connections. There’s a reason referrals convert at a 3-5x higher rate and boast a 16% higher life-time value than non-referred customers. The power of warm introduction is also underscored in recruiting trends. Professional networks are the number one source of quality hires. Referrals are hired 55% faster than their counterparts sourced from career sites. They also remain at companies longer than those hired via job boards or career sites.
Whether you're asking for an introduction to a valuable candidate or asking for an introduction to a lucrative potential business partner, referrals are the single most effective way to achieve your desired outcome.
Why are warm introductions so valuable? Warm introductions take advantage of what can be referred to as transitive trust. When you've established credibility with your introducer, and that person has established credibility with the person you ultimately want to connect with, you will, in turn, be better able to establish credibility with your ultimate target. When our connections vouch on our behalf, we’re much more likely to get our foot in the door. The social proof provided by a referral carries immense value and weight.
But there’s an art associated with asking for an introduction. One misstep can obstruct the transitive property that's so valuable to warm introductions. Here are three important considerations to bear in mind when asking for an introduction.
1. Determine if your introducer actually knows the person you hope to connect with.
Our professional network, as determined by most social media platforms, is severely flawed. We tend to accept connections haphazardly so long as we share a certain threshold of mutual connections with the person sending the invite. It's as easy as the click of a button, literally.
Social media algorithms are heavily weighted according to quantity of connections, rather than quality of connections. Oftentimes a “first-degree connection” is not indicative of an actual personal connection. Case in point: only about 28% of our Facebook friends can actually be considered “genuine."
Before asking for an introduction, it’s important to verify whether your introducer does, in fact, know the person you are hoping to connect with. If you ask your introducer, "Can you intro me to Joe Smith?" and your introducer has minimal knowledge about Joe Smith, they'll likely be unable to offer much value and therefore your request is a waste of both parties time.
Fortunately, you can determine the strength of any relationship by leveraging AI to analyze communication data. Affinity is the only platform that serves up an accurate relationship score, while also allowing you to leverage Affinity's Alliances to connect with your introducer and unlock who they know and how well they know them. Affinity gives you a bird's eye view of their real-time network, enabling you to accurately assess the potential value of an introduction from them.
2. Set your introducer up for success
Time is our most valuable asset. It's important to take the time and do the heavy lifting to set your introducer up for success. Provide them with context as to why the person you want to connect with should be willing to invest the time to meet with you. Why is it worth their while? Give them context pertaining to the value you'll be able to provide. For example, if you're hoping to connect with a potential investor, clearly articulate why you're a good fit for their firm and align with their investment thesis. When structuring your intro email, it’s best to subscribe to the KISS methodology - "Keep it simple, stupid” - and adhere to email etiquette, including using the double opt-in approach.
3. Be thankful.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions. Research indicates that gratitude and thankfulness are linked to a deeper sense of commitment to an individual. When we express gratitude, it has an effect not only on us- the people saying "thanks", but also on the people receiving the "thanks". There is a strong positive relationship between gratitude and the quality of relationships. Gratitude triggers trust and, in doing so, fortifies relationships.
When asking for an introduction, don’t forget to be thankful. The simple act can increase the likelihood that your introducer will perform similar acts in the future. Gratitude involves more than merely saying “thanks”. Send a hand-written thank you note or a personal gift to your introducer. Follow up and let them know how their introduction impacted your success. Small acts of gratitude make a big difference.
Warm introductions are a speedway to new business opportunities. Use Affinity’s Alliances to rev up your business momentum and gain a fastpass to new lucrative business opportunities.
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