What Do I Do If I’m Asked to Make an Introduction That I Don’t Feel Comfortable Making?

533262601_18e2828b7c_oYou guys know I’m a huge fan of making introductions.

Introductions are a great way to provide value to people in your network, to create amazing new relationships, and to grow your own network.

I try to do at least 4-6 introductions per week, and I often do many more than that.

I know: I’m a bit of a junkie. I probably need a 12-step program.

But guess what? If you want to get introduced, start introducing others. And I get introduced to a lot of people because I make a lot of introductions.

That’s why introductions are one of the core ways I suggest you provide value to people in your network in my course, Connect with Influencers.

But if you do introductions the wrong way, or introduce people who don’t have reciprocal value, you will very quickly alienate people in your network. It will backfire on you in a heartbeat.

So here’s the question I got the other day from a reader. To protect the innocent, all names and identifying features have been changed.

Hey John:  I interviewed Sarah Rae (a medium-famous internet celebrity) for my podcast today. Afterwards, Will, who belongs to a forum I belong to, asked me if I would connect him with her, as he would love to try to get her as a client. (And even offered to give me finders fee if he landed her.)

I just met Sarah and I don’t really want to start pushing people on her, however, Will recently let me into his new Copywriting course for free, so I kind of feel like I owe him! It has put me in kind of an awkward situation.

I figured since you are the networking expert you may have faced this situation before and would probably know what the proper protocol.

Do I just tell Will it’s not something I am comfortable doing, or do I say, what the hey, and mention him to Sarah just in case she may need some help with copywriting on her site?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Much thanks,

Joe

 

Here was my advice: Wow, Joe. What a sticky situation.

As a general rule, if someone asks me to introduce them to someone else in my network, I will do it IF there’s reciprocal value both ways. If there isn’t, then I won’t do it.

I’ve had some very famous people on my podcast and I’ve had a few of them ask for an introduction to someone else in my network, or another past guest.

In each of these cases, if I felt there wasn’t immediately obvious reciprocal value or if I feared that person just wanted to “pitch” the other person, then I’ll check in first with the second person.

So you might say to Will something like this:

Hey Will:  I just met Sarah, and I know she’s very successful and busy and probably gets lots of requests, so I’ll check with her and see if she’s open to an intro. She may have a lot of projects and I don’t want to inconvenience her if now is not a good time.

Plus, I don’t want to ruin the opportunity for you to make a meaningful connection with her if it does turn out she’s too busy right now and she doesn’t have time to connect.

So if she’s open to it, I’d be happy to introduce you. I’ll reach out to her and get back to you shortly.

Notice how I said “I don’t want to ruin the opportunity for you to make a meaningful connection with her”?  That shows I am looking out for Will’s best interests. It shows I’m not just brushing him off.

Then I would be honest with Sarah so you don’t look bad if you do intro them and Will does end up pitching her.

To Sarah, you could say something like this:

Hey Sarah: It was a pleasure interviewing you the other day. I will be sure to shoot you a link when the interview goes live.

After our interview, a guy who I know and who belongs to a membership community I belong to asked me if I would introduce him to you.  He does copywriting and I’m sure he’d love to help you at some point (wouldn’t most copywriters!).

So let me know: would you like me to make an introduction?

No harm either way – up to you.

If Sarah says no, then I would probably let Will down gently. I could tell him she said she’s really busy right now because of XYZ project, just so he doesn’t feel too bad.

Your goal here is to preserve the relationships on both sides, so there’s no hard feelings.

Now let’s talk about what Will should really do. What Will should be doing is not be so focused on landing Sarah as a client right off the bat, because that will turn anybody off.

What Will should do is have some other reason for connecting with Sarah, like maybe interviewing her. Because if he just immediately begins pitching her then YOU are going to look bad to Sarah and you’ll wish you didn’t even get into the copywriting course beta.

Because as you know, relationships are really more valuable than any “beta” access to some new course — no matter how good the information in that course.

 

Do you have any advice for Joe? How would you handle this sticky situation?

 

Comments

  1. John Lombard says:

    Agree 100%…but I would like to add that, in general, I will almost ALWAYS say that I’m going to ask the other person, before doing an introduction; not just when an introduction may be awkward or inconvenient.

    To me, it’s an issue of respecting each person’s time. I may think that there’s a GREAT person to introduce you to…but that other person may not be so excited (they may be too busy, they may not think that it is appropriate, etc.). By introducing them without first asking permission, I’m now putting them in the same position you’re complaining about here — except now it is THEM who have to try to find a polite way of extricating themselves from a difficult situation.

    To be honest, this was something of an issue for me at your mastermind events (and you know I love them!). One person in particular (no names) was quite proud to offer me ‘instant introductions’ to two key contacts. However, he hadn’t even fully understood my product, and both introductions turned out to be less than ideal. It was obvious in both cases that they weren’t terribly excited about this introduction, but felt obligated to try to do something for me anyway, because they felt they owed it to the person who had introduced us. Ultimately, both intros proved dead ends…and further, created awkward situations that will make it more difficult for me to contact those same people in future if a more appropriate opportunity arises.

    I’m not a fan of the ‘instant introduction’. I’m a HUGE fan of saying, “Hey, I know someone who may be a great connection for you, let me just send them a quick intro to see if they’d be interested”. If I’m not confident of explaining their product/service/need accurately, I’ll ask them to give me a brief summary in their own words, so that I can be sure I’m giving the other person accurate information.

    Short-term, this involves a little more work from me; but long-term, I think it benefits EVERYONE’S relationships, and demonstrates more respect to everyone involved.

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