In consulting, the size of your network matters. Whether you’re making rain for a $40k startup or a $40m boutique consulting firm, one of your challenges is increasing your pool of prospects—contacts who could become lucrative, long-term clients.
Most prospective clients looking at you and Jack O’Lantern don’t know which one of you is the consultant. They haven’t a clue who you are or what your consulting firm does. That’s why the first pillar of the Six Pillars of Consulting Success is “Know.” You must find more ways to become known by prospects.
At the heart of becoming known is networking: reaching out to your current contacts, nurturing those relationships and gaining introductions to new prospects.
Since you want introductions, I’ll assume you’re already in conversation with an existing contact. From there, follow the five-step introductions plan below.
Your Five-Step Introductions Plan
Step 1: Establish the Connection
First, of course, you have to identify the person to whom you’ll be introduced. You have two choices for this.
- Most often, you won’t have anyone specific in mind and you’ll be asking for general introductions. The best language for this request is described in this article.
- Occasionally, you’ll have identified a specific person you’d like to meet. In these cases, confirm the connection with your targeted prospect by saying something like, “I saw on Instagram that you’re best friends with Franken Stein.”
Step 2: Request the Introduction
Once your contact offers you a name or confirms he knows your targeted prospect, ask for an introduction. You can use very straightforward language: “Would you be willing to broker an introduction between Franken and me?”
Step 3: Request an “I.T.” Introduction
Like Halloween candies, introductions come in many forms. And like candies, some are much better than others.
I (Introduction). Basic introductions are like single rolls of Smarties: generic sweets that don’t do you much good. Your contact resorts to flat language like, “You’re both smart people and I figured you’d enjoy knowing each other.”
I.E. (Introduction + Endorsement). Like mini bags of M&Ms, I.E. introductions are a step up. Your contact offers specific rationale to support your value. He describes you as, “… one of the smartest pumpkin-carving consultants I’ve met. I’ve read many articles in his squash newsletter and have always been impressed.”
I.T. (Introduction + Testimonial). These are the full-size, Theo salted almond chocolate bar of introductions. Your contact references his own work with you, in a statement like, “He helped us in last year’s spooky efforts to terrify children and thanks to his help we registered a 35% decibel increase in screams.”
Step 4: Write and Send the Testimonial
One of the keys to making the I.T. introduction powerful is writing the testimonial yourself. If you wait for your contact to pen the praise, you may never receive it or you may be disappointed by the content. Always offer to send a draft to your contact.
Step 5: Follow-Up
Follow-up almost goes without saying. But so does sharing trick-or-treating spoils with one’s parents. A timely reminder never goes astray. Follow up on the introduction promptly. Thank your contact for the introduction and the praise, then quickly offer to set up a conversation with the new prospect.
Is the 5-step plan too scary to take on, or can you use it to load up on sweet new prospects? Tell me your reaction by writing a comment, below.
Text and images are © 2018 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.