Lately I’ve been putting a lot more thought into both the power and process behind bringing the right people together with introductions.
Connecting people has been part of my persona for a long time. Not only is it something I find fulfilling, but over the years have noticed that good introductions often come back with future benefits I never anticipated – such as introductions from people I connected who later put me in touch with someone else that made a difference for me.
With my mission at Upstate Venture Connect focused on helping first time entrepreneurs more easily connect to the right resources, creating a network effect for introductions well beyond my own horizon was the genesis behind my partnering with Mike Krupit to launch IntroNet.
As a result, I think a lot harder now about both my introduction process and that of others, including how to optimize process for the benefit of all those involved in an introduction transaction.
IntroNet did a brief survey of people who introduce others and several of the findings reinforced things I believed but never had seen data on previously.
One of the findings was a personal pet peeve in the introduction process – recipients of an introduction who fail to update the connector (person who made the introduction).
In the survey, only 16% of respondents indicated they “almost always” follow up with the connector. The 84% balance was nearly evenly split between respondents saying their follow up was either “sometimes” or “rarely.”
It seems to track with my own experience. I probably do about 3-5 introductions a week and while I may be copied on the initial connection reply (confirming the recipient got the introduction), it is probably only about 10 – 15% of my introductions that I ever hear anything subsequent on whether the introduction made a difference for the parties I connected.
Even in situations where I am referring a new business opportunity to a salesperson (including at my companyTriNet), it seems more often than not I don’t find out about sales progress or lack thereof unless I go back and ask about it.
Knowing if my introduction was on target or not helps me calibrate the appropriateness of the next introduction I might be able to do for that person. Like most power connectors, I want only to send high value introductions and not waste anyone’s time with referrals that are not a match.
You don’t have to be in sales or biz dev to reap rewards from a solid introduction originating from a well-placed source seeking to help you.
But if you want to encourage that source to come back to you with a future introduction, give him or her an update on what happened with the introduction they made. If it didn’t work out, explain why not. If it did, elaborate on why it was a good fit.
In either case, you’ll be reinforcing the value you’re placing on the connector taking time to make the introduction in the first place – and likely making it easier for them to send you an even better introduction next time around.