I remember in 2006 I had just been fired from a job that I hated.
I was pretty determined to not have to go back to “just another job” where I would spend my days just waiting for the weekend as I grinded it out in meetings that had no meaning to me.
So I began learning everything I could about people who get well paid AND love their work. Let’s call these people “Happy High Achievers.”
One of the things that I observed right away is that Happy High Achievers don’t often get jobs by traditional means. When you’re outside and looking in it almost seems random. It’s not though.
It also doesn’t have anything to do with applying 200 plus times on Indeed or LinkedIn.
So how do they do it?
Well we’ve talked in the past about the importance of prioritizing what you want. That’s step 1, you must understand where you’re going to make it easier to get there. That said Happy High Achievers realize that people hire other people (not companies and not computers) which means that the very biggest short cut to finding work that fits you (or even getting positions created for you) is through relationships.
Now over the years I personally have found the very fastest way to begin a relationship with someone else isn’t networking events (and it definitely isn’t speed networking!) It’s also not social media.
Instead it’s through something far easier: introductions.
THE MOST POWERFUL RELATIONSHIP BUILDING HACK YOU ALREADY HAVE IN YOUR TOOLBOX: HOW TO CONNECT WITH ANYONE
Let’s say that you and I know each other, Let’s also say that I don’t know you as well as I know my wife but I trust you and have respect for you.
Now let’s also say that you say “Scott, I have someone you must meet”
When you introduce me to someone else, a portion of that trust and credibility comes with them because it’s from a familiar source. There’s a great group of research about this that Robert Cialdini put together in his famous book Influence, the Science and Art of Persuasion.
But even if you didn’t know anything about the research you’ve seen this happen already.
Real world psychology of persuasion at work without you knowing:
You invite your friends to dinner. One of your friends brings another friend of theirs. Dessert and a glass of wine later you have a new relationship because you now like them and have a measure of trust with this new person who entered your life 2 hours before.
Think about what would happen if instead that same person that you’ve never met before shows up randomly and unannounced. They ask if they can eat dinner with you. You’re likely to say “no” because of the strange out of context request plus the fact that you’ve never met this person before.
But if instead you choose to invite them in because you’re just that nice of a person and you’re already eating dinner anyways, you’re likely to either be more skeptical or the relationship and trust building process is going to move slower.
HOW TO GET A FREE RIDE ON THE RELATIONSHIP BUILDING TRAIN
It’s now your job to be “brought to the dinner as a friend”.
Or more accurately your goal is now to create the time, place and events that allows you to enter the life of someone else in a way that increases their chances of liking you, trusting you and deeming you as credible.
If you remember our Happy High Achievers from above and study what they do, you begin to realize there are lots of ways to leverage introductions to build relationships. We actually teach all of these in our Career Change Bootcamp but for today, we’re going to focus specifically on the email introduction (which can also be used for a LinkedIn Introduction too).
Let’s assume that you already have the basics in place for the introduction. Someone you know, knows someone else you want to know.
Most people simply ask for an introduction… that would be a mistake.
How to get an introduction on LinkedIn or Email
Here’s an example of an introduction formula (not script) that works very well!
Ok, let’s break this down into a formula so that you can understand why this works.
Someone they already know and like (you)
+ Context of your request
+ Shared Intention
+ Giving them an out
+ Making it something they can say yes to
= Their willingness to make the introduction for you
You didn’t realize there was that much buried in this super short message did you?
Let’s look at it again!
You’ll notice that every line and set of words is there intentionally and making up a piece of the email or LinkedIn introduction request.
Next step after you have each piece? Press send.
I’ve asked for an introduction. What now?
Most people think that you’re work stops after this point, but Happy High Achievers know that it doesn’t. So what’s next?
First: If they say “no” that’s ok, They might be connected to the other person but not know them really well or maybe they just aren’t comfortable with the intro. That’s ok. Move on and find someone else to make the intro for you.
If they say “yes” perfect. This is the point where you prepare an intro for them.
Writing an introduction serves a couple purposes.
- It helps make it easier on them to send it (even if they said no need to send over an example intro, do it anyway. They may have good intentions to write their own but not actually get it done. )
- It’s also easier for most people to modify something that’s there vs. writing something from scratch.
Here’s an actual example:
Don’t forget to ask them to cc you on the intro that way you can respond and take it from there!
After they’ve sent the introduction, you’re off to the races. Work to schedule a call with the person or get a time set up to meet. But as you’ve probably guessed there’s even more ways to make this process more valuable.
How to make introductions the gift that keeps on giving
Now here is quite possibly the coolest thing. After you’re done with the conversation that you’ve just had with your new contact, you can ask is there anyone else that you think that I should meet that ______<<<fill in the blank
Works in Artificial Intelligence
Is in a high level strategy role
is someone who you respect what they’re doing in learning and development.
Whatever it is they might very well say “oh you must meet my friend Jenny”
Then guess what? This is where you say “fantastic, would you be willing to introduce me?”
Congratulations you’ve just mastered one of the most effective ways to be able to begin real relationships with real human beings that you want to get to know!
How can you use this in your life, job search, career, business or anyplace else?
Transcript from Episode
Scott Barlow: I remember back in 2006 I had just been fired from a job I really hated. It didn’t really fit. The company didn’t sync up with my values. It was no good. At that same time my wife and I only had about 10 weeks of money so I had to make a job change pretty quick. I wanted to make sure I was making a change to something I enjoyed and wanted to be doing something that aligned with my values. That is a whole bunch of pressure as it turns out when you have 10 weeks of cash total and a bunch of debt to boot. A lot of mistakes we probably shouldn’t have made but learned from.
It forced me to get really interested and clear about how people that love their work and are at jobs that fit them well and get paid well often don’t get jobs by traditional means; they don’t. There are a few, but they are far and wide, as I was forced into that situation and observed and started talking to people that were doing what I wanted.
Over the next ten years really digging into and studying people that love their work and later over the last five years getting to help those people – We’ve observed most people don’t get those types of opportunities by applying online and going to indeed.com. Miraculously. Go ahead and submit their profile and resume and everything on indeed.com and boom job. It doesn’t happen that way at all. It’s usually back-door non-conventional means. When you are outside looking in it seems almost random but it’s not at all. Like the many things we do we want to look at how do these outliers do this differently? That very small group of people don’t think in the same way about this. They don’t think hey I’m going to pump out 200 applications today on their favorite internet job board. So how do they do it?
First, you have to realize, and we’ve talked about this in the past and teach this with Career Change Bootcamp. Many of these people have already prioritized what they want and what they are great at. Let’s assume you’ve done that already. We have a bunch of resources to help you on our website or at figureitout.co. You can sign up for our 8 day course and one of the first things helps you get clear on your strengths and what you want. Let’s assume you’ve done that already and have a great idea, intricate and clear, of what you want and can articulate it incredibly well the things you are the best at or have the potential to be great at. Your strengths not skills. You are already there.
Fast forward. Instead I’d love to talk about how you can go through some of those backdoor methods specifically how you can connect to anyone through introductions. We are going to talk about a few different ways to do this effectively. This is something we teach through our coaching and bootcamps. It’s something we’ve found to be one of the most effective ways to connect to anyone in the world at any time. I want to help you understand why it works and how to get it to work for you effectively and why we are talking about it versus any other method. We teach a lot of methods but this is one that many people can use but is so underutilized because people have a tendency to make excuses like I don’t have anyone on my network or I don’t introduce very well or any other number of excuses. Instead once you move past those excuses this can be a very effective method.
We are going to talk about how to make a slam dunk introduction and I’ll give you examples. Let’s get right into it. Why an introduction in the first place?
We want to start with the lowest hanging fruit first rather than have people pick up the phone cold, which we have done a lot of and I’ve got job offers from that and many of our students have too and it’s an effective way to learn about companies. We teach it in Career Change Bootcamp. It’s not the only way. An often easier and lower barrier faster way is to start out with introductions. It really is the lowest hanging fruit.
Let’s talk about why it works. Let’s pretend you and I know each other really well. We are good friends and I trust you a whole bunch. If you introduce me to someone else a portion of that trust and credibility I feel for you comes over with that new person because it’s a familiar source. That may sound strange and you may have seen it in action. It comes from a group of research that Robert Cialdini put together in his famous book Influence. I love that book, it’s a really great understanding of a lot of tools you can use to build relationships, trust, and credibility. Particularly it talks about likeability and establishing authority. That is where introductions can come into play well.
There is a variety of ways to do it. Even if you don’t know anything about the research I bet you’ve seen this happen. At some point you have done something like invite friends over to dinner and one friend brings another and before long you like that person with a measure of trust and are telling stories and enjoying yourself. This is a new person that just entered your life. In contrast think of what would happen instead if you all of a sudden have someone you’ve never met before show up on your doorstep randomly and they are like hey what’s up can I eat dinner? You are probably likely to say no or be off put because of the strange out of context request. But let’s say you decide to invite them inside because maybe you are already eating or you are just that nice of a person. You are likely to be more skeptical or the relationship and trust building process will move slower even if it’s the exact person that would come over with your friend I want you to think of that analogy. It is your job as we talk about introductions to be that friend that is brought to dinner. You want to create the time and place so it is equivalent of being brought to dinner as a friend. Think of it as creating the space, time, place, and events that allow you to enter the life of someone else that increases the chances of them liking you trusting you and deeming you as credible.
As you are going to learn there are many ways to make this happen. We teach a whole bunch in Career Change Bootcamp. For today I want to focus on the email introduction. This can be used as a LinkedIn introduction. Let’s assume you have the basics. Someone you know knows someone else you want to know. Here is how to request an introduction. I suppose you can do it in person too.
You can simply say are you willing to introduce me to Tim over at Google. For the sake of email you can say:
Hey Patricia, I’m spending the next couple months researching companies to decide my next career move and what companies I’m interested in. I noticed you are connected with Tim over at Google on LinkedIn and I was wondering if you would be willing to introduce me to Tim. If you are willing I would love to make it easier on you by writing an introduction up for you and you can modify it and that way it’s easy on you. If you aren’t willing totally okay, no worries but if so, I’d very much appreciate it. Let me know yes or no and I’ll send something right over thank you so much.
And that is it. It can be that simple of an email.
Let’s break it down as to why it works.
1)You have to provide context. It doesn’t matter as much what you say but more if the context helps them understand the reason you are asking and helps lay out the next steps in the email.
Context: Hey Patricia, I’m spending the next couple months researching companies trying to decide on my next career move.
2) Then after I’ve laid that out I can set up the request.
Request: I was wondering if you would be willing to introduce me to Tim over at Google.
I’m proving additional context as to why I’m asking this specifically. I noticed you were connected on LinkedIn. That is the request.
3) Then I work to make sure they understand I’m not going to be asking a lot of them. Which is critical.
Hey if you are willing I’d be willing to write the intro up for you so you can modify it and make it easier on you.
4) Then it’s important I give them an out. Really important. One, because it’s a nice thing to do as a human. Second, there could be a variety of reasons they aren’t comfortable with it. That is where I say:
If not no worries, but if so I’d really appreciate it.
I make it super easy for them to respond yes or no. Yes I’d be willing that’s fantastic.
If they say no that’s okay they might be connected on LinkedIn but maybe don’t know them that well or aren’t comfortable with the introduction. Totally okay, move on and find someone else to introduce you. You are going to get no’s sometimes that is 100% okay and it’s part of the process and program. For some people you will take it personally but try not to. It’s normal and there might be reasons that they don’t want to or maybe they are just too busy. It depends on your relationship with them to. If they say yes though, perfect.
That is where you get to prepare an introduction for them. This is a step most people don’t do but I consider it a must for every introduction that I request from somebody. If I’m going to ask you to do something for me I’m going to make for damn sure I’m making it as easy on you as possible. Why wouldn’t I do that? I’m asking you to do something and I want to make it more likely that you are capable of doing it because you have your own things going on and are pretty busy. At that point I realize I need to make it super easy for you.
Writing an introduction serves a couple purposes. It makes it easier for them to send it but it’s easier for most people to modify something that is there versus writing from scratch. It sets expectations of what you want sent. That is important. It’s a way where you aren’t saying I need you to make sure you are asking… It’s instead putting it right in there which creates expectations of what they will send and makes it more effective when they send it. I’ll share some of the expectations. I should say even if they say there is no need to send an example introduction do it anyway. They might have good intentions to write their own but maybe they won’t get it done. What they thought wasn’t needed all of a sudden is and it’s helpful. If they don’t use it it’s okay too.
You can send over the introduction and say here’s the introduction I’m 100% okay if you don’t want to use it or feel free to modify anything. Thank you so much for being willing to do this in the first place. I really appreciate it.
Let me give you an actual example from someone we worked with. This is an introduction Audrey Romagnuolo used and got from someone else connected with one of the company’s she was exploring. You can hear her episode and entire story in 207. This is one example out of many and I’ll break it down and show you why it works.
I hope you are doing well up there in Massachusetts. It’s 75 and sunny here in Dallas so I can’t complain. I want to introduce you to Audrey Romagnolo. Audrey and I met through a coach we both work with. She is currently interested in learning more about the roles available at Predictive Index at the home office in Boston. She is really engaged and excited about the mission of helping companies realize the potential of their employees. I suggested that she talk to both of you based on your levels of influence and your respective roles. I would also suggest setting up a call in the next couple of weeks so that you can learn more about her and she can learn more about your company. All the best connecting. Take care.
Breaking that down you have a basic greeting modified for the two people involved. You don’t have to put it in there but you can.
The most important part is the context:
I wanted to introduce you to yourself (your name here).
Providing a little context of how you know each other is really relevant. Explaining the context and relevance in which she is interested in getting to know them and what is relevant to the other parties you are getting introduced to. The more relevant the more effective the introduction. In this case we have two people that don’t know each other very well. Audrey and Tracey don’t know each other very well but it still resulted in setting up the introduction and Audrey getting interviews and deciding if it is a good fit. You can hear more in Audrey’s story in 207. She is currently interested in learning more about the roles available at Predictive Index at the home office in Boston. She is really engaged and excited about the mission of helping companies realize the potential of their employees. Then, I suggested that she talk to both of you based on your levels of influence and your respective roles. The relevance is the roles they happen to be involved in and why they would want to meet Audrey in the first place.
The next piece is incredibly important where we make the suggested next step. That suggested next step is important because very often people do what is suggested in the email. I think it would be a good idea if you set up a call. You can say, I think it would be great if you two can set up a 15 minute call in the next week or so and learn a little more about each other. Or say if it’s in town I think it would be great if you two could meet up for coffee or set up a call. Whatever you are putting in there is that suggested next step. It sets the expectation for the person offering to make the introduction for you that they should suggest the next step. Often they will go with what you have in there. That creates the permission for you after the introduction is made to reach out and say I’d love to schedule 15 minutes with you or meet up with coffee. I’m happy to work around your schedule and here are a couple of example dates let me know what would be best for you. That is how it can actually work really well.
Here is the cool thing about this. Once you meet with them and have a conversation, you have a new set up people you’ve built relationships with that can introduce you to other people and it becomes the gift that can keep on giving. That makes it a ton of fun.
Sometimes what happens is you send over the stuff and the introduction never gets made. What do you do then? How do you follow-up?
I’m going to give you a couple quick follow-up tools so you can make sure that you are making effective introductions and getting them in the first place which is half the battle. I can’t remember where I learned this, it’s not mine, but I loved it and it’s been very effective for not just reaching out in a job situation but effective in our business building and development. I would give them about three to five days unless they have something else going on. If they haven’t made the introduction I’d reply to the email again and say:
I know you are really busy but I wanted to float this to the top of your inbox. Really appreciate you being willing to make the introduction in the first place.
A lot of people are afraid to follow-up. The reality is we are all busy with a million things in our inbox and stuff happens. The follow-up piece and you being willing to follow-up is really important. Otherwise it might get lost in their inbox and they might not think of it again. They’ve already committed to you and said yes so they want to do it. Some people get in their heads and think wow I don’t know if they want to do the introduction maybe they changed their mind. They told you they would so unless they tell you differently you have to assume they want to but have other things on their plate and that it’s okay because we all operate that way. You have to follow up.
The best way I’ve found is to do something that is slightly a pattern interrupt that most people wouldn’t say. One example is what I mentioned earlier about floating it to the top of their inbox. Pattern interrupt with a reminder that is helpful that they need to send it. Maybe they are at the point where they wanted to write a long email introducing you but now they are happy you sent that template they can copy and paste. If you have followed up ten times, maybe not that many, but you’ve followed up a bunch and they never respond you might give them a quick call and say I bet you are super busy I was wondering if you are still willing to make that introduction for me. Is there any way I can make it even easier on you? I know you said yes back then but if it’s too big of a deal feel free to tell me no but is there any other way I can make this even easier on you? I would so appreciate it and I’m really interested in meeting Tim over at google. What they do over there is super cool and I’d love to be able to talk to him. Reaffirm your reason. That’s it. That is how you do it.
Really cool right? It’s not that hard. This is possibly the easiest way and inroad to get a job that you love. To get in front of people that can hire or help you. The decision-makers or the folks that can get you in front of them. Or maybe folks in jobs and companies you want to learn more about.
I so appreciate you being here. We are going to have an entire guide on this and some of the examples we talked about laid out on the blog post along with episode 209. You can go to happentoyourcareer.com/209 and make sure you can see all the examples, save them, share them with some friends and download other cool stuff to help you make effective introductions and connect with anybody anyplace anytime. Very cool.
If you want more help you can reach out to our team and we can talk to you about coaching or Career Change Bootcamp where we do this stuff all the time with our students and clients and this is a normal part of the toolbox.
If you’re ready to create and live a life that is unapologetically you check out our Ultimate Guide to Using Your Strengths to Get Hired. Find your signature strengths to do what you love, do what you are good at, and bring value to your clients, customers, and/or organization. happentoyourcareer.com/strengthsguide