Acquiring referrals is important, but gaining a warm introduction or a bridge is even better. I consulted with Richard Weylman, founder of The Weylman Center, an online university for financial professionals in the affluent market, on how to get these introductions. Here is the step-by-step process he uses to gain warm introductions to the right prospects:
- Create a list of prospects in your chosen vertical markets.
- Find out about these people. Start with the local association, club or organization membership list. Research every name using Internet sources, such as hoovers.com, google.com, zapdata.com, dunandbradstreet.com, infousa.com and usadata.com.
- Divide the list into groups of 15 names by chapter and club or local geographic area. Any larger number is too many. And if I take in only five or 10, there’s always a sense of needing more.
- When you meet with a client or prospect, present the list of 15 names in their market. Say, “Here are 15 people in your club or industry I would like to meet. Who do you know? Which ones know you?”
- After they review the list and comment, ask, “Who have I left off this list?” Be quiet and let them think.
- Ask for their help to meet the people they know. Be sure to suggest connection ideas: “Be my advisor for a moment — how would you go about meeting these people? Should I coordinate a golf outing or perhaps a breakfast or better yet, what would you do?”
- Listen as they review the list for social connections. Gently probe to discover interests they may have, and note these for future invitations and bridging opportunities.
- Close the discussion by outlining the date, location and invite: “OK, let’s see, you believe golf is the best for these two people? When are you available, and let’s make it a foursome.”
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