“Introduce me to the top 10 people in the firm. ” What a great ask. It’s gender neutral, extremely targeted and shows great confidence. Can you see yourself making such a bold and direct ask? Why not? Successful business networkers must be willing and able to ask for introductions to influential people.
Earlier this year, I served as co-captain of the sponsorship committee for the 2011 YWCA Hartford’s In the Company of Women Luncheon. As we prepared ourselves to go out and ask for corporate sponsors to support us financially, John Motley of Motley Beup Agency reminded us of a few critical things in making the ask.
While his comments at the time were in reference to asking for large amounts of sponsorship money, I think his approach works equally well when making the ask to be introduced to important people for business networking purposes.
Eight factors to consider when asking for higher level introductions:
- Relationships are key – people you know will be the ones who will lead you to the people you want to get to know. Leverage your strongest relationships (and build more like them);
- In person – the best way to make the ask is in person. Email and social media may be more convenient for you, but they are also easier to ignore. Make your ask: 1) face to face; or 2) via telephone.
- Be specific, very specific on who you are looking to met;
- Visualize how great you’ll feel after you make the successful ask;
- Think long term – your goal is to establish a connection and new relationship that will last for years to come;
- Aim high – stretch yourself with this ask;
- Be quiet and listen – important information may be revealed to you if only you would stop talking;
- Be comfortable asking for what you want and need. Don’t be afraid. Your success is just an ask away.
Your Networking Goal for this Week:
This week, set a strategy to be introduced to an influential person you would like to add to your network. Consider important questions such as: 1) WHY do you want to meet them? 2) WHAT you will ask of them? 3) WHAT value can you offer them in return? 4) WHO will help you facilitate this important new connection? 5) WHERE and WHEN you will meet with them?
Do your research on the new person so you know more about who you will be dealing with. Get comfortable with them even before you meet them. Shore up your confidence and prepare yourself to make a high level connection and make the ask. Don’t let a meeting with an important person go by without making an ask.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7