Photo by Flazingo / CC BY-SA

Prospecting for new clients has never been easy. Cold calls, face-to-face or by phone, continue to be useful sources of leads, but the percentage of return has never been high. It’s a numbers game, and that’s hard work. Connecting with potential customers via social media, website, and internet searches are productive methods of feeding the funnel—when managed properly. Old school methods of marketing and advertising such as direct mail, print, and media advertising still have a time and place for the right product, but the very best sales prospecting strategy is…an introduction.

“Hi I’m Randy, Bob Sent Me”

Introductions aren’t only a great strategy for sales, but for other actions as well, for example—the job search. In sales the best way in the door is to be invited, and the best way to be invited is to be introduced. Most of us have been on both sides of this equation. We’ve introduced and connected people, and we’ve been introduced. Being confirmed by a mutual acquaintance or friend has gotten me in doors that would’ve remained closed otherwise. Introductions are far and away the best sales prospecting strategy.

How can you Find Introductions?

If you want to be introduced, you have to let people know; you have to share your wants and needs with others. You never know who knows who.

  • Attend networking events and make networking events out of every gathering. Begin by asking others how you can help and who they’d like to meet. Many will reciprocate.
  • Ask your friends, co-workers, family, vendors, and customers. Tell everyone what industries, organizations, and people you’d like to be introduced to.
  • Use your first-degree contacts on LinkedIn. When requesting an introduction don’t stop at whom you want to meet but why. The best request is a win-win that is mutually beneficial for all three parties. Here’s how to ask. LinkedIn Requesting an Introduction

Don’t misunderstand this post. I’m not suggesting that you stop all other types of prospecting while concentrating on seeking introductions. What I’m recommending is to use the contacts you have and attend a few networking events such as the local chamber or social media club, and let folks know your needs. Most people trust people their friends and acquaintances trust. If you want in the door, ask for an invitation. How do you ask for introductions?