Recently I posted a public submission form for people to ask questions related to word of mouth marketing and word of mouth referrals. That form has produced a number of questions around this topic.  Today I wanted to address another one of those questions.

If you want to ask an anonymous question, you can ask your word of mouth marketing question here!

Question: What if someone doesn’t want to introduce me?

I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I don’t believe that asking for referrals works. However, I do believe that asking for introductions is perfectly fine! One might wonder why. Before I answer the question directly, we need to establish the difference between a referral and an introduction.

A Referral is someone ready, willing, and able to buy. Introductions are not.  In fact, introductions are used much more in a networking capacity than they are as a referral. In fact, it’s important to note that a referral means that there will be a financial transaction of some sort.  That’s how I define it.

I use the introduction strategy very effectively to connect others who are like-minded and might be able to refer to each other, and I use the introduction request to reach ideal referral partners for my business.

So, now that we’ve established that there is a difference between a referral and an introduction, we can tackle the reader’s question of What if someone doesn’t want to introduce me?

Let’s take a hypothetical situation and set the table for this issue. Jane Doe is speaking with John Smith. They are sharing details about their businesses and each share a recent story about another business professional they know.  Jane asks John if he’d be willing to introduce her to his contact. John hesitates, and replies, “I think that it might not be a good introduction, John’s not really looking to buy your service now”.

Jane hesitates and thinks, “why won’t John connect me?”

In all the years I’ve been doing networking, connecting, sales, and consulting around this specialty, the number one issue I’ve found is that the person being asked (John in this case) doesn’t yet have enough trust in Jane.  This is on Jane, not John. Jane needs to provide more value, over time, building a deeper more meaningful relationship with John, so that John knows she’s always there for him, even when they aren’t in the same room networking.

The solution is to not ask for the introduction until you feel confident in the relationship with the other person to the point where you feel they would NEVER refuse to connect you!

Continue to build value!  Continue to care about their business.  Eventually, they will start proactively introducing you to others…without you ever asking for that introduction!

Thanks for the great question!

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If you want to ask an anonymous question, you can ask your word of mouth marketing question here! I’d be honored to receive it and share my insight and ideas!