say you don’t know anyone at the place you need to know someone – but someone in your linkedin network does. I wrote last year about the power of the linkedin introduction request. if you haven’t used this feature before, please read the original post to learn more. I was checking today to see if all the recent changes on linkedin had changed the request process and I realized I had failed to address a few sticking points for the person you are asking for help.
make the introduction easy for them
your goal is to make the process frictionless for the intermediary – the common connection with the individual you want to reach. it’s kind of like a performance review or a reference. everywhere I’ve worked, my supervisor asked me to write the review or reference myself, then he or she would check it over and sign off. last year’s post focused on this part of the process, where you, the requester, write an introduction for the intermediary to review and sign off on by forwarding to the target individual.
I went through the remainder of the process pretty quickly. after you draft the introduction request and hit submit, your connection gets an email that looks like this.
pretty much wysiwyg. whatever you have drafted in the email, including subject line and text, appears for the recipient. this is the first hurdle – convincing your connection to refer you to his or her connection.
provide a clear call to action
the first revision to my orginal post is a strong call to action for the intermediary. explain, perhaps in a separate message that you send prior to the request, how valuable his or her referral is to helping your secure your goal with the target organization. cite the granovetter research on the strength of weak ties to counter hesitation that their connection is not close enough to provide the introduction you need. it could provide a reason for them to re-establish a dormant connection. one way or another, you want the person to act. once your connection clicks through, they see this on the linkedin site
clicking the forward button brings the user to this edit screen
don’t make them guess what happens next
I realized in reviewing the first screen above that I wasn’t sure what happened if I clicked “forward.” did the message go directly through to the final recipient? what if I wanted to add something? or perhaps I was willing to refer the person, but felt the message as written was not strong enough to succeed? maybe I’m right, maybe wrong, but any hesitation means less chance of your message going through. so address the uncertainty in your “cover note” to your connection, making it clear that they will have the opportunity to edit or add content or just send through as is.
what if it doesn’t work? or what if we make contact outside linkedin?
sometimes you don’t hear back on a linkedin introduction request. darn. after working up the courage to ask, now you’re supposed to follow up? pro tip: do not give it a week. more than likely, the recipient makes their decision while the message is open in front of them. if they defer opening, your request will quickly slide out of sight and out of mind. by the time a week has gone by, your connection will have forgotten about your request and/or their decision to ignore it. give it a day, maybe two. “but I don’t know them that well,” you say. even more reason to follow up fast, while your name is still in the RAM portion of their brain.
or maybe your connection or the recipient breaks the chain by calling or sending an email outside linkedin. if time passes and you haven’t gotten any feedback, or if you succeed, but not in the linkedin system, you need to pull the request. go to your sent mail and find the message. scroll to the bottom and click “withdraw.”
linkedin provides some possible explanations, but pick “other…”
so you can write a brief note like “I did not receive a reply and because LinkedIn limits the number of open requests, I will pursue other channels with this opportunity” or “Connected outside LinkedIn. Thanks so much!”
so that about does it for this update on linkedin introduction requests. have you used the feature? share your experience in the comments!