Building our networks and connecting with like-minded people must be an intentional strategy if we want to grow our business. One of my favorite things to do for my clients and professional colleagues is to connect them with others they ordinarily wouldn't meet.
When I want to make an email introduction, I have three objectives for the connection:
1: Present both of my colleagues in the best positive light.
2: Ensure there is clarity for everyone as to why I am connecting them.
3: Present information in such a way that it leads to a follow-up meeting between the parties.
Million Dollar Matchmaking
One of my clients is a $55 million mobile application development and IT company. They work extensively with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA, and several other agencies that depend on technology to keep citizens safe.
I have NASA contacts in decision-making positions, that are always on the hunt for innovative companies that can help them deploy aerospace technology in the private sector.
I was eager to bring my two connections together, but I knew I only had one chance to do it correctly.
Here are the steps I followed to make this happen:
1: I informed my client of my idea for connecting them with my NASA contacts, asking them for permission to proceed with this introduction. We never know why someone may or may not want to meet someone else.
2: I explained how I saw this process working, and what I would need from them to be successful.
3: At my request, they reviewed the website of this particular NASA office, and the bios of the people to whom I would be introducing them.
4: Once my client was knowledgeable about my contact's mission, I asked them to provide me with the specific language I could use in an introduction email, which demonstrated a specific understanding of their needs and purpose. I also asked for specific past performances of work that demonstrated competency and success in a similar environment.
5: I then sent an email to my NASA contact, positioning my client as a potential solution for their current projects. I included all of the information my client provided me, as well as a link to my client's Linked In profile and their website.
6: I followed up with a phone call, re-iterating why I think it would be a valuable use of 30 minutes to do an introductory exploratory call.
Once I've completed the connection, I move out of the way to let the magic happen.
One of my favorite connection stories is between two of my clients, who not only have become successful strategic partners but also great friends.
Ati Williams, Founder and CEO of DC Home Buzz, a boutique real estate brokerage and marketing firm, and Stefanie Reiser, Founder and CEO of Align Development, a residential real estate development firm, have teamed up in various real estate ventures.
Stefanie completes the development of the housing units, and Ati lists them and markets them. Ati's deep knowledge of the real estate processes in DC, and how to strategically market in their region, has proved invaluable to Stefanie.
They also have many collaborative ideas on how to disrupt the bureaucratic, government-driven DC housing market that impedes so many from owning homes.
Stefanie sums up the impact of their relationship like this:
"The introduction to Ati was so impactful for me personally and professionally; it was truly one of those rare connections where as entrepreneurs and individuals our energies, visions, and values aligned so completely as to take the relationship to a much deeper level.
These types of relationships -- that transcend the business to the personal -- are rare, but also fundamental to the success of any entrepreneur.
And the ability to create the platform that enables these types of strategic introductions is a super power that sets apart the great leadership coaches and mentors from the rest of the crowd."
Bringing great leaders together that are aligned in values, vision, and capability is truly one of the greatest gifts of leadership. One should never underestimate their own ability to change another person's life through their connections.