Earlier this week I received the following LinkedIn message from Jill (not her real name):

LinkedIn community imageAs a valued first-level contact, I respectfully ask you to introduce me to John Smith. Thanks, Jill.

I don’t have a problem with her asking. My contact Jane Smith (not her real name either) is obviously a potential client for her services. An introduction from me is going to make it easier for Jill to get in touch and build that relationship. Through my efforts to connect them, she might even land herself a brand new client.

The problem I have is in the way she asked. She came across as impersonal, even blunt. Worse, I got the impression that her one-sentence request was a “cut and paste” template she regularly blasts to a multitude of contacts.

Definitely not to the best way to get introductions!

If you’re going to ask one of your LinkedIn contacts for an introduction, I recommend you take the time to write a personal message. Explain what your intentions are (LinkedIn actually requires you to do that) and demonstrate that you appreciate the magnitude of the favor you’re asking.

Here’s an example of an actual introduction request sent by a friend of mine. Only the names have been changed.

Hi Debra,

May I ask you for a big favor?

I noticed that you’re connected with Jane Phillips, an Atlanta life coach. As you may know, I now specialize in website design for life coaches and would like to forward Jane some information on my services.

Would you be willing to introduce us?

I realize this is a huge favor. If you don’t feel comfortable introducing us, I understand. You don’t even need to reply to this email. Just ignore it.

But if you can introduce us, thank you!

And please let me know how I can return the favor.

Best,

Phyllis Spencer,
Freelance Designer
Specializing in Websites for Life Coaches

I think you’ll agree that a personal, sincere, appreciative message like that has a much better chance of success. In fact, it did work. My friend got her introduction to Phyllis.

By the way, if a LinkedIn contact agrees to introduce you to one of their valued contacts, be sure to send them a Thank You note. I actually snail mail them a card. You’ve got to show your appreciation!

So when it comes to asking for introductions on LinkedIn, toss the template. Instead, take the time to carefully compose your request. Never forget that you’re asking for a big favor.


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