Last Thursday, I was generously invited to attend a new (to me) business networking meeting. Although small, I found it informative and helpful to learn about the other representatives around me. The format was effective; called "pinball", each person described the Power Partners, Industries, and New Client Targets to whom each was seeking to be introduced.
My host, advisor and friend, the Financial Advisor, Brian Harner, defined his Power Partners as CPAs and attorneys such as tax, divorce and estate planning specialists, a similar ideal partner for a Mortgage professional like myself. He identified his industry as company executives of manual service providers. For New Clients, he purposely didn't identify specific accounts he wanted to penetrate, but that could be easily listed on another visit. Naturally, what resulted from identifying these targets were referrals from other participants. Typically, the exchange went something like this:
"Here's the name of a tax attorney... You should give her a call. Just use my name."
I and another professional at the table chagrined at the seemingly helpful offer. What's the difference between a cold call and that feigned introduction?
Call me antidiluvian, a stick in the adobe, but I'm particular on how to properly make introductions. There's a few best ways and lots of weak, rather anemic referral practices I witness regularly at meetings primarily intended to propagate new relationships like the one described.
What's the best way to introduce a colleague to a prospect or client to maximize the potential success of that new relationship?