A Tip to Grow Your Professional Network – Try LinkedIn Introductions

LinkedIn continues to grow exponentially in the professional world of business networking.  If you are responsible for growing your business, developing new or deeper existing professional relationships, you can’t afford to ignore this powerful social networking tool.

 187 million professionals have a presence on LinkedIn – 2 new members are joining every second! (LinkedIn)

Going Beyond Your 1st Level Connections

I’m going to make the assumption you’ve already 1. Completed your profile and 2. Established network of 1st degree connections LinkedIn; people you already know and trust.  (If you haven’t taken these first steps yet, then stop and take some more time to focus on those first 2 steps!)   Now that you have a solid foundation of connections, you are ready to take your online networking to the next level.   LinkedIn has a built  tool to make it easy for you to raise the networking bar.

LinkedIn Introductions 101

Simply put, ‘Requesting an Introduction’ allows you to contact users in your network (through your 1st level connections) into their connections who are not yet directly connected to you.  When you make the request, your connection will, in turn, decide whether to refer or recommend you onto the desired recipient so you can start a direct dialogue.

My role in sales and new business development requires me to proactively find and connect with, for example, Business Owners, Executive Directors, CEO’s or Marketers who could benefit from Vivid Image’s online marketing and design expertise.  I need to search to find contacts in my target market, and often they are people who are outside of my 1st level network.  If I see they are a 2nd or 3rd degree connection (the blue icon next to the contact indicates what level), then I know I have an opportunity to use the introduction feature.

Introductions Step by Step
  1. Locate the member’s profile you would like to connect with. Click on their profile link.
  2. Hover over the drop down arrow feature on the SendInMail button.  Choose ‘Get Introduced’ – OR you can also scroll down to the bottom of the profile below ‘Contact Joe for’:  See ‘Get introduced through a connection’
  3. The Introduction Request page will pop up.  You will see one or more people already in your network who can help you make the introduction.  Choose the person that will most likely respond and help you make a warm introduction!
  4. Enter a subject for your message and craft a message to the person who will introduce you and be clear about why you’re asking for an introduction. This message may eventually be seen by the person you want to be introduced to.  Remember, the more personal the more likely you will get a response!
  5. Click Send Request.

I’ve now just eliminated the ‘cold’ approach to calling or emailing someone who doesn’t have a clue who you are and given your business a much better chance to make a connection that leads to growth.

P.S.  It’s also a FREE way to network using this tool.  No need to purchase a premium paid account.