5 Ways to Ask for a Referral

31 10 2013

Asking for referrals and introductions makes most of us uncomfortable. But think about it. If you’ve had a great experience working with someone, it’s really satisfying to refer that person to a friend or colleague. It’s even more rewarding when your colleague, too, finds value and thanks you for having made the connection.
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So how do you ask for a referral without being pushy or sounding desperate?

First, it’s helpful acknowledge your appreciation for the referrer. Something like: “You know, Joe, I really enjoy our work together. In particular, I appreciate the way you rally the troops to tackle big challenges…”

Then follow with “the ask.” The key is to ask in a way that encourages them to think of a specific person and give you specific name. Here are five ways to ask.

1. The Basic:
Who do you know that should know about me?

2. The Acknowledgement:
Who do you know who, like you, [compliment, aspiration]? Example: “Who do you know who, like you, has built a successful, fast-growing company and might need someone like me to…?”

3. The Challenge:
“When we first started working together you were experiencing [problem]. Who do you know that has a similar challenge who may want to meet me and learn more about how to achieve similar results?”

4. Curiosity:
“Who do you know who may be curious about the type of customized training program we’ve designed for you?”

5. The Breakthrough:
“You really achieved a significant breakthrough recently when we worked together on [project]. Who do you know who may seek a similar breakthrough?”

The next step is to ask them if they would be willing to make an introduction via email or phone. When they say yes, make it really easy for them. Send a brief one-paragraph introduction that highlights the types of problems you solve and results you deliver.

Before the introduction, be sure to ask the referrer what you should know about that person. Any information you can glean to help “break the ice” in your first call will result in more rapid rapport, and a higher probability of success.

What have you found works best to seek referrals from your colleagues and satisfied clients?

Share your ideas or experiences in the Comments section of this blog.

About the Author:

Kate Purmal is COO of an early stage stealth cell therapy company. She also serves as a consultant, advisor and business coach to CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs. Previously Kate served as a Senior Vice President at SanDisk, the CEO of the software joint venture U3, and led the product team that designed and launched the PalmPilot.
www.katepurmal.com

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Introducing the Career Actions Network. Next meeting is November 2nd.

29 10 2013

Hello Everyone,

I was on a speaker panel recently with Al Hulvey, one of the heads of the Career Actions Network, which is a very effective and free service that is being offered by Menlo Park Presbyterian Church (MPPC).

The church has an excellent program of meetings with expert speakers on job search strategies, plus small accountability groups, and a résumé and referral network.

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You can sign up on their network now — and I also encourage you to attend their next Large Group meeting on 11/2/13 with the topic, “Hire Yourself an Employer.”

See the end of this email for the topic and speaker info.

Here’s their link:

http://mppc.org/connect/information-job-seekers

These are the key actions you can take to access their great (and free!) resources:

1. Attend a Large Group Meeting.

When: On the 1st and 3rd Saturdays
9:30 to 11 a.m. at MPPC’s Fellowship Hall
1667 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View, CA

The aim of the large group meeting is to provide practical training on job search skills and networking. This large group setting offers:

– Presentations by experts to help you improve your job search
– Networking with a broad cross-section of professional disciplines
– Resume review with instant feedback
– Opportunities to join a Success Team and participate in our Job Referral Network

2. Join a Success Team.
CAM (Career Action Ministry) offers on-going small group support and encouragement through weekly Success Team meetings. These groups of 5-10 job seekers provide:

– A regular meeting structure that avoids isolation
– A forum for sharing ideas, contacts, and job leads
– A sympathetic group to practice interviewing techniques or other job search skills
– A trusted team to share individual problems for referral to other MPPC ministries or community resources.

3. Become part of the web-based Career Actions Network.
A unique feature of the CAM program is our job referral network. Members of the congregation have opted in to provide job leads and referrals. Register to create a profile and post your resume.

The next Large Group meeting:

Saturday, November 2
Guest Speaker: Dennis Romley
Presentation Topic: Hire Yourself an Employer

About the Presentation:
Go Hire Yourself An Employer (originally a book title by Richard Irish) is a powerful concept and the theme for Dennis Romley’s talk. Dennis will dissect the job search process and zero in on getting the interview. He offers concrete advice on how to nail each interview. Key is what Dennis calls the “ladder to success” which will translate personally to each one of us regarding our process of searching for a job. Participants will leave this discussion with an awareness of our choices in getting more of what we want in each situation as well as great materials for preparing and interviewing powerfully.

About the Speaker:
Dennis Romley is the founder and principal of Threshold Consulting, a firm dedicated to organizational change & development and strategic management of human capital. Recent assignments include: transition consulting and career coaching for Career Curve clients, design and delivery of Collaboration and Ideation workshops for product conception and improvement, and talent retention strategies for an organization under fire.

Dennis applies his skills as a strong negotiator, compassionate leader and team collaborator to produce the results needed when he is called in to support organizational change. He has over 30 years experience in strategic and global roles that include Senior Vice President at Roche Pharmaceuticals, Vice President SRI International/SRI Consulting and Director at Raychem Corporation (now Tyco). Dennis is a mentor and coach with senior leaders to encourage positive team and organizational dynamics. With global leadership and training experience in the USA, UK, Switzerland and Japan, Dennis is able to apply best practices across cultures and teams.

Warmly,

Sue





“4 Ways to Write LinkedIn Messages That Actually Get Read”

23 10 2013

Hello Everyone,

I saw this article on Mashable.com and this captures the tips I’ve been wanting to share with the KIT List.

I get those auto-invitations to connect on LinkedIn all the time, but I don’t accept them unless I already know the person. However, the exception is when someone takes the time to write a personal note.

Taking a quick minute to write a personal note instead of using the form letter is well worth it. It creates context for why someone should connect with you. As the article mentions, just using the auto form is not a good practice and dramatically lowers your chance of being read.

Here’s the link to the article:
(www.http://mashable.com/2013/10/14/linkedin-message-tips/) and I’ve also included the full text below.

These are important points!

Warmly,

Sue

****************

4 Ways to Write LinkedIn Messages That Actually Get Read

By Sarah McCord for the Daily Muse

Imagine you were at a networking event, and you spot someone you don’t know but would love to. Maybe she has your dream job, or maybe he runs a great business that you’d like to model yours after.

Would you ever walk up to this person and blurt out a question or request for his or her time, sans context, gratitude or even introductions?

Probably not — but it happens all the time on LinkedIn.

The amazing thing about LinkedIn is that it allows you to connect one-on-one with nearly anyone in the world. But I can’t tell you how many people I see squandering this opportunity by sending brief or automated messages that don’t give people any meaningful reason to connect — à la “Can you help me?” or “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.” It’s lazy, it’s unprofessional, and it’s highly unlikely to get a response.

Spend a few more minutes crafting a personalized note, and you’re much more likely to make the connections you’re looking for. Try these four steps to writing a LinkedIn message that will get opened:

Step 1: Start with a Specific Title

Before you write the message, ask yourself: How do I know this person, and why am I reaching out to him or her? Is this someone you know and need advice from? Someone you share a contact with and want to know more about? A stranger with whom you’re hoping to connect for the first time?

Use that information, then, to craft as specific a subject line as possible: “Following Up from Last Night’s Event” is more likely to be read than “Following Up.” “Fellow Teacher Interested in Urban Education Reform” is better than “Loved Your Speech.” “Mutual Contact?” Don’t even think about it.

Earlier this year, I used LinkedIn InMail to ask a total stranger for professional advice. I knew that titling my message “Hello” would be a waste of a first impression, so I went with “Fellow Daily Muse Contributor Seeking Advice.”

Step 2: Introduce Yourself

When you see someone you don’t know well but are hoping to speak with, you usually give him or her a one sentence background: “I’m Sara — we met at the 10th anniversary event” or “I’m Sara, and I loved your latest blog on climate change.”

Don’t skip this step on LinkedIn. You should never assume your contact will just click on over to your profile to learn about you or see how you’re connected — be proactive (and respectful of the other person’s time) and write a quick intro.

The first paragraph of my InMail, for example, read, “My name is Sara McCord and I am a fellow contributing writer for The Daily Muse. I very much enjoyed [the latest piece she had written].”

Whether you use this sentence to include your mutual contact, where you’ve met or your shared background, tailoring your intro for the specific contact shows that you’re serious about connecting with him or her.

Step 3: Get to Why You’re Writing — and Fast

When it comes to emails, the shorter, the better. People are time-crunched, and you can lose their interest just as quickly as you got it if you segue from a pithy intro into a drawn-out monologue of why you should be connected or a lengthy recitation of your resume.

Keep this in mind as you craft your second paragraph, the meat of your message. Quickly dive into why you’re writing — and “just to be connected” doesn’t count. Why do you want to be connected? Do you love this person’s updates or products? Do you want to book him to speak at an event or invite her to guest post on your site? Do you want to ask this person questions about her company or background?

Let that topic sentence guide a paragraph (only one!) where you get into a few details: e.g., “I’m reaching out because I need advice. I’m in the midst of _______ and have some questions about ______.”

An important note, though: Make sure your ask is commensurate with your relationship. There’s a big difference between asking someone you don’t know if she’d be willing to spend 10 minutes on the phone with you talking about the interview process at her company and asking her to put in a good word for you with the CEO.

Step 4: Wrap it Up and Say Thank You

The last two lines of the message are your closing moment — think the “I look forward to hearing from you” at the end of the interview. You want to be gracious, but also make sure it’s clear what you’re asking for.

Try this: “All this to say, might you have time to [provide feedback, write a recommendation, make an introduction, whatever]? I greatly appreciate your time and expertise.” Remember, you’re asking a favor of someone you presumably don’t know well enough to call or email, so this thank-you is crucial.

These same strategies work if you’re requesting to add someone on LinkedIn — just shorten up the wording in each step. It takes just a couple minutes more than sending that automatic message, and it’s much more likely to get results.

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