We already know how to make proper introductions in real life. In real life, your client introduces you as a general contractor to a potential client in need of a general contractor and home improvement. Everyone shakes hands, exchange some laughs, exchange business cards, and a time is set up for you to do home improvement for the new client.
But somehow those steps are lost when the home improvement referral is handled by phone, text, and email. So the goal is to mimic the real life introduction style because it works best. You don’t want a rare opportunity like a personal endorsement go to waste with careless handling.
Here are different scenarios and how to handle them:
As a general contractor you send out a newsletter every month regarding home improvement ideas and your current client writes to you saying, “here is my friend’s Cynthia’s email, email@example.com, she needs work done on her home.”
There are a couple of ways to handle this.
The wrong way: You email the friend directly and you don’t thank your current client. This is wrong because no connection was established between your client, your client’s friend, and you to build trust (no handshake). Also, their friend might not even know you are going to email – you could email in 10 minutes or two days or the friend could go on vacation and your email is buried 200 emails deep. Cynthia might not know your name and won’t be looking out for your email. Also, there is no pressure on the potential client to be polite and talk to you and getting them talking to you is half the battle.
The right way: You email your client back. “Thank you for the referral. It means a lot to me that you think so highly of me. Could you do me a favor? Could you possibly make the introduction personally by emailing her and ccing me?” Your client in turn would email Cynthia and say, “Hi Cynthia, I want to introduce to you….for your home improvement project.”
You would reply to Cynthia right after you get introduced and introduce yourself and ask to set up an appointment time. This is the right way because you thanked your client, you let your client know that they are of value to you, and you asked them to make a proper introduction (handshake). You then took control of the conversation so that you could set an appointment. Also, by having your client introduce you, your potential client will see and open that email more readily because Cynthia isn’t going to ignore her friend.
Another scenario, say, out of the blue, you get a text/phone call/email, “hey, I heard you do great work, I’d like someone to come over tomorrow. ” If you can say yes to coming over tomorrow, do so. Ask for their name and who recommended you. You can respond by saying, “Hi, what is your name and give me the name of who recommended me so I can thank them!” You can ask in person too, but getting that information before you meet with the potential client is good too so you can research your client. Even though the introduction is not in order, this is now common. You still want to mimic the real life exchange because it makes the exchange personable.
You’ll also want to thank the client again for making the introduction. Saying thank you is free, having gratitude is free, being sincere is free, telling people they are valuable to you is free, and maintaining that relationship rewards you greatly.