I always talk and write about how one of the most important pieces of business development and partnerships is having a strong network. But what happens when someone from your network leaves a company and you no longer have a connection there? It sucks.
This is why I am a big believer of having multiple touch-points at every company in my network. Having only one connection per company isn’t bad, but people move around all the time and if you don’t have at least two people at one company, you run the risk of having issues getting in front of said company in the future.
What do you do if your one contact leaves a company and the time comes that you need to talk to that company?
I have two approaches in this scenario:
1) Ask the former employee that I am connected with to make an intro to the right person in the company. This only works if the employee left on good terms.
2) Look on LinkedIn for a new way in. Ask a mutual friend with the new right person to connect the dots.
Having people leave companies that you need to communicate with is never a fun thing, but remember not to freak out. If you put your mind to it, you will find another way in.
There are times in the partnerships cycle where your offering doesn’t make sense for the other side. Maybe you don’t have exactly what they are looking for. Maybe the problem you are solving isn’t a major problem for them. Maybe something else.
I have experienced this many times. Early on in my career I tried to push a deal on a company. Not only did I lose the deal (because it wasn’t right for them), I ended up losing out on developing the relationship (for when we would be right for them).
Now I try to understand if what I am offering is helpful, valuable, useful for the other side. I ask, I listen, I try to help. If what we have does not make sense for them at the moment, I want to understand what they would need to want to work with us. If enough people ask for the same thing, it becomes a higher priority to build.
Bottom line: Be long term smart. While being unable to close a deal in the short term is not ideal (because, quite frankly, you need to perform), developing the relationship for the long-term is the right way to go (so that when you do have the right offering you will still be right there with them).
I had a guy over at the office this week to play a game of pool.
He is looking to leave his finance gig and embrace the entrepreneur/startup world.
We got to talking about introductions and it sparked an idea for a blog post.
It is a beautiful thing. Someone makes an introduction for you. You have a call or meet this new person and he then makes an introduction to someone else. And on and on.
I have personally experienced an introduction compound and have met some of my closest friends this way (sometimes even five times removed).
The NY tech scene is such a close-knit group that it makes compounding introductions extremely important.
I would love to hear stories from people who have had a great compounding introduction experience.