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When you've met two individuals who would be good referral sources for each other, it makes sense to introduce them. An email introduction is fine but a face-to-face meeting puts a personality behind the name. The meeting also gives you the opportunity to smooth out any awkwardness. Networking is a powerful way to build your business. When you put two people together who could benefit from doing business with each other, you may find they return the favor by referring people to you and your business.
Review Their Background
Look at each person's bio on social networking sites or business sites such as LinkedIn. Make brief notes about their education, family, hobbies and work experience.
State What They Have in Common
When composing the email to set up the introduction meeting, include some common points, such as they both have children or play golf, as well as why it makes good business sense for them to meet each other. For example, one person could be a real estate broker and the other work for a title company. These bits of personal information makes them real people.
Suggest Different Dates and Times
You could ask each of them what a convenient time would be for the meeting. However, the odds are against them coming up with the same date and time. It's more productive to suggest three or four different days and times. Meal time is good because discussing the menu and whether you've eaten there before breaks the ice. Eating gives each of you something to do when the conversation slows down a bit.
Find a Convenient Location
Try to find a location that's equidistant from each of you. Keep traffic in mind. Some areas face heavy traffic during the morning rush hour, for example. Others get extremely busy for lunch. Setting up the meeting for slightly earlier or later than conventional mealtime means less of a crowd.
Keep the Conversation Going
Review your notes about each individual before the meeting. During a lull in the conversation, you'll be able to bridge it by asking questions. The questions don't necessarily have to be business related. If one of the individuals has an interesting hobby, has traveled lately, or is into sports, asking about those topics gets the conversation rolling again.
Send Thank You Notes
A handwritten note thanking each of the references for meeting with you -- and each other -- is a nice touch. It also reminds them of your business as well. If you don't have time for a handwritten note, at least send a follow-up email.
Brian Hill is the author of four popular business and finance books: "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "Attracting Capital from Angels" and his latest book, published in 2013, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Business Plans."
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