Whenever I meet someone for the first time, referrals included, I research them on LinkedIn. I was referred to Bill by a networking colleague. They had gone to school together, so that’s a deep friendship and a referral (me) from one to the other really counts!

I looked Bill up on LinkedIn ahead of the appointed time for the phone call. Not the most robust profile, but that’s why I was referred to him: to help Bill develop his “why me” to attract incremental business.

I saw Bill was connected to a nonprofit client of mine. I asked how he knew her–he volunteers at their school. Rack up one point on top of the earlier warm referral.

I told Bill that I met the client when she replaced Pat, the previous Development Director (DD) whom I knew in a former life in the 80’s. Pat was my banker when I was a corporate treasurer. Pat morphed into a DD and then my client. I morphed too from treasurer to credit card processing rep with niche marketing to nonprofits. (We enjoyed a too-short period of working together again until Pat went on to another important role, assisting her college-bound child in the “hunt.”)

“Oh you know what?” he volunteered, “Pat is my sister-in-law. That’s amazing.” Another point.

It’s a small world after all. Find your connection points even to a theoretical stranger: people, interests, schools, etc. These are gifts that LinkedIn gives you to work from.

I hope to finesse this into to a piece of business owing to the relationships that came out in a short phone call. More to this story later I hope.