The germ for social selling struck Brynne Tillman early in her career. 

“I was sitting across the desk from one of my clients, staring at his overflowing Rolodex…I thought that if I could get my hands on it for 20 minutes, I could identify who he knew that I wanted to meet.”

Fast forward to a world where LinkedIn exists, and Tillman is CEO of Social Sales Links.

Technology has improved the way we reach out to people, but the underlying process is the same — ask satisfied clients for warm introductions so that you don’t have to make as many cold calls.


“LinkedIn allows us to search and filter connections so that we can identify pathways to targeted buyers,” Tillman said in this episode of the Publio Podcast: 4 Tips to Improve your LinkedIn Social Selling Results.

Four Steps to Ask Your Client for Social Selling Referrals

“When you’ve done a great job for the client and everyone is high-fiving you,” Tillman explains, this is your opportunity to seek the coveted warm referral. Your research on LinkedIn uncovers 25 people connected to your client who might be in a position to need your service or product. Here’s what happens next:

The Ask

“The whole point is to ask for referrals from the people who already know you and trust you,” Tillman explained. Your next social selling conversation goes something like this:

“I really appreciate our relationship, and I’m so glad we’ve been able to help you. I happen to notice that you’re connected to quite a few people who I’d like to contact in the next few weeks. But before I did, I wanted to run these names by you and get your insights.”

Narrow Down Your List

Next, you and your client set aside some time and have a conversation about each person on the list that you culled from LinkedIn. Your original list of 25 is whittled down to eight good prospects for a warm introduction. That’s a good start.

The Introduction

Do you ask your client to make the introductions, or do you ask permission to name-drop?

“Permission to name-drop takes the pressure off your client. It also allows you to come back to the well a couple more times without taking too much time or resources from your client,” Tillman explained. Moreover, good intentions can get sidetracked by more pressing matters. “If your client agrees to make the introductions, but fails to follow through, they may ghost you because they’re embarrassed.”

The Warm Name-Drop

Your initial follow-up through LinkedIn or by phone might sound like this:

“Hi Keith, Bob and I were chatting the other day, and your name came up. He thought I should reach out and introduce myself. I’ve been working with him for the last three years on X, Y, and Z. I’m not sure where you are in your process, but I’ve got lots of insights that Bob thought will be valuable for you. Can we connect?” 

The next conversation: “Keith, thanks so much for connecting per Bob’s recommendation. I’d love to jump on a quick Zoom call and provide insights that can help you with X, Y, and Z. Let me know your preferred way of scheduling. “About half of them will become conversations,” Tillman predicted. “The rest of the social selling follow-up is up to you.”

That’s the beauty of social selling on LinkedIn: Everybody’s Rolodex is online, and you get to take a peek.

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