If you are in a business development role, chances are you have a top 20, 50, or even 100 list of target accounts. If you have been in business awhile, you know the best way to get into a company is through a referral. They are rarely easy to come by, though… unless you use this fun little “hack.”

I’m going to take you step-by-step on how to build a list of your top 20 companies, save it, and then easily pull it up each time you have a conversation with a client or referral partner. In under 30 seconds, you can identify if the person you are speaking to knows anyone inside of your targeted accounts, and then ask them if they would be open to making an introduction or ask them for permission to drop their name. Here’s the process:

  1. When you are on LinkedIn, click into the search box on the top left and hit Enter on your keyboard.
  2. Click People, which is just underneath the search box.
  3. Click All Filters, then in the pop-up box to the right scroll down to Current Companies.
  4. In that box, click Add a company, enter in the name of the company, and click on it when it appears in the drop-down list. Follow this same process for the other companies you want to search for.
  5. Optional: Add other filters if you choose.
  6. Click Show Results.
  7. Save the search either in a Browser Bookmark or by dragging and dropping the Search URL onto your desktop.
  8. When you are scheduled to speak with a client or referral partner (you must be a 1st-degree connection), click on that link and add their name to the ‘Connections’ filter. This will bring up a list of everyone they are connected to at your target prospects.
  9. Now when you are chatting with them, you can mention that they are connected to a few people that you’d like to connect to and ask if you can run the names by them for some insights prior to you reaching out.

It seems so simple, yet it is so effective.