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1 why networking doesn't work 2 why do people find networking valuable? 3 how do i get in front of the right people? 4 how do i choose a networking event? 5 how do i get the most out of networking meeting? 6 how do i build my network? 7 how do you answer the question what do you? 8 how do you tell a good stiory? 9 how do you get the most out of networking? 10 how do i build trust within my network? 11 how do i follow up? 12 how do i get the best from 121 meetings? 13 how do i get people to refer me? 14 how do i manage my network? 15 how do i nurture my network? 16 how do i build advocates?
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Business Networking Blog

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How to become more memorable
A colleague of mine, Martin Davies, wrote this useful article in a recent edition of the NRG ezine, Synergy:

Do you find it difficult to get business referrals? Are you finding networking just not paying dividends?.

It's frustrating when this happens, but the problem may lie with you. It may be, for example, that your introduction isn't memorable and just doesn't register with people.

The most effective networkers are highly memorable. They make it easy to remember and repeat what they do and what makes them different.

Here are four things to consider when preparing your introduction. Aim to make this no more than 30 seconds. And try to make your message as graphic as if you were burning it permanently into people's brains with a branding iron.

Describe what you do in benefit terms that mean something

For example, if you are an IFA you might say: 'I help people build long-term wealth.' Or if you offer computer support you might say: 'We stop staff surfing the net on company time.' If you write databases you might say: 'We help people double the value of their data.'

What is your target market?

Find yourself a niche market. Avoid being too general - it's harder for people to remember. Our IFA might say: 'One of our target markets is independent professionals in their late 40s/early 50s.'

The computer support expert might say: 'Our target market is businesses employing 10-50 people around Cheltenham.' The result is that your audience will instinctively start to filter through their contacts to see if they know anyone who fits the bill.

What is their business pain?

The trick here is to pose a question or statement that your audience might hear from one of their contacts (or even have themselves). For example: 'I'm looking for people who are worried about their pension and don't know what to do.'

This sentence must have a 'pain' verb in it - in this case 'worried'.

Or: 'I'm looking for business owners who want to raise productivity. For example, if a dozen employees surf the 'net for an hour a day on company time, that's a whole year of lost production. Ouch!'

Experiment with this. For example, in the above scenario, ten employees amounts to 291 lost days, but that's not really a memorable figure. On the other hand 'a dozen' and 'a year' will stick.

How do you fix this pain?

You then say 'what we do is ......' Keep it to one sentence and focus on outcomes. For example: 'What we do is talk to them and build a plan that makes their money work for them properly.'

The trick here is to keep your introduction really simple and short but starting to build in what makes you different.

A successful introduction is short, memorable and begs the question: 'How do you do that then?'

Just one final point - practice!
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 18:30:00, 09 Feb 07
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG
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Great quote from Dale Carnegie
I was reminded of this quote when exchanging messages with a Dale Carnegie trainer earlier today:

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you"

A big lesson here for networking. Show a genuine interest in other people. Learn to ask open questions ('how', 'why' 'who' and 'when' questions), listen attentively and make links to other people that you know.

People love to talk about their favourite subject - themselves! So, listen more than talk - we were given two ears and one mouth!
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 23:33:00, 08 Feb 07
Tags: NRG,Networking Relationships
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The importance of follow up
I was reminded today of an important rule in networking - always follow up contacts. I was talking with someone who had attended a lot of events recently, but not set aside time to follow up.

When you have taken the trouble to attend and meet people at an event put time in your diary for the follow up. It only need be a simple e-mail confirming where you met and what action, if any, was agreed. That could be the first steps in building that all important relationship.

If you have trouble remembering then maybe write yourself a reminder on their business card.
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 22:50:00, 07 Feb 07
Tags: NRG,Networking Follow Up
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International Networking Week.
An interesting initiative from Ivan Misner & BNI started this week - International Networking Week. The purpose of the week (from http://www.internationalnetworkingweek.com) is:

"to raise the profile of networking in the wider community, recognising it as an essential tool for success in today’s business climate."

I went to a BNI organised 'Big Breakfast' in Bristol this morning and was made to feel very welcome. It was great to see the education slot focus on encouraging people to participate in a number of different networks. At NRG we stress the importance of networks setting an example and being inclusive and networking with other networks.

I look forward to this becoming an important event in the business calendar.
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 19:34:00, 06 Feb 07
Tags: Networking Connections,NRG
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So what do you do then?
For many people this is the hardest question when they attend a networking event or talk to someone in business?

They know it's going to be asked so what do they do when someone asks the inevitable?

It can often have them babbling incoherently or rambling on and on in an increasingly incomprehensible manner.

Don't be like the character Dr Calvin played by Bridget Moynahan in the film, "I, Robot" when Detective Spooner ( played by Will Smith) asks her:

“What do you do?”

She replies "My general fields are advanced robotics and psychiatry although I specialise in hardware to wetware interfaces in an effort to advance our anti-amorphisation project.”

Better to have the clarity she expresses when Spooner asks again, “So what exactly do you do?" and she replies:

“I make the robots seem more human.”

So, if you know anyone who struggles & dreads those words, "so what is it that you do?" then suggest they think in advance about:

• Their target market
• What problems people in the market have that they can help with
• What they do to help relieve the pain that problem brings
• What positive outcome they leave them with
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 19:25:00, 05 Feb 07
Tags: NRG,Networking Introductions
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Is Networking working for you?
If networking isn't working well for you and your business then you might want to think about the following questions:

1. Is your business relationship or transaction focused?
2. How many networking contacts do you make?
3. How many 121s do you have?
4. What expertise and support do you give to your network?
5. How many networking contacts become your advocates?

For effective networking advice, and business development tips and information Click here and register for our free email newsletter
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:51:00, 02 Feb 07
Tags: NRG,Networking Objectives
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Return on Investment in Networking Relationships
You can only measure the Return on Investment in Relationships if you invest in the first instance. The currency of investment in relationships is Time. Invest your time in developing relationships!
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:52:00, 12 Jan 07
Tags: Networking for Advocates,NRG,Networking Relationships
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Unlocking all the business benefits of networking

Business networking is much more than a series of one off transactions and the benefits far wider than simply generating referrals. The traditional assumptions about exchanging business cards and having a ready made elevator pitch fall wide of the mark. For many professionals and business owners networking is central to most of their business development activity.

Research* conducted over the last 12 months indicates that experienced and successful professional business people get far more from networking than the hope of a few sales. They also don't try to sell, or over use their business pitch as a way of developing trusted business relationships.

“I was surprised to see how much care individuals take in building a relationship.” Roger Croft, PRD Partnership

One of the key findings was how business owners build trust, and what they look for in another business owner. The key factors are “do I like them?” together with ability, and reliability. They have a range of strategies that they use to check out these factors in some depth over a period of time. For instance they may well want to see you at work!

Many business owners have a good idea of their key skills. If you add in the in depth knowledge of markets that will exist in your network, you can refine your offering to make the most of your skills. Gaining this valuable market intelligence is one of the key, but overlooked benefits of networking.

The concept of “networking transactions” has arisen through the research. Ideas, information, referrals, tips, support, even just listening are all exchanges, or networking transactions between two networkers. Each exchange has a value and a risk attached to it. Depending on how trusted your relationship is depends on whether the exchange can take place.

To facilitate the process of developing successful relationships at NRG we have developed a framework that members can use as a guide. We also offer a seminar and free download both entitled ‘the 7 secrets of effective networking’. NRG member Ellis Pratt of Cherryleaf, a technical communication company, has written a self help workbook entitled ‘Network to get work’ and says “NRG has developed the seven secrets to effective business networking. It's a great model to follow, and use as a framework for networking.”

*The research was conducted by Roger Croft of the PRD Partnership and Martin Davies of NRG Business Networks.

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:43:00, 04 Dec 06
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG
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Business Networking - The rules of the game

You’ve just realised that business networking might be right for you. But before you go to networking events it pays dividends to prepare yourself. Here are 7 hints and tips to get you in the right frame of mind so that you can really get the benefits from networking!

1. Be yourself

You need commitment, belief and the right attitude. So, be smart, be prepared and be confident, but above all be yourself and let your passion shine through!

You will naturally be enthused by your product or service. Enthusiasm comes from the Greek meaning 'God within', which sums up just how powerful it can be.

2. Know what you do - and who for

Focus on the solution you provide to your target market.

The temptation to try and appeal to the widest audience you can is counter-productive. It means that no-one understands what you are looking for.

For instance a marketing consultant shows no knowledge of their subject (or what they are looking for) when they say:

“I work with small companies as their outsourced marketing manager, but I also work alongside existing marketing departments in larger companies when they need extra resource”.

The marketing consultant who says:

“I help solicitors win profitable new clients”

immediately focuses the audience on their expertise and market.

3. Communicate effectively

When you are natural you are believable. If there is any conflict between your belief and your communication it will show.

In a UCLA study Dr Mehrabian found that getting the words right is vital, but you must also look and sound credible because when assessing that we depend

  • 7% on what you say (verbal)
  • 38% on how you communicate - pitch, attitude, tone and emphasis (vocal)
  • 55% on the way you look - facial expressions and body movements (visual)

Learn to ask open questions (ie those that require the other person to say more than a yes or no), listen attentively and make links to other people that you know.

Show a genuine interest in other people, so ask questions about them!

4. Manage your reputation

Be reliable, trustworthy and do what you say you would.

Present a professional image with your business cards, badge, e-mail address, website and profiles online.

Demonstrate your competence with:

Blogging
Publications
Speaking

5. Commit your time

Don’t be in a hurry. Getting business through networking takes time.

Don’t be seen as someone who only networks when they need something.

6. Collect people

Look for networking opportunities where you can find people relevant to your profession i.e. other professionals. But remember the larger and more diverse your network the more help you can be to others.

7. Build relationships

People are more likely to open their contacts for you when they like, know and trust you. So, focus on relationships first and business second.

Develop a giving mentality and become an advocate for others. Remember, what goes round comes round.

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:15:00, 24 Oct 06
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG
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How to profit from the internet
A friend of mine, Graham Jones, has some great information and advice on how to make money on the internet at his blog, www.grahamjones.co.uk.
Why not take a look.
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:17:00, 01 Sep 06
Tags: Other,NRG
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