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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

Is networking a bit woolly?
In a workshop before a recent Networking Lunch a conversation took place between a couple of the attendees. Let's call them A and B.

A said "I am not really sure about this networking stuff".

B replied "It's about getting to know, like and trust people. You build relationships and as you help and refer others then others do the same for you".

A then said "That all sounds a bit woolly to me. I prefer things I can predict my cash flow with".

I described how I have a number of regular meetings with people in my network where we share an agreed number of referrals so we can predict cash flow. These are people for whom networking is not woolly, but a proven and reliable method of business development. We have invested time in building relationships and are happy to share our contacts with each other openly so as to maximise our referral opportunities.

Last week Sarah Owen of the Referral Institute presented a Networking Masterclass before the NRG Charing Cross networking lunch in London. One of the things she want through was their VCP Process™. This stands for Visibility, Credibility and Profitability*. People can believe the activity of attending networking events is enough. It is not as that can only really build your Visibility. Good networking groups provide the environment for you to build on this and create profitable relationships with people you know and others you want to know.

One of the elements of their Referrals for Life Programme is the Referral Pipeline where you get to spend a day with a trusted contact and execute a process that will efficiently generate enough referrals to completely fill up your sales pipeline!

Networking is only woolly if you are!

*VCP Process™ copyright Referral Institute 2010, all rights reserved.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:20:00, 30 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,VCP,Business Networking Techniques,Business Networking Groups,Visibility,Trust,Credibility,Referrals,Profitability
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Networking and the 4 Ps of Marketing
In a presentation last week from Gill Hunt of Skillfair I was reminded of the 4 Ps of Marketing - product, price, placement, promotion. In traditional marketing these are taught as the four elements essential to get right in any marketing. The world has changed with the Internet, but they can provide a useful checklist to help in our networking.

Promotion is often the initial driver for a business owner or professional to start 'formal networking'. This can lead to too much emphasis initially on trying to sell to the people you meet. You quickly learn that networking is about building relationships with others in similar markets to you - your 'Inner Network'. The best way to get your network to promote or advocate you is to get in the habit of advocating them first.

The other 3 Ps are useful in working out where to network and who with. Where to find the people who will become part of your Inner Network. If your product is providing a solution to a business problem then you can work out the places you should be networking. It is in those groups where the other members provide similar value (price) services to yours. They should be working regularly with the types of businesses you work with.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:35:00, 23 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Marketing
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Using online to get offline
At a networking lunch last week someone asked about how you get to meet up offline with some of the people you connect with online. Networking online & offline are about about building relationships. You can strengthen existing connections online and make good new connections. Build relationships by contributing to online conversations and sharing your knowledge and connections. At some point you will probably need to meet up to really build trust. You may not be quite ready to meet One2One so consider inviting them along to a networking group you belong to.

Last week I attended an Event on 'How real time web is facilitating offline interactivity'. One of the speakers Meetup Founder, Scott Heiferman, was talking about the importance of meeting offline and said Meetup itself was all about:

"Using the Internet to get off the Internet!"

A pretty good approach to keep in mind with your online networking.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 10 top networking tips to increase business with the effective use of offline & online networks

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:00:00, 17 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,One2One,How Networking Works,Online,Offline Networking,Business Networking Groups,Trust,Online Networking,Networking Relationships,Networking Tips,Conversations
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How to decide where to spend time online networking
At a couple of meetings last week people asked me which online networks they should use. People tend to read the buzz about Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc & assume they need to be on them all. They can often feel daunted at the prospect of somehow incorporating all these into their networking.

I replied that the approach to networking is the same as offline. It is all about building relationships where people get to know, like and trust you. The important consideration for business networking is that the people you build those relationships with are in a position to refer you in the course of their everyday experiences. You should be networking online and offline in the networks where those people are members.

As I wrote in 10 top networking tips to increase business with the effective use of offline & online networks:

"Business Networking is about finding other business people who operate in similar markets to you. Then helping them and building relationships to earn that trust so don’t expect instant results. Like anything worthwhile, networking takes time and application. Take the time to develop relationships and create a network. Don’t expect to walk into a room of strangers or simply post a profile online and come away with business – it just doesn’t work like that!"

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:59:00, 16 Mar 10
Tags: Like,Offline Networking,Networking Tips,Twitter,Business Networking,How Networking Works,Facebook,Know,Business Networking Groups,Linkedin,Trust,Online Networking,Networking Relationships
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How much should you give away?
In Nigel Temple's excellent Internet Marketing Masterclass yesterday there was a discussion about how much of your knowledge you should give away. A few years ago I sat in discussions where people argued that you should give nothing away. Yesterday most people were happy with the notion of giving away about 20%, but holding back the rest to charge for. It's the old 'Sprat to catch a mackerel' notion.

Most of us, however, are unhappy when we feel someone is holding something back. It gets in the way of building relationships. If you want people to refer you or do business with you that might be a problem!

The World has been changed forever with this thing called the Internet. Most knowledge is now freely available somewhere if you search for it. Some people will pay for your knowledge, but mainly they will pay for the the value you add.

Consider this statement from someone who is very successful in developing his business with networking. This was part of his response to the NRG research into business networking:

"I do not do any cold calling. All my business comes from networking and referrals. Networking is not about selling, it's about building relationships.

Much of the business is a result of doing a presentation where I share ALL my secrets so people know how to do what I do.

Mostly, they prefer to ask me to do it for them. Even though I've explained how they can do it for themselves!


Nigel was a living example of this in his Masterclass yesterday. The only thing the people attending were really paying for was the cost of the room for a few hours. He was then giving away his knowledge freely for a couple of hours.

Some of those people are now paying for his help to implement the stuff!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:13:00, 11 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Marketing,Networking Tips
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Reducing your business risks with networking
In the NRG research into business networking conducted a few years ago the findings included the ways in which building trusted relationships through networking reduces your risk in doing business. Perhaps the more obvious ones were the benefits you get from having more people looking for opportunities for you and good honest feedback about your business.

Another one was the business intelligence that your network contains. A great example of this for those operating in the UK is the results from NRG member and Skillfair founder, Gill Hunt, for their 2010 UK Consultancy Fee Rate Survey*. This was her biggest ever survey so the results are pretty definitive. Rates by specialism, sector and region.

As Gill says "You can use this information as a guide when buying or selling consultancy and freelance services - day rate isn't everything but it gives you a place to start and confidence that you're in the right area."

I am also pleased to report that NRG members get 11% more than the average!

*Full results published here.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:01:00, 05 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Trust,Research,Networking Relationships
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Follow up is the difference
Someone asked me this week "What is the main difference between people who are effective in their networking and those who are not?"

I replied that there were generally a number of factors. The first being that there are those that 'get it' and those that don't. By that I mean there are those who understand how networking works and some who have the idea that is some sort of selling or purely social activity.

The big difference, though, is with those that set aside time to spend following up with others. Investing time in getting to know, like, & trust them and then connecting them with the things they need to know and the people they need to know to help them achieve their busines objectives. You only get to know the relevant content and contacts in the context that is right for them by spending time with them.

In 'A simple way of standing out from the crowd' I wrote how you can stand out by becoming one of the proactive few who regularly follow up.

One simple way of ensuring you do this is to get in the habit of setting aside time in your diary for follow up and 121s after networking meetings.

I talk for a couple of minutes on follow up in this podcast, 'Follow up, Follow up, Follow up!'
Listen here:

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:15:00, 03 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Follow Up,Networking Tips
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Should you be on Linkedin?
Earlier this week I was asked whether Linkedin was useful for someone in a Professional Services Business. I have experienced the growing popularity of Linkedin in the UK through the NRG-networks Linkedin Group I manage.

I replied that it was not really about just being on Linkedin, but how you use it to complement your offline networking. The reality is that the more proactive networkers are already using Linkedin to interact, build and strengthen trusted relationships with others operating in their target markets. If you do not have an active presence online then you are missing out on this.

Online networks like Linkedin are a great complement to offline networks if you are providing services on a Regional or National basis. You can read about this in more details in '10 top tips to increase business with the effective use of offline & online networks'.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:30:00, 02 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,Linkedin,Online Networking,Networking Tips
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How to become a proactive networker
I have been doing some work with an NRG member on developing an online training course for networking. She came back with an excellent insight this morning after reviewing the material;

"I would definitely get more benefit from my networking after doing this training by being more focused on objectives, rather than just expecting things to evolve/happen."

It is not unusual for people to wait for things to happen in networking rather than concentrating on things to make things happen. The most successful networkers, though, get on and don't wait.

In Applying the 7 habits to your business networking I wrote that habit 1* is 'Be Proactive'. You need commitment and the right attitude. Take the lead in conversations, make connections, and share your expertise.

So just how do you make yourself proactive in networking?

The first thing is to decide your objectives and then set yourself targets for the things you can do to help you achieve those objectives.

These podcasts may help you discover what you want and what you can do.
1. 'Why are you networking & are you prepared?'
2. Developing a Networking Strategy

Then it's down to you to do it!


*From the best selling Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:00:00, 23 Feb 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Business Networking Techniques,Networking Tips,7 habits,Networking Objectives
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Are you trying too hard for the perfect pitch?
Many networking events have a slot where you have to introduce yourself to the group. People can get so wrapped up in this that they think this is what networking is all about and spend ages trying to craft the perfect 'elevator pitch'. Forgetting that time is better spent in building relationships.

I was asked by someone last week for feedback on their pitch as they were not getting much out of their networking. When I asked what else he was doing in the way of helping others and following up there was a long pause in the conversation!

As long as you are able to express your proposition confidently & consistently when asked that is enough. The important elements are your target market, the problems you solve and your stories.

In my top 10 networking tips I explain the really important things to spend time on. Finding other business people who operate in similar markets to you. Then helping them and building relationships to earn the trust that is vital in business networking success.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:45:00, 16 Feb 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Business Networking Techniques,Trust,Networking Relationships,Proposition
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