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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

How many business cards are in that desk drawer?
I was presenting the NRG Business networking Advocacy Model earlier this week when the question of collecting business cards came up.

I was talking about the importance of following up and asked how many in the audience had piles of business cards from events that they had never done anything with. Like most audiences there were knowing and embarrassed smiles from a good number.

I still meet people at networking meetings, who just collect a business card and move on. Sometimes all they do is just give out their own card! Most people are not like this at all. They are genuinely networking to develop relationships, but forget about following up when something else comes up back at the office.

If you don't follow up then you may as well be aiming for 1st prize in a non existent business card collecting competition.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:10:00, 05 Nov 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Networking Follow Up
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Building your Pride
A couple of people recently have asked for advice on selecting people for their Inner Network. At the Referral Institute Conference last week Dawn Lyons and Jill Green spoke about the lessons you can learn from the different roles played by the members of a Pride of Lions in organising around a common goal.

Networking is about helping others as a way of growing your business, but it is important to build your pride with others committed to the same approach and with access to the right markets. People who will share your passion for what you do and who you can be passionate about too.

After the conference Dawn emailed me with some more on the subject of building your pride:

"The key to building your own pride is to first realize you have the right to select your pride members. Select wisely! Select pride members who are:
1) professional
2) they understand how to refer you
3) they believe in and are highly skilled in referral marketing
4) they have a want to and a desire to help you
5) you also enjoy referring them to others

Start slow and build your pride to 4-8 members and watch your referral business grow!
"

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:10:00, 04 Nov 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Referrals,Inner Network
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Ways of helping your advocates to refer you
I spoke at an event last night about the NRG Networking Advocacy Model*. The model suggests that effective networking is a result of building trusted relationships with your Inner Network. Others that share the same target market as you and provide a complementary service to yours. Over time you will actively refer and introduce some of these as you get to know, like, trust and rate them. Some of these will form your Advocate Network, the small group of people who regularly go out of their way to find introductions and referrals for you.

The speakers at the Referral Institute Conference last week all reinforced this view of networking. Sarah Owen addressed the subject of helping others to advocate you as you advocate them. The very act of advocating someone else is motivation for them, but only if they know! Unless you educate them on this and what you are looking for they will probably miss opportunities.

In your One2One interactions have you made sure they really know what you do and where? Can they pass on why you are good and what you love about your business? Do they know how you want to be promoted and who specifically you want to meet? Is there anything else that would make you stand out?

They may be saying things about you that you could use yourself.

*My previous post 'The Advocacy Model: Develop Advocates' has more detail and links to further posts on this subject.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:38:00, 03 Nov 09
Tags: Like,Business Networking,Know,Business Networking Techniques,Networking for Advocates,Trust,NRG,Referrals,Inner Network
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Asking for referrals
The subject of when it is right to ask for referrals came up at a networking meeting last week. In 'Are you stuck doing lots of networking with little reward?' I wrote about Mike macedonio's talk at the Referral Institute Conference on the VCP process (tm). VCP is the acronym Dr. Ivan Misner uses for Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability.

Mike emailed this 'nugget' to me afterward on this very subject:

"I do believe that in order to get referrals we need to ask. The key, however, is to know how to ask and when it is appropriate to make the request. When is the right time, you ask? The right time to ask for a referral is when BOTH parties are in the Credibility phase of the referral relationship. Networking should not be a system which ends up alienating your friends and family. Be conscious of the deposits you make into your relationships before you start “writing checks” or, in essence, ASKING for referrals from those you have relationships with."

As I wrote last week to be in this 'credibility' phase requires that each party knows each other and what they do and they perceive each other to be reliable and worthy of confidence. It's no good asking for a referral before someone even really knows you.

Just being part of a group does not mean you are known. You have to put some effort into building relationships. As I have written previously 'You don't get fit just by joining a gym' you have to follow a good process. I spoke to someone else last week who had been a member of a group for a year, but received no referrals. Part of the problem was he was not even known by many other of the others as he had only been able to attend one in four of the meetings! When you join a group make sure you can attend regularly and invest time in getting to really know the other members first.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:17:00, 02 Nov 09
Tags: Business Networking,Know,Business Networking Techniques,Business Networking Groups,Referrals
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Networking and Sex
The theme of one of the sessions at the Referral Institute UK & Ireland Conference was 'Networking and Sex - The Perfect Combination!' Hazel Walker shared some great insights from the findings of research she has completed with Ivan Misner on the different approaches to networking between men and women. Her talk was all about helping men and women to network more effectively with each other. She shared some great advice on the subject of asking for referrals and expanded on the presentation from Mike Macedonio that I wrote about a couple of days ago (Are you stuck doing lots of networking with little reward?)

The research findings suggested that men can have a tendency to go for a referral before establishing a good relationship. On the other hand women can be happy to carry on with the relationship and never ask for a referral. So women need to learn from men about asking for referrals at the right time and men need to learn from women about nurturing relationships first.

Hazel used some great dating analogies to illustrate the different approaches between men and women. Her forthcoming book on the subject promises to be a great read!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 30 Oct 09
Tags: Business Networking,Business Networking Techniques,Referrals
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Referral Marketing lessons from the Golf Course
Another speaker at the Referral Institute UK & Ireland Conference earlier this week was Mike Holman, Referral Institute Franchise owner and former Golf Professional. Mike entertained and educated us with the lessons to be learned from golf that can be applied to your referral marketing. In golf you generally have a specific target and play 9 or 18 holes accordingly. Unless you have a real vision for your business you cannot see & share the targets that will help you get there. Successful golf involves alignment, balance, timing and practice. It's the same in referral marketing. Your network needs to be aligned with what you do, the balance of giving and receiving needs to be right. In 'Are you stuck doing lots of networking with little reward?' yesterday I wrote about the relationship building that needs to be in place before the timing is right for profitable referrals.

Mike quoted Gary Player on the subject of practice when someone congratulated him on a lucky shot. Player agreed with the spectator and said "Yes and you know the more I practice the luckier I get!"

See this great video of Tiger Woods for someone who puts it all into practice on the golf course:


Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 29 Oct 09
Tags: Business Networking,Learning,Referrals,Networking Relationships,Golf
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Are you stuck doing lots of networking with little reward?
At the Referral Institute UK & Ireland Conference yesterday Mike Macedonio spoke about people who spend a lot of time networking, but who are effectively invisible. He spoke about the VCP process (tm) which is the acronym Dr. Ivan Misner uses for Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability.

Mike explained that you have to move through these stages in a referral relationship. This takes time, effort and commitment, but people often spend their time getting to meet lots & lots of people without ever getting to really know anyone. In practice profitability is achieved by going deep and establishing trusted relationships.

Visibility is only established when you know who someone is and what they do and they know the same about you.

Credibility is achieved when you each perceive each other to be reliable and worthy of confidence.

Profitability is when you are both consistently and proactively referring business to each other.

Does that mean that Visibility Networking is not important? No, you have to establish visibility first and that sort of networking will often be the place where you can introduce and find referrals for those in your Inner Network.

Read more about this in Mike's article 'Just Ask. Right? . . . No.'

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:03:00, 28 Oct 09
Tags: Business Networking,Business Networking Techniques,Trust,Referrals,Networking Relationships
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A great example of follow up
Making sure you follow up with the people you meet is the vital 2nd step in building business relationships. It's often the thing that gets forgotten as business cards pile up in your office! The people that do follow up stand out and some of those really make a great impression.

Several weeks ago I met someone who promised to send me some information. A few days later the information arrived in the post along with a copy of a book we had been discussing. That has prompted further interactions which are the building blocks of a profitable business relationship.

Are you in the habit of regular follow up?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 27 Oct 09
Tags: Business Networking,Business Networking Techniques,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up
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More on what networking is not
I met someone recently through networking who asked for a One2One meeting to 'explore possible ways of working together'. I agreed to the meeting, but the experience was entirely different. The other person did not approach it as a mutual exchange amd presented his business for the entire time. Instead of a One2One it was more of a One@One!

Building trusted relationships is fundamental to getting results from business networking. These take time and include many exchanges of help, support and referrals. It is often within One on One or One2One meetings that these exchanges take place. Make sure you approach One2Ones in the right spirit of building relationships through mutual exchange.

See 'How to have a good One2One meeting' for more on the subject.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:00:00, 26 Oct 09
Tags: Business Networking,One2One,Trust,Networking Relationships
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Networking is still not about selling
I have blogged before that networking is not selling yet I still meet people at networking events that are intent on selling to the room. I was at an event the other day where a couple of people were complaining that they had got clients the first couple of times they attended, but those sorts of people didn't come any more.

What a shock. They were probably put off by people selling to them all the time. As I often write networking is not about selling directly. If you build relationships in the right way then you don't have to sell. Your network does it for you!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 23 Oct 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Business Networking Techniques,Networking for Advocates,Business Networking Groups,Selling,Networking Relationships
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