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Business Networking Blog

Is networking still relevant?
On Monday evening this week I gave a quick interview to Rod Sloane before his talk on 'How to Barack Obama Your Business'. Rod asked me if networking was still relevant in today's Social Media World.

I replied that, in this world of huge choice, networking is more important than ever. Faced with thousands of possible suppliers on the Internet we rely on the recommendation of a trusted friend more than ever.

Rod used his iPhone to record the interview and then uploaded it from his iPhone. Listen to the audioboo interview here.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 15 Jul 09
Tags: Business Networking,Marketing,Social Media
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What business are you really in?
How many potential profitable business relationships do you leave behind you in your business networking without fully exploring the possibilities. The way you ask and answer questions determines the quality of the initial conversations you have and the connections you will make.

Many of the people I meet networking will give their business category when asked "What do you do?". They will say "I am a solicitor or accountant or business coach or web designer or marketing consultant or insurance broker or financial adviser or whatever their line of business is. This often means little or does not interest & engage the person who asked the question.

In an excellent talk from Rod Sloane yesterday on how to sell more products and services he reminded us of the question that Theodore Levitt asked Corporate America nearly 50 years ago. He asked what business are you really in. At the time the US Railroad companies answered Railroads rather than transport and subsequently lost out to the car industry. He argued that to to succeed your business must not focus on selling, but on providing solutions to your customers. If you focus solely on your industry your product may become obsolete, but if you focus on your customers you can adapt to changing needs. Ground breaking ideas and insights in the early 1960s and still good advice today.

So next time someone asks what you do answer with what your customers really buy from you. If you don't know that then ask a few of them.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 14 Jul 09
Tags: Business Networking,Marketing,Proposition
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How to Barack Obama your Business
Tonight I am attending an event where guest speaker Rod Sloane will be talking about 'How to Barack Obama your Business - a special evening programme for business owners who want to sell more products and services'. Rod first used this great headline after the US Presidential elections. It captured the imagination because of Barack Obama's great marketing and is in language that the audience can immediately understand. The sub heading addresses his target market and the problem they have.

If you struggle to get your message across think about presenting your business in the language of your clients. What is your equivalent to 'How to Barack Obama your Business' and 'business owners who want to sell more products and services'?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:15:00, 13 Jul 09
Tags: Business Networking,Proposition
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The killer app in business networking
In ‘Trust is the Killer App’ Leon Benjamin quotes William Davies at the Institute for Public Policy Research who recently published a ground breaking paper that examines the role of the government in the increasingly decentralised social and political activities taking place online. He states there are three sources of trust: State, Community & Online Community. Notice the absence of corporations. He goes on to say that “out of nowhere trust has become the most talked about abstractions of our times

In the NRG research into business networking trust was identified as a central factor due to the complex nature of the relationships that develop and the possible impacts both positive and negative that may result:

"Transactions that occur within a network are not always backed with a monetary transaction. There are many levels of granularity, and this presents an opportunity to develop trust with acceptable risk.

Therefore forming a network should be based on developing trust, and trust can be defined as 'Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person'
."

So Trust is the killer application in business networking and that means you need to take a long term view. To quote the research again,

"Many businesses who network are in the establishment phase of their business. They may stay there for some considerable time. They would like to grow their sales and value. The short term pressures of getting sales and cash flows may not sit easily with developing trust, which is a long term strategy, rather than a short term tactic.

The paradox in the establishment phase is that a trusted network could offer resources, credibility, a cost saving and a time saving. Businesses who develop a strategic network have developed their businesses and their relationships. They are able to reap the benefits of trust
!"

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:57:00, 10 Jul 09
Tags: Business Networking,Networking Transactions,Trust,Research,Networking Relationships
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Are you listening or shouting online?
I have listened to Graham Jones speak at seminars at NRG Business Networking Events a couple of times recently. His theme has been 'How to double your Web Site Traffic'. His advice has been gratefully received (and hopefully acted on!) by the participants.

More and more people have asked him about Twitter during the presentations and he has given a couple of great examples about how you can use Twitter (and other Social Media) to listen for conversations relevant to you and your business and then engage in those conversations. Many business people have looked at Twitter and assumed it is for shouting about your services rather than engaging in conversations. This is a bit like going to a networking event and selling to the people there. I have written in previous posts that networking is not selling.

I have a couple of automated Twitter searches set up for Networking and NRG Networking specifically. On more than a few occasions recently I have been alerted to comments about NRG from members and guests and then responded directly to questions from people who replied to those comments.

For more on this subject take a look at Graham's excellent Beginners Guide to Twitter.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 09 Jul 09
Tags: Business Networking,Listening,Social Media,Twitter,Conversations
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Do people like you get business through networking
At a networking lunch yesterday a business owner asked me if people like him got business through networking. He was fairly new to business networking and wanted some reassurance even though he had been referred to the NRG group by the owner of a similar business who had done very well.

A couple of people overheard and asked about what he did and what he was looking for. They shared some advice on his answers and some specifics that people in the room could help him with.

Someone else shared how he had received many referrals and other intangibles in support and advice and said,

"If you have a viable business, are likeable and helpful you can get loads of business. If you only have a viable business but aren't much of a people person it will take you longer!"

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 08 Jul 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works
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The Compass, the Clock & Networking
In 'Leadership and Networking' I wrote about the Mastering Leadership Event from William Montgomery of askten. William used an illustration of a compass and a clock to help you focus on your top priorities. The compass represents your direction and the clock how you manage your time.

In networking think about the compass when working out your strategy. This includes why you are networking, where you are headed with your networking and what you need to do to get there. What networks are a good strategic fit for you. The key relationships to focus on & the time you will invest.


Think about the clock for managing your time in relation to your networking activities. When you schedule time for a networking meeting also schedule in the time for follow up & 121 meetings. When you promise to do something then schedule a specific time. If Online Networks and Social Media are important to your business then schedule specific time.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 7:00:00, 07 Jul 09
Tags: Business Networking,Social Media,Online Networking,Networking Follow Up,Networking Objectives,Time Management
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Why are you networking?
People network for different reasons. Some business and some social. Whatever your reason it's a good idea to have it clear in your own mind or you may spend time and money without a clear return. This podcast, 'Why are you networking & are you prepared?' includes some advice on the subject:


Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:30:00, 06 Jul 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Objectives
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Reasons for Networking Cycle 2
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:19:00, 06 Jul 09
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Inner Network Cycle 1
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:18:00, 06 Jul 09
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