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Business Networking Blog

Twitter for business
Twitter, other Social Media and Social Networks are proving a great resource for building relationships in the small business area. Many of the people you meet or would like to meet are using these sites to stay in touch and share their expertise.

Getting started on a site like Twitter can be daunting so I am pleased that NRG-networks member, Graham Jones, has produced an easy to follow guide. It has links to other useful resources and you can download at:

Beginner's Guide to Twitter

If you are on Twitter already you can find me at http://twitter.com/DaveClarke

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:00:00, 09 Jun 09
Tags: Social Networking,Business Networking,Social Media,Twitter
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How do you get your new business?
One of the questions I often ask the owners of small businesses is "How do you get your new business?" The most popular response is "Recommendation or Referral".

The response is to be expected, but what is often surprising is that many of these people do not know who gave them the recommendation or referred them. For some of them this leads to much unproductive 'networking' activity almost entirely focused on meeting lots of people.

The best networkers know exactly who is referring them. This means they can concentrate their business development time with the relationships that really matter to them. In a really productive networking group you will often find at least one sub group of people that are using the regular meeting to maintain these quality relationships. These people will spend most of their 'networking' time in regular groups and One2One time with the members.

Do you know who is referring you and where you should be investing your networking time?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:44:00, 08 Jun 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Word of Mouth,Referrals,Networking Relationships
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Effective online networking in groups
As you make more contacts online on sites like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter it can be hard to maintain effective communication. A great way to focus some of the conversation is to start a group where you can share your expertise and engage with people who are truly interested. I have been invited by a number of contacts to new groups they have started this week on Linkedin & Facebook. We have NRG-networks groups on these networks where we share content and interact.

Take a look at these NRG-networks online groups for the type of things you can do with minimal effort:

NRG-networks Group on Facebook

NRG-networks Group on Linkedin

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast


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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 05 Jun 09
Tags: Social Networking,Business Networking,Facebook,Linkedin,Social Media,Online Networking,Twitter
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More than just showing up
I love the quote from Woody Allen that 80% of success is showing up, but as Nick Ingram pointed out over at the NRG-networks Linkedin Group it takes more than just that.

As Nick said you need to show up regularly "Just stick at it, offer expertise and help, you will be rewarded in ROI, but it might take a while."

He then stressed the importance of follow-up and said, "How many people have I listened to who, when asked, admitted that they had not followed up on the people they had met or spoken to or who had given them contact details? I'll tell you, ... loads!"

So be persistent and don't forget the follow up.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:10:00, 04 Jun 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Linkedin,NRG,Online Networking,Networking Follow Up
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Sharing your expertise with your network in 10 minutes
Many networking groups give you the opportunity to speak for 10 minutes to the group to let them know more about you and what you do. I know the prospect terrifies some people, but a well delivered 10 minutes is a great way of building your profile.

If you are nervous about it then why not get the Group Host to interview you. I saw this done recently and it worked really well. The speaker was in financial services and the host asked beforehand for the 3 biggest issues that his clients were currently facing?

The host then introduced the 10 minute speaker and asked for his advice on these 3 things with a question and answer approach. It worked really well and the speaker came over as knowledgeable, credible and helpful. All great for building his reputation.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:30:00, 03 Jun 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Public Speaking,Reputation
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The real opportunity represented by people in the room
If you are new to business networking you may well be looking for opportunities to do business with the people you meet. This can be a very short term view and you may well stop before you really get to the benefits to be gained from networking. Each person you meet knows many more people. In the longer term having that person as an advocate can lead you to repeated and consistent business opportunities. When you meet someone that has the potential to unlock many doors for you then build the relationship first.

Someone asked me today about the types of business represented in the NRG-networks groups. He said "I am keen to join but would like a summary of who your members are ?? Small / Medium or large business ..."

I replied "Mostly Directors & Partners in small (10 to 49 employees).
They are suppliers & trusted advisers to medium & large.
"

It is the second sentence in my reply that demonstrates the real opportunity. The size and types of business they have dealings and real influence with.

The subject also came up in this blog post recently;
'Having conversations that matter when networking'

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:21:00, 02 Jun 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG
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Seminars and sharing your expertise with your network
For someone to advocate you and your services they will probably need some experience of what you do at some stage. One of the challenges in building your network of advocates is how do you give others this experience when they are unlikely to be customers.

One great way to do this is by delivering seminars and a number of networks include this type of activity. In fact most of our NRG networking events include a member delivered seminar.

In the business networking research we commissioned a couple of years back one respondent shared this:

"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 as a result of doing a presentation where I share my secrets..."

Would your expertise lend itself to a good seminar?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:25:00, 01 Jun 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Referrals,Public Speaking
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Telling a story to illustrate what you do
One of the attendees at a seminar I presented last week on effective business networking shared that she had used some of the advance material at a breakfast meeting that morning. She had used her one minute there to tell a story about a client and felt that people fully understood for the first time what she did.

One of the exercises we use in NRG Business Networking Seminars is to try and help people communicate what they do in a way that people will understand more readily.

Some people have a tendency to over complicate their explanation of what they do. One very simple way to help people understand is to tell a quick story. The elements needed are a quick explanation of the situation one of your clients was facing, what you did and the result. With practice you can make sure the example represents the type of client you deal with, the problems they have that you solve and the results you achieve. It's no accident that the media use human interest in their stories so why not do the same?

Here is a quick example from one of our NRG networking groups. A new partner in a professional firm needed to generate his own clients from scratch within a limited time and with few local connections. He joined one of our networking groups and spent time each month connecting with other professionals and building a small number of good relationships giving support and making referrals where he could. A year on and he has a steadily increasing number of referrals and new clients from the time invested in these relationships.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 29 May 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG,Referrals,Proposition
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Networking with your competitors
There's a great story in Andy Lopata's latest 'Connecting is not enough' newsletter. Andy recently shared a platform as a speaker with former State President of South Africa and Nobel Laureate F W de Klerk. He relates how the 2 political opponents, de Klerk and Nelson Mandela, collaborated in raising electoral funds. It's a great story and you can read the full story at the link above. (There is more about the pair's relationship in Andy's blog at 'The Art of Relationship Building - F W de Klerk and Nelson Mandela').

In my experience people who think of themselves as competitors often find more in common to collaborate on than they think. I remember meeting an accountant who expressed some trepidation that he may encounter other accountants at an upcoming NRG business networking event.

I asked him where most of his referrals came from. He paused for a minute, smiled and said "other accountants!"

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:43:00, 28 May 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Collaboration,Blog
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Getting your mind right for networking
I have seen a number of presenters over the years talk about how they get themselves in the right mindset before undertaking some activity or other. These have ranged from simple things like breathing exercises to complicated figure of eight walking patterns.

I attended an excellent networking masterclass from Nigel Temple last night. During one of the discussions Nigel was sharing how open questions were much more important than any elevator pitch and said that he always thinks CAKE before networking. Why cake you might ask. Cake reminds him of Mr Kipling (exceedingly good cakes!) and that reminds him of a verse from the poem in The Elephant's Child from Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories:

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

That reminds Nigel to prepare for asking questions and then actively listening when he meets people. That way he can listen and make relevant connections for the people he meets.

How do you make sure you get in the right frame of mind?

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

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:14:00, 27 May 09
Tags: Listening,How Networking Works
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