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Business Networking Blog

How to get something done
"There are three ways to get something done:
do it yourself, employ someone, or forbid your children to do it
."

That's a great and amusing quote from Monta Crane.

Many owners of small businesses and professional firms, however, seem to think there is only one way and they try and do everything themselves. There is nothing more unrewarding than spending a day trying to sort out the administration and accounting that would take a professional little more than minutes per week. We had the tax return deadline in the UK recently and there were more than a few business owners scratching their heads over carrier bags full of a years receipts!

There are a great and growing number of providers of outsourced administration, bookkeeping and VA services. You can 'employ' someone to take on that work very cost effectively whilst you concentrate on building your core business and its value.

Remember that networking is a great way of finding suppliers and team members as well as growing your business.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 17 Feb 09
Tags: How Networking Works,Networking Objectives
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The difference between Networking and Selling
I attended two recent networking events recently. At each of these I met someone running a property business for the 1st time. Each of them sold properties abroad to UK Nationals.

The first one described how he had got into the business after buying a property himself. His experience had been problematic to say the least and he determined that in his business he would do everything to ensure a great experience for the client so they could buy the property and enjoy it free from hassle and red tape. During our conversation we found we had various interests, friends and acquaintances in common. We agreed to meet up again and explore how we can help each other.

The second one gave the briefest of elevator pitches and then said "Is that something you would be interested in?". The conversation was very brief.

Which of the two do you think will lead to a mutually beneficial and profitable relationship?

You can hear more about the subject in this podcast on the difference between networking and selling.

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

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 05 Feb 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Relationships
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Pay Attention!
I can remember the words of teachers at school instructing us to "Pay Attention" at certain times. They were used to get us to focus on the teacher or the task in hand and stop paying attention to ourselves and other distractions. The teacher knew that we would only learn if we paid attention.

As we start a new working week I know where we are headed as a business in the longer term, the next two to three years. I also know where we are headed in the shorter term, the next two to three months. This means I also know which things are important right now. I also know that if I don't pay attention to them they will not happen.

Paying Attention is important in networking too. Both with regard to your objectives and to the people you meet. When you meet with someone at a networking meeting or in a One2ONe remember to pay full attention to the other person when they are speaking. Only then will you be able to listen fully to what they are saying, ask good questions and be able to identify what they are looking for and how you can help.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 02 Feb 09
Tags: Business Networking,One2One,How Networking Works,Networking Objectives,Attention
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How to have a good One2One meeting
I had a recent One2One meeting with another Business Owner who asked for some help with One2One meetings. He explained that he was following up with people from his networking groups and was having One2Ones with a couple of people each month. His problem was that nothing was happening afterward. He shared his experience from a couple of these meetings which revealed that he had no agenda and was setting no expectation for what might happen next.

When agreeing to meet someone for a One2One for the first time in a Networking context your aim should be to establish whether you are going to go forward & build a business relationship or not. You don't need a formal agenda, but there are some things that help in the long term when you agree them up front:

1. The amount of time you will both set aside for the meeting
2. What you want to learn about each others background and business.
3. Is there a fit between your business and theirs and could you see yourself being able to introduce them to other trusted contacts of yours. What would need to happen for that to take place?
4. What the next steps will be.

I use this simple mind map to make sure I keep these things in mind.



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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:24:00, 27 Jan 09
Tags: Business Networking,One2One,NRG,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up
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Who do you already know, like and trust?
I have used this quote from Bob Burg before:

"All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to
those people they know, like and trust.
"

I meet many business owners and professionals who end up constantly searching for new contacts when networking. It seems that it is very easy to forget those that we already have a relationship with.

I met with a partner in a consultancy firm last week who had carried out a business diagnostic for nearly 100 companies a couple of years back. What a great database of ready made contacts without having to meet anyone new!

In a recent podcast, 'How to start building your network', I spoke about identifying those people you already know or have worked with. A little bit of reconnecting can produce brilliant results.

Some of those people already know, like and trust you!

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:29:00, 20 Jan 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG,Networking Relationships
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Generating business through Linkedin
I recently reconnected with someone on Linkedin that I had done business with previously. We already knew, liked and trusted each other & are now doing business again. It has also led to us delivering some additional networking training business for business owners and professional firms.

It is worth using the Linkedin tools to find the people from your existing contacts that are already there and getting back in touch. People often forget their existing contacts when networking and I talked about this in a podcast recently, 'How to start building your network'.

The following article from the NRG Business Networking Newsletter by Will Kintish explains more about how Linkedin works;
'LinkedIn…your best online networking friend'.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:00:00, 16 Jan 09
Tags: Social Networking,Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Connections,NRG,Networking Relationships
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A networking system gives predictable results
If you have set objectives for your networking then you can quantify the actions you need to undertake to achieve your results. This simple mindmap shows a four step networking system. The ultimate goal of this is getting other business people to recommend and advocate you. After all that is what networking is all about for many people.



1. Target Market
Identify the people you are trying to reach with your products or services. More in a previous entry, 'How to identify your typical customer' and this podcast, 'Your target market – Who is your right person?'

2. Proposition
This podcast, 'How to explain what you do', gives you some advice on how you can always answer quickly, confidently and effectively when someone asks, “What do you do?“.

3. Inner Network

This podcast, 'How to focus on the right people when networking', explains how to concentrate on building your Inner Network. Build close relationships with others who provide a complementary service to the same target market as you. This will help your networking to become a regular and reliable source of new business.

4. Advocates
This podcast, 'How to motivate your network to advocate you', explains how to set about motivating others in your Inner Network to advocate you.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:00:00, 08 Jan 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG
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How to be successful in Networking
Many people make resolutions for the year ahead at this time. Often these resolutions are forgotten quickly as they are all about an outcome rather than the specific things that will produce the outcome.

For example you could resolve to get more referrals, but without some actions you will not achieve this. A better resolution would be to arrange follow up meetings with someone from the groups you belong to every week and to introduce each of those people to at least one opportunity. That will get you more referrals.

These words from Aristotle help me when thinking about how to be successful;

"Understand that You can achieve Success.
Define what Success represents, for You.
Organise you life around its Achievement."

If you are making any resolutions then make them about the specific actions you can take to organise yourself around your success. Your successful resolutions will create new habits. To quote Aristotle again:

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit"

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

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:26:00, 31 Dec 08
Tags: How Networking Works,Networking Objectives
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A perfect referral
A couple of weeks ago I was at a meeting when Andy Lopata was one of the other attendees. To start the session each of the attendees was invited to share something significant from their business over the last month.

Andy shared that the previous week he had delivered a paid for keynote speech to 1200 people. The feedback had been enthusiastic and was likely to lead to more similar engagements. He went on to thank me for the referral that had lead to this opportunity.

It was not the result of a chance happening, but a great illustration of how you can generate excellent referrals when you work at your networking.

Andy and I have known each other for about four years and have built a business friendship. We know, like and trust each other and have a formal process for sharing referrals to ensure the relationship is also a profitable one. Early last year I invited Andy along to one of the Referral Institute's Pipeline training sessions and following on from that we meet regularly with the specific purpose of sharing referrals.

Andy has identified exactly the companies he is looking for introductions to. In one of our meetings I recognised someone in my network who was well placed to introduce Andy to one of the companies he had identified.

Andy made the introduction easy for me by explaining exactly why the company would benefit from being introduced to him. My contact already knew of Andy from a seminar that he had delivered at one of our NRG groups. Her confidence together with the trust I already had in Andy made it easy for her to refer him for the speaking opportunity he was seeking.

Andy subsequently followed up with my contact at length and in good time as expected. He also kept me in the loop so that my existing relationship was also strengthened.

The end result - a perfect referral!

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:50:00, 15 Dec 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG
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Following up is very hard to do
There was some excellent advice on follow up in Jeffrey Gitomer's Sales Caffeine Ezine this week. I have written extensively about the importance of follow up in this blog previously. It is in the following up and 1-2-1 meetings that you really build the mutually beneficial business relationships that drive your networking success. Many people find follow up very difficult. As Jeffrey put it;

"Is there a secret to follow-up? No.
Is there a best way to follow-up? No.
Why do people quit too soon? Big question.
Why do you quit too soon? Bigger question.
Have you ever read Think and Grow Rich? Biggest question.

Reason? Think and Grow Rich (written by Napoleon Hill 70 years ago) has an entire chapter on persistence that provides real insight as to the characteristics of what makes some stick at it until they win, while others stop either just after they start, or stop just before they are about to taste victory.
"

You can see most of Think and Grow Rich online at Google Books. Chapter 9 is the one on persistence.

If you struggle with following up then some of what Napolean Hill had to say on How to Develop Persistence may help.

"There are four simple steps which lead to the habit of persistence, They call for no great amount of intelligence, no particular amount of education, and but little time or effort. The necessary steps are:

1. A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment.
2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances.
4. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.
"

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:56:00, 11 Dec 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Follow Up
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