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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

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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Am I doing something wrong?
I spoke to someone yesterday that I met at a recent networking event. I asked him what he felt about the event. He said he had enjoyed it, but said,

"I haven't got any business from it though. I have been to a couple of other groups too and it was the same. I must be doing something wrong!"

I asked how many times he had been to each group.

The reply, "Once".

I asked if he really expected to get business from one meeting.

As I said in my recent post, sell through the room not to the room:

If you are looking for business today from the people you meet, that is selling. Successful networking builds your business for tomorrow through the relationships you build with the people you meet.

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 9:57:00, 09 Dec 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works
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Do you know what you want from your networking?
Do you have a clear idea of your business networking objectives?

I saw the following from 'Alice in Wonderland' in the excellent ezine from Marieke Hensel of Branding Personality this week.

Alice:“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Alice: “I don't much care where.”
The Cat: “Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.”
Alice: “…so long as I get somewhere.”
The Cat: “Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”

Marieke was sharing how to avoid the top 6 mistakes you can make on Linkedin. Mistake number 1 is not setting goals. The same is true for Business Networking in general. You must be clear about your objectives to start with.

If, for example, you are networking to generate new business then invest some time to work out your strategy & set yourself some targets. Calculate how many referrals you will need to achieve your target and that will give you a rough number for the referrals you need to give.

Work out where you can regularly meet the business people you can form relationships with and give referrals to. They are the ones most likely to be able to refer you too. You can then plan for the groups you need to join and commit to the activity you need to undertake.

Over time this investment will pay dividends over and over again.

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 17:23:00, 05 Dec 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Objectives
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Joining a networking group can be like joining a Gym
A couple of people have asked me recently, "What will I get if I join one of your networking groups?". My answer is that we concentrate on recruiting quality people and facilitating quality networking. What you get will be a direct result of how you follow up and the effort you put in. Consider the analogy of joining a gym or fitness club.

We are approaching the time of year when many people join a gym with the aim of getting fitter or losing some weight. However, we all know that paying the money is not enough. You only get results if you put the effort into training, and often you need a personal trainer to really get going. The same is true of networking and you have to put the effort into getting to know people and investing in relationships first. Understanding how networking works is a good start. As Bob Burg said:

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

Business Networking is about finding other business people who operate in similar markets to you, and building relationships to earn that trust. Once you understand and commit yourself to making it work you can actively do the things that will make your networking effective and productive.

Over the next few posts I will revisit some of these things for you:

http://business-networking.blogspot.com/2008/12/do-you-know-what-you-want-from-your.html
* Have you got a System?
* Who do you know already?
* What is your Target Market?
* Is your Proposition clear?
* Who is in your Inner Network?
* How do your grow your Advocates?


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, 27 Nov 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG
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Sell through the room not to the room
I had an email from a Professional in a large firm a couple of days ago about the experience of one of his colleagues networking at NRG-networks. He said it was one of the more productive groups for his firm and generated useful referrals leading to chargeable work.

He shared that his approach is on a 'sell through' the room rather than 'sell to the room' basis. He is absolutely spot on with that.

If you are looking for business today from the people you meet, that is selling. Successful networking builds your business for tomorrow through the relationships you build with the people you meet.

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 17:31:00, 25 Nov 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG,Networking Relationships
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How to identify your typical customer
Over the last couple of weeks I have run a couple of effective business networking seminars and spoken on the subject at a conference for business consultants.

On each occasion people have struggled with the subject of their target market. When networking (as in marketing generally) it is essential to focus on a specific market segment. If you have more than one type of client then the most effective thing is to pick the client type most relevant to the people you are with. So, if you are with other owners of other service businesses, think about who their clients are likely to be. Talk about your typical clients in the markets they operate in.

During one session an accountant helped explain the point by sharing how he always focused on one specialism, International Tax. His firm can do other work, but that is his primary focus and he gets great results. Over time that is the expertise that he has become renowned for. He also knows where to invest his time and effort in finding referrals for the people that can refer him.

You can hear some more on this subject of target market in a recent NRG Podcast, 'Your target market – Who is your right person?'

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, 19 Nov 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG
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Networking produces results that grow exponentially
In a recent post, 'Networking saves Time and Money', I wrote about how your cost of doing business reduces over time with networking.

It was great to see in my inbox today the latest mailing from the IoD (Institute of Directors). They agree on the cost effective nature of networking and are urging their members to pursue more networking opportunities:

"If you’re tightening your company spend over the unsettling months ahead, networking is an effective resource to leverage your contacts and generate new business.

Aggressively pursue your networking opportunities over the turbulent months ahead; be seen and be heard while your competitors hibernate. Networking produces results that grow exponentially; people do business with people they know.
"

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 14:10:00, 05 Nov 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works
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Join a networking group and save 2 years
A number of NRG-networks members shared some experiences recently on how long it took them to get results from networking. Each of them owned a specialist consulting business operating with Corporate Customers. Typically it had taken them a couple of years to work out the importance of being structured and targeted with their networking.

At the end one of them said the reason that he liked our NRG groups so much was that they were structured so he could identify and build his Inner Network much more quickly than in other groups he had tried and in a lot of random activity. In fact it had taken him 2 months to achieve what had taken him 2 years elsewhere.

If your networking seems to be going nowhere take some time to work out what the right groups are for you and your business. A good question to start with is "Where do the owners of other businesses with similar markets to you network?"

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, 03 Nov 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG
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Networking saves time and money
I was involved in a meeting with owners of small businesses last week. One of the topics was the importance of networking in a recession. The consensus of each of the owners was that, for them, networking is the most cost effective way of building a route to market. Once trusted relationships are in place opportunities are consistently uncovered and shared. You do not have to keep hunting for that one off elusive piece of business.

Your return on investment keeps multiplying as you maintain the relationships.

Another benefit of networking that is little appreciated is this:
Over time your costs actually decrease!
Once you find the right networking groups and your inner network you spend more time with fewer people.

Compare that to the costs involved in other marketing.
You only continue to get results by continuing to spend more.

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 11:00:00, 31 Oct 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Trust,Networking Relationships
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