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Business Networking Blog

When the going gets tough
There is an old saying "When the going gets tough the tough get going". I think it would probably be more accurate to say "When the going gets tough the tough keep going". If you are already proactive then you will be ready.

I was talking with a couple of NRG-networks members after a networking lunch earlier this week. You will no doubt have heard the words 'credit crunch' bandied around and we were talking about the domestic property market. This week the UK Government scrapped Stamp Duty on some properties to try and stimulate movement amongst first time buyers in particular. One of the members mentioned two similar sized and neighbouring estate agency firms. In the previous month one had sold four properties and the other over 30! Both operate from similar High Street properties. Both have a similar web presence. Both have similar local advertising. What are they doing differently? He had seen activity reports from both.

The one who sold four was pretty much waiting for business to walk in as it obviously did during the boom years. They are sending out property details, but they are not following up. They are busy filing, keeping the desks tidy, having another coffee, making sure the computers and phones are clean. All important, but not likely to produce business without other productive activity.

The other is doing all these and also proactively building relationships with more potential buyers. They are actively networking in local groups. They are keeping in regular contact with their existing network, people on their database, old clients etc. As they receive new instructions they are also sending out details. They are also contacting prospective buyers by phone, email, letter, newsletters, etc. They are actively arranging meetings and trying new activities. They are keeping up and even increasing their productive activity. They have captured nearly all of the local market.

Are you concentrating on keeping busy or on your productive activity especially the following up?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 7:18:00, 04 Sep 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Other,NRG,Networking Follow Up
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Do you have any good stories?
My previous 2 posts shared some experiences during a recent seminar I gave on "How to avoid the 3 common mistakes in Getting your Message Across". During the seminar we helped 3 volunteers work on these things.

The 3rd mistake often made is not using examples. Using stories to illustrate what you do.

One of our volunteers had to think a bit & then had a really great story.
With some real time feedback we were able to turn it into something that highlighted real business benefit together with something to differentiate them. There was also a really topical feel to it in the present economic climate.

His company develops software systems for companies that have reached the stage where they need bespoke development, but cannot really afford an in house team. A recent client is an Estate Agency firm where they have helped reduce operating costs to a fifth of what they were. They have testimonials that the client really thinks of them as their in house team such is their understanding of his business. This means their client is not only surviving the current property downturn, but taking advantage of new opportunities & increasing market share.

What stories do you have where you can quickly illustrate the problems you fix?

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

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 2:00:00, 28 Aug 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG
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Does your network understand what you do?
In my previous post I mentioned the NRG seminar I presented on "How to avoid the 3 common mistakes in Getting your Message Across" before. During the seminar we helped 3 volunteers work on these 3 things.

The 2nd mistake often made is not expressing your proposition in a way that is readily understood. What you really do for your customers.

Our 3 volunteers received a lot of hard questioning on this one. One of them was having a hard job explaining how he helped companies make more money from their existing customers with better use of their data.

Someone said "Do you mean so they can use it like Amazon or Tesco?"

Our volunteer said "Yes, exactly!"

The feedback was unanimous. Use that to illustrate your message.

Is there anything you could use that would be more meaningful to your audience?

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

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 2:00:00, 25 Aug 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG
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Does your network know who to refer you to?
I presented a seminar on "How to avoid the 3 common mistakes in Getting your Message Across" before an NRG lunch last week. During the seminar we helped 3 volunteers work on these 3 things.

The 1st mistake often made is not being clear about your target market. Who do you want as customers?

In a couple of cases our "guinea pigs" had data on exactly the customers they wanted. However, they were not sharing this & were talking in very general terms.
If you know who you want to talk to then share this information. Real company names mean much more then talking about types & sizes of business. Much more powerful then talking about types & sizes of business which can often mean very different things to different people.

Is there any work you could do on naming the organisations that you would like to do business with?

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

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 2:00:00, 21 Aug 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG
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How to get more referrals
I was speaking with a member of NRG in a 121 meeting last week.
He asked how he could get more referrals.
I shared a story about someone else in my network.

This person had spent a lot of time networking and in follow up meetings.
The results were disappointing from the time invested.
He had set himself a target for getting referrals and was not achieving this.
Then he changed his focus and set himself a target for giving referrals.
As he stretched himself & exceeded this target he began to receive many more.

So the the answer to getting more referrals - give more!

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

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 2:00:00, 18 Aug 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG
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Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!
A few days ago I mentioned a Radio Interview about what happens after the networking meeting, the follow up. Following up is the way to build those business relationships that networking is all about.

I found a great quote from Joy Weaver that sums it up perfectly:

"Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!
This is the key to building relationships with others"


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

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:51:00, 06 Aug 08
Tags: Business Networking,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up
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Audio Clip - What happens after the networking meeting?
I was interviewed on the radio recently by Chantal Cooke of Passion for the Planet.
The main topic was what happens after you meet someone at an event.
The follow up!

You can listen at the following link:

Dave Clarke interviewed by Chantal Cooke of Passion for the Planet

To hear more Inspiring Good Business interviews from Chantal go to PassionforthePlanet.com & look for Passion Select.

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

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:16:00, 01 Aug 08
Tags: Business Networking,NRG,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up
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Quality or Quantity?
Last week I was interviewed for a research project on Networking.
One of the questions asked was whether I favoured a quantity or quality approach. My view is that the 2 are not incompatible although there is confusion.

If you start from the premise that networking is about building relationships then over time you will develop a number of quality relationships. You have a finite resource of time and so your capacity for these relationships is a limited number. As you build trust these 'advocates' will help spread your reputation far and wide. You will not get to like or trust everyone you meet so you need to meet a larger number of people in order to develop these 'quality' relationships. The quality is therefore an outcome of quantity. The right networking groups are an efficient way of filtering & building these 'quality' relationships.

Where I see confusion is amongst those people who seem to think that networking is about meeting lots of people once. People who attend different events with different people all of the time. That type of activity does not build relationships & misses the point of networking entirely.

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

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:23:00, 31 Jul 08
Tags: Business Networking,Networking for Advocates,Trust,Networking Relationships
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Why join a networking group?
Successful Networking depends on developing business relationships with others who place a similar importance on this approach. You probably have a number of these relationships in place, but it can be difficult to generate enough in a small business where you work with a limited number of clients & suppliers.

When you find a group that you feel may be right for you there is one huge benefit. The shared commitment to building those business relationships. If you are wondering about joining a group just ask yourself how long it would take to build that number of positive relationships outside one at a time.

As you develop a high level of trust with others in the group you are able to:

• Specialise in what you are really good at
• Reduce your costs of selling
• Reduce risks
• Work with other companies on larger projects
• Improve credibility
• Give & gain specialist information
• Give & gain hard to get business intelligence
• Give & gain referrals

The Networking groups that work well do so because of the high level of trust in the relationships.

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

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:24:00, 30 Jul 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Relationships
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Trusted referrals
Charlie Collins posted a great quote from Mark Zuckerberg on my facebook profile over the weekend:

"Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising"

Although the quote is about advertising it goes right to the heart of business networking - building relationships to regularly generate those trusted referrals.

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

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:32:00, 28 Jul 08
Tags: Business Networking,Trust
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