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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

Can you do all your networking online?
With the explosion of Social Networking Websites you could be forgiven for thinking that you didn't need to go out any more.

The truth is that whilst these sites are essential parts of the overall mix they are no substitute for actually meeting people and building solid business relationships based on trust.

In a previous entry I mentioned Keller Fay research concluding that 72% of all Word of Mouth interaction takes place face to face. The report includes "... in their rush to jump on the online bandwagon, marketers have ignored one crucial fact: The real power of Word Of Mouth is offline, where most conversations still occur."

This mirrored our own findings into how networking works. Networking results follow from building trusted relationships first. Most of this trust building takes place to start with in regular attendance at face to face Group meetings and subsequently in follow up and 121 meetings.

Once you meet 121 there will, very likely, be a number of steps to take before you can advocate each other, but put the effort in and the rewards are there.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:22:00, 26 Sep 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up
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Waterproofs for the Economic Storm
We had a great seminar last week with this title from 2 NRG members, Sally Rainbow-Ockwell of Action Coach and Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR.

They spoke about the importance of existing clients and demonstrated some really practical steps that you can take to convert them into Raving Fans. In fact how you could halve your marketing spend and double your turnover!

Your Network is also something that can help shelter you from the downturn. Many people do not make the most of the people they already know or have met. At this time you may want to consolidate and spend less time looking for new connections. Do you really know all the people in your existing Groups and network in general?

Now is the time to make sure you really, really get to know those other members. Do the follow up with those people you have been meaning to. Arrange those 121s that are vital in building your business relationships.

Be more proactive as the storm clouds gather.

The amount of overall business is still growing!

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

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:07:00, 25 Sep 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up
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Getting in front of the right person
Most owners of small businesses will tell you they don't have a problem with selling once they get in front of the right person, but they hate cold calling.

They will also tell you that most of their business comes via Word of Mouth.

So why not just wait for referrals from satisfied existing clients?

The problem is that they don't have a big enough client base to survive on this alone. So they need to generate this Word of Mouth from other sources. That's where Business Networking comes in. By creating strong business relationships with other Business Owners you can generate that vital Word of Mouth to get in front of more of the right people.

The more help you can provide to your network in defining the right people the better. Defining your right people will also help you find the right Networking Groups for you. Those where at least some of the members are connected to them!

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

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:49:00, 24 Sep 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Word of Mouth
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A mixture of Networking and Pro Bono
I was talking with a lawyer friend in London last week from a small firm with 2 partners. Although small their client list is very impressive. People with the money to pay well when faced with the type of legal problem my friend is a specialist in. I asked how he had built his practice and he said "a mixture of Networking and Pro Bono work".

He went on to say that he does a lot of networking with other trusted advisers to his potential and existing clients. He also said there are other people very well connected with his clients that do a lot of unpaid voluntary and charitable work. He does as much Pro Bono work as he can for these people and their organisations. His clients, their advisers and these 'volunteers' keep him very busy in well paying, profitable work for others they recommend him to.

Do your potential clients have advisers and other contacts that you should be networking and sharing your expertise 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 8:08:00, 23 Sep 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Connections,Trust
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How do you get business when nobody is buying?
I met someone recently who said "The trouble with networking groups is everyone is selling, but nobody is buying". We discussed this a little further and he had been attending 'networking' meetings that were billed as 'the opportunity to find your next client'. Promotion for the meetings described typical attendees as 'decision makers'. In that context he was right as the wrong expectation had been set for people like him. Everyone was trying to sell to each other!

A couple of other people had joined the conversation by this stage. One said "I get all of my business from networking, but I don't sell. Nobody likes being sold to so I build trusted relationships with people that can refer me to their contacts".

She was right and had highlighted the big difference between selling and networking.

Selling is when you are engaged in direct activity with your target market.

Networking is when you are building relationships with others who can introduce & refer you into your target market.

So if you are looking for business directly from the people you meet that is selling. Successful networking builds regular business for the future.

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 12:46:00, 16 Sep 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Trust,Networking Relationships
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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
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

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

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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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