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Business Networking Blog

Getting your message across
I was in a networking session last week where we each had some time to resolve an issue rather than have the usual introductions. One of the problems that a number of people raised was the difficulty in getting their message across to potential clients.

One of the others suggested a great question:

"How do your potential clients recognise themselves"

It immediately got people thinking from the perspective of a client and the issues that they faced in the context of a particular service or offering. The message is then focussed in the right place. On the receiver & not the deliverer!

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 13:01:00, 02 Jul 08
Tags: Business Networking,Networking Introductions
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How often do you ask for a referral?
On Wednesday I had to cancel my attendance at an evening event.
Something had come up which meant that I had to be at home.

I spoke to the organiser to apologise. Whilst chatting he asked if I knew someone who may be able to attend instead. He mentioned a couple of names of people going & I immediately thought of someone who would be an excellent fit.

He then spoke about some of the others going & if I might know some good introductions for a couple of specific projects. Again a couple of people came straight to mind.

By the end of the conversation we had generated 6 referrals!

How often do you get the opportunity to discuss referrals with trusted contacts?

More importantly how often do you take that opportunity?

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 17:43:00, 27 Jun 08
Tags: Business Networking,Networking Relationships,Networking Introductions
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Networking is simple but not easy
I spotted that headline in a recent Ecademy Blog by Ivan Misner. It's a great headline and a worthwhile read.

It got me thinking too. Like many things networking is a simple process, but not easy to do. I am reminded of a quote from Bob Burg:

"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 that operate in similar markets to you and building relationships to earn that trust. One thing that makes it easy is finding those networking groups where those people already are.

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 19:42:00, 25 Jun 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Relationships
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Are you prospecting or networking?
At a speednetworking event recently I introduced myself to one of the other attendees. He had three different business cards for himself and gave one of those to me. I asked why that particular one & he said "That's the service most relevant for you to buy"

I asked about one of the other cards & he said "That's a service for Corporates so not for you"

Nothing wrong with representing different businesses in different networks. It may, however, be more effective in the long run to look for others with clients & contacts in similar markets to you. Then build relationships with them as an ongoing route to market rather than look for one off prospects.

At Networking Events are you looking for opportunities to build your network or for prospects?

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 6:56:00, 24 Jun 08
Tags: Business Networking,Networking for Advocates,Networking Relationships
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The power of unsolicited endorsements
I attended another organisation's networking lunch in London earlier this week. I had been invited by another NRG member & there were 2 NRG members on the round table. At the start of the lunch we took it in turns to introduce ourselves.

As I began one of the NRG members, the owner of an IT support business, interrupted me. He said, "Do you mind if I share something? We have just completed an analysis of our new business pipeline and over 80% is due to introductions and referrals through the NRG network"

The other member, a partner in a professional firm, added "We have just signed a new client as a result of the recommendation of another NRG member"

I had nothing to add to this great demonstration of the power of advocacy. My message had been shared much more powerfully than anything I could have said.

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 8:00:00, 20 Jun 08
Tags: Business Networking,Networking for Advocates,NRG
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Does it help to think of your inner network as a channel?
In a recent 121 meeting with a member of NRG-networks in London I was explaining the idea of a networking inner circle. Probably about 6 or 7 close relationships with business people who provide complementary services to yours in similar markets. By meeting regularly to share experiences, support and contacts you can quickly build a very powerful and regular source of well qualified referrals.

We discussed how to formulate a networking strategy to build this close network. It involved much more clarity around networking objectives and key messages.

Towards the end she said "That's just like channel marketing. I understand that completely!"

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 6:56:00, 19 Jun 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG
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If 80% of success is showing up what about the rest?
Woody Allen famously said "80% of success is showing up".

So how do you ensure 100% success from your networking?

Assuming that you know what it is that you want and have found the right group here are a few suggestions.

* Show up consistently
* Explain simply what you do & who for
* Connect with others operating in similar markets to you
* Connect with others providing services that complement yours
* Follow up with them
* Build relationships with them
* Become an advocate for them
* Look out for ways that you can connect, help & support them

Some of the ways to complete that vital other 20% & ensure success.

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 6:55:00, 13 Jun 08
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up,Networking Objectives
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Reputation, Friends and Generosity
Nancy Williams of Tiger Two presented a seminar on 'Online Reputation Management' before the NRG business networking lunch in London Charing Cross last week. She presented 13 top tips and I picked out 3 as being equally applicable to networking 'offline'.

1. Check out your reputation - Nancy shared how you can easily check your online reputation. In fact her blog has detailed instructions on creating an online reputation management dashboard.

Why not ask some of your customers and networking contacts for their thoughts on your reputation? Ask them particularly to focus on what it is they think you do and who for. That way you know where you need to concentrate your message.

2. Make friends - Nancy spoke about being strategic about social networking sites and choosing your friends carefully. Those with similar interests in the same field as you.

It is the same in networking. Are you networking in those groups and places where you can build business relationships with other professionals operating in similar markets and fields to you?

3. Be generous - Nancy suggested that you give before you receive.

Exactly the mindset for successful networking. Are you connecting others, providing useful information and giving referrals first?

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 11:15:00, 05 Jun 08
Tags: Social Networking,Business Networking,NRG,Managing reputation
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10 top tips to get sustainable business through networking
The latest Synergy Business Networking Newsletter from NRG-networks includes 10 top business networking tips from my colleague, Martin Davies.

1. Develop a plan
2. Don’t expect early results
3. Build relationships first
4. Show a genuine interest in other people
5. Know your target market
6. Prepare your proposition
7. Listen more than talk - and ask open questions
8. Always follow up contacts
9. Arrange contact meetings
10. Develop Networking Advocates

Read the full article at this link,
10 top tips to get sustainable business through networking

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 8:55:00, 02 Jun 08
Tags: Business Networking,NRG
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Are you always ready to speak?
I learned yesterday that I was speaking at a breakfast meeting this morning in the 'education' slot. I asked a few questions before deciding which aspects of business networking to concentrate on.

There are a lot of opportunities for you to share your expertise and raise your profile at events. There are many more if you are prepared to speak at short or no notice! I have stepped in at the last minute on a number of occasions including some paid ones.

I don't prepare exactly what to say, but I have identified certain key messages and outlines for;
30 seconds
1 minute
2 minutes
5 minutes
10 minutes
40 minutes
1 hour 2 hours
Half Day
Full Day

I have, however, seen people refuse opportunities to speak because thay are not ready. If you don't feel ready then prepare a few options and the next time you get the opportunity take the plunge and volunteer to speak. Your audience will be on your side and it's a great way of helping people understand when and how to advocate you!

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 10:28:00, 30 May 08
Tags: Business Networking,Networking for Advocates,NRG
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