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Business Networking Blog

Simple rule of thumb guide to networking
In this blog, >A simple, free way of generating all the referrals you can handle, Nigel Temple took one of my posts and expanded on the subject.

He quoted his golden rule: "Treat others as you would like to be treated." I was reminded of something I posted on Ecademy a couple of years ago as the Simple rule of thumb guide to networking:

"Ask yourself what you would like people in your Network to do for you, then take the initiative and do it for them"

As Nigel says, "If you want people to listen to you, start listening to them" and "if you want referrals, start giving referrals - without asking for commission and without thought of return."

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:21:00, 16 Apr 07
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG
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Other benefits of Networking
Many people see the start of networking as an exchange of business cards at a networking event and the end as a business referral. If you focus on building relationships the benefits are much greater than a series of one off transactions.

One benefit that I often see is increased confidence. I was reminded of this whilst I listened to a 10 minute presentation at a business networking lunch yesterday. The speaker would not have volunteered had she not been amongst friends that she had got to know over the last couple of years.

I saw a great 10 minutes last year from someone who confessed that he found it difficult to engage in a conversation when he first started networking. Seven months later he delivered a presentation that people still talk about.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 22:17:00, 13 Apr 07
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG,Networking Relationships
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How do you create Advocates for your business?
I was talking to two people last week about a seminar I had just given on the 7 secrets of effective business networking.

One of them said "I agree with everything you said about relationships first, but how do you get someone to be an Advocate for you?"

I didn't get chance to reply as the other one said, "Become an advocate for others first. That's what I did and now I don't have to worry about it!"

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 23:17:00, 12 Apr 07
Tags: Networking for Advocates,NRG
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The importance of 121 meetings
I had a 121 today when the subject of 121 meetings came up! I was talking about the importance of 121 meetings in building business networking relationships and the person I met shared some thoughts from his own experience.

He said that he finds the best 121s are when he has met someone a number of times at NRG Networking Events and there is some synergy betwwen them. This highlights the importance of joining and being visible within your chosen networking groups.

He went on to say that he has found that the best approach in 121s is to learn about the other person and how you can help. This gives you the opportunity to refer and introduce the people you are an Advocate for. Since he has adopted this approach he has found other people becoming an Advocate for him without him asking. He's having tremendous fun doing it too!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:38:00, 11 Apr 07
Tags: How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up
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Friendly Persistence
Great post in Robert Middleton's blog here >>>. Robert blogs about the friendly persistence from the point of view of marketing, but they apply equally in a business networking context. Friendly persistence is a great habit to pick up when you follow up your contacts to arrange those all important 121 meetings.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:07:00, 10 Apr 07
Tags: NRG,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up
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When you are wrong admit it quickly
I received a referral last week from a surprising source. A year ago this person sent me an email complaining about something I had said. My recollection was different and I made by point, but I apologised. After all the meaning of our communication is what is received (which can be very different from what we think we say!).

When the opportunity arose I said sorry personally. It turned out that it was a misunderstanding, but we spoke for a while and furthered the relationship. Our respect for each other grew and, crucially, our mutual trust. I've seen many instances where resentments and feuds have built instead because of the absence of real communication.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:26:00, 05 Apr 07
Tags: Networking for Advocates,NRG,Networking Relationships
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Trawler fishing v. fly fishing
I was reading this post from Richard White today, "Know your audience". In it he used an analogy about fishing to illustrate his point that the more you understand your audience the better you are able to attract them. It reminded me of a fishing analogy that I have used when speaking about business networking.

Many people tend to go trawler fishing when they should be fly fishing. In their desire to take every opportunity they widen their net as much as possible saying things like:
"I have no target customer"
"What we do is for everbody"
"We deal with any size of business"
The effect of this is that nobody knows what they are looking for.

Contrast this with the fly fishing approach when the person has honed their offering to a specific problem they solve for their target niche. An example is the person who says "We specialise in helping professional service firms win profitable new business". Immediately they have a point of connection with other people working with professional services firms and a potential new networking relationship.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:36:00, 04 Apr 07
Tags: NRG,Networking Introductions
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Word of Mouth: The real action is offline
With everything written about the Internet you could forget the importance of actually meeting people.

Most of us utilise networking in our marketing because we recognise that personal recommendation is the most effective route to market. The Keller Fay group say that "According to McKinsey, three-quarters of all industries are driven by word of mouth. Bain says there is no better force to drive sales growth than strong customer advocacy".

In this article from the group, Word-of-mouth: The real action is offline, they point out that 72% of all word of mouth interaction takes place face-to-face, with a further 18% by phone.

It's important to have an effective marketing mix and the Internet is clearly important. Do make sure, though, that you invest enough time in meeting people. You can't engage in enough conversations personally so make sure that you are building a trusted network of advocates. Your advocates will be talking positively about you when you are not there.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:29:00, 03 Apr 07
Tags: Networking for Advocates,NRG,Networking Relationships
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Sharing your expertise 2
In a previous blog (here >>>) I wrote about the importance of finding ways of sharing your expertise when networking.

Small business marketing expert, Nigel Temple, has written a quick guide to blogging. If you find the idea of starting your own blog a little daunting it's well worth a read:
"Blogging: is this the next Big Thing?".

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:51:00, 02 Apr 07
Tags: Networking for Advocates,NRG,Networking Relationships
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Networking is not Selling!
I went to a "networking event" last week that was promoted as an opportunity to "meet your best potential client". The expectation this sets is all wrong and leads to inevitable disappointment.

Networking is about building trusted relationships with other business people who introduce you to your "best potential client" time after time.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:38:00, 02 Apr 07
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG
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