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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

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What happens next?
At an event last week someone asked if he could have a private mentoring session. He said he was making good connections at networking events and was having a number of One2One meetings, but that was usually as far as it went. He said "I think my One2Ones are a bit woolly".

Meetings with no agenda or agreed outcome can often be woolly! That does not mean you have to always work to a rigid agenda or be too attached to a specific outcome. It is, however, worth taking a minute or so to agree some ground rules and set the right expectations for both parties.

The purpose of a first One2One in a networking context is often to decide whether you will both invest some time in building a relationship. If that is the case then share that with the other person. If you are taking the lead in the meeting you could open with a reminder of how you connected originally and why you thought there may be synergy between you. Then add the time the meeting will take together with what you would like to cover:
* What you would like to find out about the other person and their business.
* What they would like to find out about you and your business.
* Agreement of any continuing fit between your respective businesses.
* The next steps (typically connections to people & information) that you will undertake before meeting again.
* The date of the next meeting or catch up.



As I develop networking advocates with further interactions I always keep this loose agenda structure in mind.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 21 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,One2One,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Networking Follow Up
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Are you an expert?
At a seminar this week before the NRG-networks Lunch in the City of London the speaker, Sue Richardson, was presenting 'Be seen as the expert, publish a book'.

She opened by asking if everyone considered themselves to be an expert. The dictionary definition of an expert is 'a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field'.

The learning that came out of the session for many people was that we actually know far more than we think we do. We have a tendency to assume that everyone else knows what we do. This can mean that we undervalue our knowledge and insights. These have great value to our respective networks. As we share them in conversations and by presenting we build our reputation as experts.

The help we give to those others motivates them to help and advocate us. So it is vital to communicate how they can do that whilst continuing to give generously.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 17 Apr 09
Tags: How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Reputation
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Are you prepared to go out of your way for others?
At an NRG-networks lunch meeting yesterday someone asked me how you get others to advocate you.

Someone else shared his view and said "When I meet someone I try and find out as much as I can about them and their business. That allows me to connect them to the contacts and information they need. Recently I met someone from a fantastic conference venue. They were already doing some business with a top four accounting firm and I was able to put her in touch with someone very senior in the organisation to help cement the relationship and gain further opportunities. She subsequently gave me a great referral to a partner in another accountancy firm."

A great example of how you develop networking advocates. A networking advocate goes out of their way to recommend your goods and services without being asked or expecting anything in return. Take time to develop the relationships with key members of your network. Go out of your way to connect them to key members of your network and introduce them to people who might benefit from their services. Become an advocate for them. And, guess what? What goes round comes round. People will eventually become advocates for you – and this is where the networking dividend really pays out!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 15 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG,Referrals
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What does a company like that look like?
I received a message from a business contact last week advocating the services of one of her contacts. At the end she said would you be prepared to introduce him to any of your contacts that spend more than £20,000 per year on utilities?

Based on our relationship I said "Of course. If you are advocating him he must be good, but how would I know if a business was likely to be spending that amount?" Good question she said and put me in touch so that I could ask directly.

The person was able, very quickly, to paint a picture I could understand by describing how big the premises would be or how many offices they may have. Also how many people would be working in the organisation.

How good are the pictures you are giving to your advocates to promote you?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast


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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 09 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Networking Relationships,Networking Introductions
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Nothing compares to the power of trust
In 'Building trust with a new contact' I wrote about the first two steps in building a trusted business relationship in a networking context - make contact and follow up.

The four steps are:
1. Make contact
2. Follow up
3. Form relationships
4. Develop Advocates

Following on from that post my friend Frank Kanu emailed me to offer his article, 'Nothing compares to the power of trust'.

As Frank states in the article,

"There is nothing magical about trust and relationships—as long as one follows some simple rules".

The rules that Frank outlines in the article (available at this link) support the findings of our own research into the importance of developing trust in business relationships as part of networking.

Assuming you are still positive after the follow up stage you are ready for the 'Form Relationship' stage. By now you would probably be prepared to make a ‘qualified referral’ where you connect the person to another with the proviso that you have limited experience of their capability. As you get feedback you build further trust in them & their capability. The tactics you need to employ to form relationships as highlighted by our research into this stage include:

1. Making qualified referrals
1. Introducing to high value suppliers
2. Actively looking for potential clients/customers for them
3. Providing a testimonial
4. Arranging a business meeting to introduce 2 of your contacts to each other
5. Introducing them to a trusted contact at a networking event

As before you are being proactive and giving more trust as the the relationship develops.

If things progress well during this stage you are well on the way to the final stage, 'Develop Advocates'.

Good Networking
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 07 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,Networking Transactions,Networking for Advocates,Trust,Networking Relationships
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10 tips for building business with the effective use of offline & online networks
You could be forgiven for thinking there was a battle being fought between offline & online networks with some of the messages from organisations in both camps. The reality is that the online networks give us a really effective tool for supporting our offline business networking activities. They only do that, however, if we go about both activities strategically.

I have been an active member of online networks since I discovered them in 2003. In an article on the NRG-networks website I share my top 10 tips for building business with the effective use of offline & online networks:

1. Get comfortable with how networking works
2. Develop a plan
3. Identify the people you already know, like & trust
4. Identify the offline networks to join
5. Show a genuine interest in other people
6. Always follow up contacts
7. Identify the online networks to join and start a blog
8. Make online contacts and build relationships first
9. Arrange contact meetings
10. Develop Networking Advocates

More on each point in the article, top 10 tips for building business with the effective use of offline & online networks

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast


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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:10:00, 04 Mar 09
Tags: Social Networking,Business Networking,Networking Connections,Networking for Advocates,Networking Follow Up
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The power of leverage in business networking
One dictionary definition of leverage is "the mechanical advantage or power gained by using a lever". To illustrate the idea I remember using a small lever in a school physics lesson to easily move a large rock.

In business networking you can use the equivalent when a trusted contact of yours has influence with someone in your target market with a problem that you can solve. This can be a great way to get in front of much larger organisation than yours. If you build a relationship with someone that regularly deals with these larger businesses then you can use your relationship as the lever for the introduction.

Let me share a story. A few years ago I was running a business where one of our largest suppliers was one of the big mobile phone operators. We got to know some people there and found that we could help with a problem they had. They had insufficient resources to deal with many of the requests they got regarding potential new applications. We offered to help with some of these. Later on they advocated our services as a 'must have' to a couple of large media companies which led to some very lucrative contracts.

We would never have been able to even speak to these media companies without the leverage that was created by someone within another large business introducing us. That leverage was possible as a result of the help we first provided in building the relationship first.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast


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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:50:00, 03 Mar 09
Tags: Business Networking,Networking for Advocates,Trust,Networking Relationships
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Do I know you?
These words appeared alongside a stern looking man in an advertisement in a 1950s business publication:

I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s product.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now — what was it you wanted to sell me?


The moral of the ad was that sales starts before your salesman calls and was promoting advertising in McGraw Hill Magazines. The original can still be seen on their website (http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/aboutus/images/ad_maninchair_lg.jpg).

Most business owners and partners in professional firms I meet say they have no problem selling. Their main problem is getting in front of the right person. Building trusted relationships through networking means you can refer your network to their right people and, in turn, be referred to yours.

Becoming an advocate for someone means unreservedly recommending them when you see the right circumstances. When someone is given that sort of word of mouth referral the recipient knows all about their reputation, what they do and why they are there.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast


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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 25 Feb 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Word of Mouth,Networking for Advocates,Trust,Networking Relationships,Networking Introductions
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A networking system gives predictable results
If you have set objectives for your networking then you can quantify the actions you need to undertake to achieve your results. This simple mindmap shows a four step networking system. The ultimate goal of this is getting other business people to recommend and advocate you. After all that is what networking is all about for many people.



1. Target Market
Identify the people you are trying to reach with your products or services. More in a previous entry, 'How to identify your typical customer' and this podcast, 'Your target market – Who is your right person?'

2. Proposition
This podcast, 'How to explain what you do', gives you some advice on how you can always answer quickly, confidently and effectively when someone asks, “What do you do?“.

3. Inner Network

This podcast, 'How to focus on the right people when networking', explains how to concentrate on building your Inner Network. Build close relationships with others who provide a complementary service to the same target market as you. This will help your networking to become a regular and reliable source of new business.

4. Advocates
This podcast, 'How to motivate your network to advocate you', explains how to set about motivating others in your Inner Network to advocate you.

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, 08 Jan 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG
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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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