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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

How to Grow a Simple Effective Networking Strategy

ABC123Many business people and professionals share with me that networking and word of mouth is their most important source of business. They get most, if not all, of their business through recommendation and referal.

 

The ironic thing is that most of them will have strategies for other parts of their marketing, but not for the most important bit!

 

In this podcast I talk about the three questions to ask yourself to help you build a simple yet effective networking strategy.

 

Invest 3 minutes in listening here:

 

Download the NRG Networking System mentioned in this podcast here;

NRG Networking System

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

     

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:43:01, 23 Aug 11
Tags: business networking tips,Podcast,networking strategy
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Business Networking is Social Too

WOMAD logo

I have just returned from a weekend at WOMAD, the 'World of Music Arts and Dance' Festival. We would have enjoyed the experience as a family on our own, but it was much better as part of a group. In the family area of the camp site our group of about 30 people had its own communal area. We had our own space with 12 tents pitched around 2 gazebos. The social interactions were an integral part of the enjoyment, but it went much further than that. There was always someone to help with a problem or share some news. We were able to learn about the best places for food, drink, music and all the other facilities from each other.

 

Our little WOMAD social network is representative of the networks we are typically involved in. It is organised around a shared interest. In this case the type of music and arts at WOMAD. Our other networks are usually formed around similar shared interests and this includes our business network.

 

The activity of business networking as about building a network around your business activities. It is about having a community of friends and acquaintances where the success of each other in business is the shared interest.

 

Your business will be part of a much wider community, but as with our little WOMAD one your own network needs to be made up of a manageable number of people. It is also social and about sharing support and knowledge as much as it is about business.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

    

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:39:19, 02 Aug 11
Tags: Social Networking,Business Networking
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Twitter lessons from Train delays

Twitter logo

Yesterday I was delayed for a couple of hours on a train on the outskirts of London. The delay was due to a fatality involving one of the trains ahead of us. As our train came to a standstill the train manager announced that we would be subject to severe delays. He did his best to answer questions, but it was clear that he was not being kept fully up to date.

 

One of the most frustrating thing asbout incidents like travel delays is the lack of any meaningful communication. I tweeted about what was happening and was delighted to get quick responses via Twitter from National Rail, First Great Western and others. You can see some of the conversation in these screenshots.

Twitter Stream Train Delay

Some lessons come out of this apart from the fact that Train Managers should be given access to Twitter!

 

1. Use Twitter to listen for things being said about you or your business so that you can engage in conversation.

2. Also listen for people writing about problems that you can offer some advice to.

3. Give people as many ways to get in touch with you as possible.

 

Do, however, remember to keep things in perspective:

 

Twitter Train Delay Perspective

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

     

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 20:37:31, 20 Jul 11
Tags: customer service,Social Networking,Social Media,Twitter,business networking tips
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The Networking Numbers Myth

speed networkingI attended an event last week which had some 'speed' networking during the day. The host introduced this 'networking' by saying each of us present knew a few hundred people. He went on to say that this amounted to thousands of possible new opportunites by meeting six people for a couple of minutes.

 

This is wrong on a number of levels. It takes no account of how business networking really works and it exaggerates the number of people we actually know.

 

You need to know, like, rate and trust someone before you recommend them to someone else. The same is true before someone will go out of their way to recommend you. It happens after you have put real effort into building a relationship first. It is very unlikely that you will find enough in common with more than one out of the five mentioned above to be even interested in finding out more. Finding that one person is valuable, but highly unlikely to generate a quick return and certainly not the thousands of opportunities promised.

 

I wrote about the number of people we actually know in a recent post on the 'Real Value of Online Networks'. The Social Scientist, Robin Dunbar, has demonstrated that human beings can only maintain stable social relationships with about 150 people. These relationships will be spread over a number of different real life social networks so that your close business network for recommending people from will be much smaller than 150.

 

You can be known to more people and be acquainted with more, but for someone to know you well enough to recommend you then you need to be in that 150.

 

The real value of the speed networking was for finding opportunities with them for introducing my existing network!

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

      

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:38:38, 13 Jul 11
Tags: Word of Mouth,Dunbar Number,Social Networking,business networking tips
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Getting quick results from business networking

Quick WinIn a recent discussion at one of my regular business networking groups someone raised the issue of getting some business quickly for a new service. The first question asked of them by the group was 'what have you tried already?' It quickly became apparent that the person was treating the new service as a separate entity and ignoring her existing routes to market and network.

 

When it came to suggesting solutions the two most popular were;

1. Communicate the new service to your existing network, and

2. Build closer relationships with the competition.

 

Very sensible advice, but often missed by people. The people in your existing network will often be able to put you in touch with the new people you think you need to find yourself. Your competitors are speaking with people regularly that need your service and you are doing the same with people that need theirs. Not every prospect will be a good fit for you so having someone else to refer makes you a valuable resource. You are also a valuble resource for that competitor on those occasions when similar circumstances arise for them.

 

Quick wins all round!

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:22:42, 05 Jul 11
Tags: business networking tips
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Are you enjoying the fruits of your networking?

Business Networking FruitOver the last couple of weeks we have been enjoying the cherries from one of our fruit trees. I picked these a couple of weeks ago and it struck me when I did that where the best fruit was. As you would expect there was none on the tree trunk and the best fruit was not that growing on or nearest to the boughs (main branches) either.

 

The best fruit was that growing on branches growing off the boughs or one more branch removed. This is a good metaphor for showing where the real results are won in business networking. The boughs represent the direct relationships you build with people in your network, but that is not where you get the rewards. It is your investment in growing these relationships (your advocates) that lead to results from their first and second level connections.

 

It can be easy to forget that although the best fruit comes from the smaller branchlets they are nourished through the main branches. So make sure you are doing the right things with your close network in order to receive the benefits of their advocacy.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:12:36, 28 Jun 11
Tags: business networking tips,Networking for Advocates
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The real value of online networks

Online Value

I watched a fascinating interview with the anthropologist Robin Dunbar on Youtube recently (link here). He conducted the research which concluded that human beings can only maintain stable social relationships with about 150 people. This is often referred to as the Dunbar Number. The ability to maintain these relationships is getting harder as our network becomes spread over much greater distances than a few decades ago. 

 

With the digital revolution more and more people are running businesses with a larger geographical coverage than would have even been possible just 15 years ago. With the changing nature of employment and business structure this often means collaborating with others to provide their business services.

 

Business networking is a communal solution to the challenges of starting, running and growing a successful business. As such it relies on maintaining a number of social relationships. These social relationships in business are based heavily on trust and require a lot of face to face nurturing. Online Social Networks do not give us the ability to maintain a much larger number of these relationships. Dunbar's research shows us we would need thousands more years evolution to do that. The real benefit that networks and platforms like Linkedin and Twitter give us in business is the ability to stay interconnected in between the face to face time.

 

I have been experimenting on Twitter with a Twitter List of the 150 people I know best there. I can still view everyone else, but it ensures I get regular updates from the people I know best. That is the important bit in maintaining those relationships.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:54:55, 22 Jun 11
Tags: business networking tips,Social Networking
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How to explain Networking to the Finance Director

Return on InvestmentA Director in a Mid Sized Service Business asked me recently how they could justify the expense of networking to the Finance Director. He explained that they get their best business via word of mouth and recommendation. The problem they have is that their existing client base is not large enough to generate enough of it so they need to do something more. He believed that networking would prove the most cost effective way of building a route to market.

 

I suggested that the Finance Director may be interested in the return on investment and shared some figures. The other thing that may interest her is that over time your costs actually decrease! Once you find the right networking groups and have built your inner network you spend more time with fewer people. Compare that to the costs involved in other marketing where you only continue to get results by continuing to spend more.

 

Once trusted relationships are in place your return on investment keeps multiplying as you maintain those relationships. Opportunities are consistently uncovered and shared. You do not have to keep hunting for that one off elusive piece of business.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:59:20, 13 Jun 11
Tags: business networking tips
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How to succeed in a business networking group

Business networking GroupExpecting results from joining a networking group is like expecting to get fit by joining a gym. The act of joining is not enough in its own right, but it is a start. To make sure you get results you have to do some stuff.

 

I re-joined a gym earlier this year and the very first thing I did was get a programme of exercises to work through. I then committed to attending on a regular basis by getting dates in my diary. I adjusted some of my other activities to ensure I would keep to this programme. I have reviewed and built on this programme a couple of times since and I am getting fitter.

 

You need the same sort of approach to make a success of your membership of a business networking group. To help you get results more quickly I have identified eight things that successful networkers do. If you put these things into practice you too can begin to get better results. I share these in this short podcast.

 

Invest 3 minutes in listening here:

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:00:44, 09 Jun 11
Tags: business networking tips
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Why you should join a networking group

Common Purpose

Do you get your best business via word of mouth or recommendation?

If your answer is yes then read on.

 

Are you doing enough to generate more business by this route?

If not then you should consider joining a networking group. One where the main focus is to help you grow your business by building relationships with other relevant businesses. A group where the common purpose is in building relationships to help each other in growing your respective businesses.

 

A good networking group is also a really efficient way of keeping in touch with your network and making new contacts. Time is a really precious resource so you want to make sure you invest your business networking time wisely. In this short podcast I give an example of how this worked for me.

 

Invest 3 minutes in listening here:

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:13:04, 08 Jun 11
Tags: business networking tips
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