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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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Using the Internet to get off the Internet
In 'Using online to get offline' I briefly mentioned Meetup.com Founder, Scott Heiferman, and his talk in London about the importance of meeting offline.

Scott shared that he really began to experience the power of community in post 9/11 New York when people began again to rediscover the importance of looking out for each other. I was in London during the bombs on the underground and on a bus on 7 July 2005 and saw many people going out of their way for others in a similar way.

Scott shared that the idea for Meetup came from that time and he wanted to create a site to help strengthen community. To give people the opportunity to use the Internet to get together in local communities each day with the goal of improving themselves or their communities. Their mission today is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.

As Scott said it's about "Using the Internet to get off the Internet!"

A great insight into how to use Online Social Media and Networks in your Business Networking, a subject I addressed more fully in this article:

'10 top networking tips to increase business with the effective use of offline & online networks'

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:49:00, 16 Apr 10
Tags: Business Networking,One2One,How Networking Works,Online,Offline Networking,Business Networking Groups,Trust,Online Networking,Networking Relationships,Networking Tips,Conversations
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Should you lead your networking group?
In the NRG Linkedin Group last week there was a discussion about 'Making a Business out of Networking'. Some of the discussion was about leading a networking group as a way of growing your existing business.

Last month Sarah Owen of the Referral Institute presented a Networking Masterclass before the NRG Charing Cross lunch in London. One of the things she want through was their VCP Process™. This stands for Visibility, Credibility and Profitability*. A good networking group provides the platform for people to go through this relationship building process.

Leading a group can move your relationships through to Profitability when done in the right way with the right people. Sarah shared with us the experience of her and her clients who see a seven fold increase in the profitability of their networking for their existing business when they lead groups. Too often, however, people think about running a group in the wrong context. Some think it is about a new revenue stream. Others that it is just about lead generation and concentrate exclusively on the Visibility bit.

Many networking organisations have positions for people to lead groups (including ours). These positions are not usually about creating an additional revenue stream. I would treat anyone that claims that for leading a group with suspicion. Leading a group is really about increasing the overall return on investment in your networking for your main business. As Sarah said "it is about increasing the profitability of the business relationships you build through networking". A good rule of thumb is that any income generated just for running a group should pay for your networking activity.

There are some business opportunities with networking organisations that are genuinely about creating a revenue stream. These are usually a networking franchise of some description where you are investing equity to build a business. In this scenario you will building a business with the primary revenue being from the activity of networking itself.

Leading a group could be right for you if it makes sense for your business to be at the hub of the business community in that group. That could be an existing group or using a networking organisation's existing infrastructure to get a group together of the people you want to have around you in the group.

*VCP Process™ copyright Referral Institute 2010, all rights reserved.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:10:00, 08 Apr 10
Tags: Business Networking,Networking Franchise,VCP,Leadership,Business Networking Groups,Visibility,Credibility,Profitability
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A simple equation for networking successfully
'Can you make networking really simple?' was the headline last week when I wrote about making networking simple. Someone asked me if I could give them a simple equation for successful networkng. Here is what I gave them:
plan + structured approach = successful networking

First of all you need to know what you actually want from your networking. Then you can do the things that will ensure you achieve your goals.

At NRG-networks we encourage people to use the NRG Advocate Marketing System. The 5 simple steps include the essential components in this equation - your plan and a structured approach;

1. Set your networking objectives
2. Identify your target market
3. Develop your proposition
4. Define your inner network
5. Build your advocates

Read more about this business networking system here.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:30:00, 06 Apr 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Advocate Marketing,NRG,Networking System,Advocacy
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Can you make networking really simple?
'Networking made Simple' is the title of a blog posted yesterday by Andy Lopata. In it Andy wrote;

"Think of networking groups as a way of meeting people who can help you achieve your goals. Now you should ask yourself:

- What am I trying to achieve?
- How can other people help me?
- Who is best placed to help me?
- What do they need to know and do?
"

This is good advice and they are indeed great questions to help you clarify whether a networking group could be right for you and your business. I would add one more question:

- Who do they need to know?

Just joining the group, though, will not be enough. You have to be proactive!

The way that networking in such a group will work for you is by helping those people achieve their goals. To make sure it will work for you there are a few more questions you should ask yourself:

- Do I like the people in the group?
- Are they people that could add value to my existing client & trusted relationships?
- Am I able to give the group meetings priority over other things in my schedule?
- Am I willing to invest time outside the group meetings to really get to know them and build profitable relationships?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:48:00, 31 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Business Networking Groups,Questions
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Is networking a bit woolly?
In a workshop before a recent Networking Lunch a conversation took place between a couple of the attendees. Let's call them A and B.

A said "I am not really sure about this networking stuff".

B replied "It's about getting to know, like and trust people. You build relationships and as you help and refer others then others do the same for you".

A then said "That all sounds a bit woolly to me. I prefer things I can predict my cash flow with".

I described how I have a number of regular meetings with people in my network where we share an agreed number of referrals so we can predict cash flow. These are people for whom networking is not woolly, but a proven and reliable method of business development. We have invested time in building relationships and are happy to share our contacts with each other openly so as to maximise our referral opportunities.

Last week Sarah Owen of the Referral Institute presented a Networking Masterclass before the NRG Charing Cross networking lunch in London. One of the things she want through was their VCP Process™. This stands for Visibility, Credibility and Profitability*. People can believe the activity of attending networking events is enough. It is not as that can only really build your Visibility. Good networking groups provide the environment for you to build on this and create profitable relationships with people you know and others you want to know.

One of the elements of their Referrals for Life Programme is the Referral Pipeline where you get to spend a day with a trusted contact and execute a process that will efficiently generate enough referrals to completely fill up your sales pipeline!

Networking is only woolly if you are!

*VCP Process™ copyright Referral Institute 2010, all rights reserved.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking tips
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:20:00, 30 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,VCP,Business Networking Techniques,Business Networking Groups,Visibility,Trust,Credibility,Referrals,Profitability
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Networking and the 4 Ps of Marketing
In a presentation last week from Gill Hunt of Skillfair I was reminded of the 4 Ps of Marketing - product, price, placement, promotion. In traditional marketing these are taught as the four elements essential to get right in any marketing. The world has changed with the Internet, but they can provide a useful checklist to help in our networking.

Promotion is often the initial driver for a business owner or professional to start 'formal networking'. This can lead to too much emphasis initially on trying to sell to the people you meet. You quickly learn that networking is about building relationships with others in similar markets to you - your 'Inner Network'. The best way to get your network to promote or advocate you is to get in the habit of advocating them first.

The other 3 Ps are useful in working out where to network and who with. Where to find the people who will become part of your Inner Network. If your product is providing a solution to a business problem then you can work out the places you should be networking. It is in those groups where the other members provide similar value (price) services to yours. They should be working regularly with the types of businesses you work with.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking tips
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:35:00, 23 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Marketing
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Using online to get offline
At a networking lunch last week someone asked about how you get to meet up offline with some of the people you connect with online. Networking online & offline are about about building relationships. You can strengthen existing connections online and make good new connections. Build relationships by contributing to online conversations and sharing your knowledge and connections. At some point you will probably need to meet up to really build trust. You may not be quite ready to meet One2One so consider inviting them along to a networking group you belong to.

Last week I attended an Event on 'How real time web is facilitating offline interactivity'. One of the speakers Meetup Founder, Scott Heiferman, was talking about the importance of meeting offline and said Meetup itself was all about:

"Using the Internet to get off the Internet!"

A pretty good approach to keep in mind with your online networking.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 10 top networking tips to increase business with the effective use of offline & online networks

offline business networking | business networking events
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:00:00, 17 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,One2One,How Networking Works,Online,Offline Networking,Business Networking Groups,Trust,Online Networking,Networking Relationships,Networking Tips,Conversations
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How to decide where to spend time online networking
At a couple of meetings last week people asked me which online networks they should use. People tend to read the buzz about Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc & assume they need to be on them all. They can often feel daunted at the prospect of somehow incorporating all these into their networking.

I replied that the approach to networking is the same as offline. It is all about building relationships where people get to know, like and trust you. The important consideration for business networking is that the people you build those relationships with are in a position to refer you in the course of their everyday experiences. You should be networking online and offline in the networks where those people are members.

As I wrote in 10 top networking tips to increase business with the effective use of offline & online networks:

"Business Networking is about finding other business people who operate in similar markets to you. Then helping them and building relationships to earn that trust so don’t expect instant results. Like anything worthwhile, networking takes time and application. Take the time to develop relationships and create a network. Don’t expect to walk into a room of strangers or simply post a profile online and come away with business – it just doesn’t work like that!"

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking tips
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:59:00, 16 Mar 10
Tags: Like,Offline Networking,Networking Tips,Twitter,Business Networking,How Networking Works,Facebook,Know,Business Networking Groups,Linkedin,Trust,Online Networking,Networking Relationships
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How much should you give away?
In Nigel Temple's excellent Internet Marketing Masterclass yesterday there was a discussion about how much of your knowledge you should give away. A few years ago I sat in discussions where people argued that you should give nothing away. Yesterday most people were happy with the notion of giving away about 20%, but holding back the rest to charge for. It's the old 'Sprat to catch a mackerel' notion.

Most of us, however, are unhappy when we feel someone is holding something back. It gets in the way of building relationships. If you want people to refer you or do business with you that might be a problem!

The World has been changed forever with this thing called the Internet. Most knowledge is now freely available somewhere if you search for it. Some people will pay for your knowledge, but mainly they will pay for the the value you add.

Consider this statement from someone who is very successful in developing his business with networking. This was part of his response to the NRG research into business networking:

"I do not do any cold calling. All my business comes from networking and referrals. Networking is not about selling, it's about building relationships.

Much of the business is a result of doing a presentation where I share ALL my secrets so people know how to do what I do.

Mostly, they prefer to ask me to do it for them. Even though I've explained how they can do it for themselves!


Nigel was a living example of this in his Masterclass yesterday. The only thing the people attending were really paying for was the cost of the room for a few hours. He was then giving away his knowledge freely for a couple of hours.

Some of those people are now paying for his help to implement the stuff!

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking tips
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:13:00, 11 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Marketing,Networking Tips
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Reducing your business risks with networking
In the NRG research into business networking conducted a few years ago the findings included the ways in which building trusted relationships through networking reduces your risk in doing business. Perhaps the more obvious ones were the benefits you get from having more people looking for opportunities for you and good honest feedback about your business.

Another one was the business intelligence that your network contains. A great example of this for those operating in the UK is the results from NRG member and Skillfair founder, Gill Hunt, for their 2010 UK Consultancy Fee Rate Survey*. This was her biggest ever survey so the results are pretty definitive. Rates by specialism, sector and region.

As Gill says "You can use this information as a guide when buying or selling consultancy and freelance services - day rate isn't everything but it gives you a place to start and confidence that you're in the right area."

I am also pleased to report that NRG members get 11% more than the average!

*Full results published here.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking tips

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:01:00, 05 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Trust,Research,Networking Relationships
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