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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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"How Can I help you?"
I was at the NRG Networking Lunch in London today and our table moderator posed the same question to each person, "How can we help?". The answers that stimulated the most activity were the ones from members who had been building their relationships in the network, and who were specific with their requests.

One person said he was interested in meeting printing companies interested in joint venturing. Two introductions were offered immediately.

Another person was interested in bespoke software developers with Property clients and received three immediate introductions.

Assuming you have those good relationships in place do you know how to ask specifically for what you want?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 19:47:00, 08 May 07
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG,Networking Relationships,Networking Introductions
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How do I get access to someone's clients?
How often have I heard NRG members ask this question? The last time was a few days ago at an NRG Xtra meeting where one of the attendees was asking help as to how he got access to an accountant's clients. He said he always found accountants very reserved about giving access to their clients.

Sound familiar?

We discussed this and came to the following conclusions:

1. Nobody is prepared to give access to their contact list unless they have formed a trusted relationship with you.

2. Always give before you ask - find a way to give them something of value - with no strings attached. Form the relationship based upon what you can do for the other person.

3. It takes time and effort to develop such a relationship.

As it happened the person who raised the issue had already made an offer of a free part of his service to the accountant - who was delighted! He was proving that business networking is all about developing business relationships first!

Good networking!

Martin Davies
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:27:00, 07 May 07
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG,Networking Relationships
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When should I offer a 'freebie'?
I was having a 1-2-1 meeting with a new NRG member, who was in the Internet Services business. He asked me "I never know whether it's OK to offer a free traffic analysis of their website to someone I've met when networking - I'm worried they'll think me pushy and think it's a sales ploy."

My answer was that it depended on how you set the scene. I thought it was fine if you introduced the offer in the context that you were trying to increase your visibility in business, really wanted to educate people you met about what you did and the best way was to show them - hence the offer.

The key thing in business networking is to make sure the offer is without strings - none of us likes to feel beholden.

Good networking!

Martin Davies
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 22:21:00, 05 May 07
Tags: Business Networking,Networking Connections,NRG,Networking Relationships,Networking Objectives,Networking Introductions,Managing reputation
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What’s your NRG? Part Two.
In “What’s your NRG? Part One” I introduced the concept of Networking Reliability Grade, the trust levels required for different value networking transactions.

These levels move from 1 to 6. NRG level 1 is where no trust is required and NRG level 6 is where complete trust is required. These NRG levels indicate increasing levels of trust. These levels with an example of a networking transaction for each:

NRG Level 1 – Swap business cards at a networking event
NRG Level 2 - Arrange an informal meeting to get to know each other
NRG Level 3 - Invite someone to come along to your regular networking group
NRG Level 4 - Actively look for potential referral opportunities for a contact
NRG Level 5 - Arrange a meeting to introduce 2 of your contacts to each other
NRG Level 6 - Provide a testimonial for a contact to another trusted contact

Putting this all together gives us an insight into the strategies employed in building trusted business relationships and ultimately a network of advocates. More on that later…

If you know anyone who attends lots of networking events & collects lots of business cards, but is getting nowhere then they are operating almost entirely at NRG level 1.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:02:00, 04 May 07
Tags: How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG
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What’s your NRG? Part One.
In this context NRG stands for Networking Reliability Grade and is used for the trust levels identified as key stages in the business networking research we did a couple of years ago.

The ultimate in relationship networking is when someone introduces you to a prospect for your product or service and introduces you as the person they simply must do business with. An ‘advocate’ introduction of this sort will only happen when you have built a business relationship based on complete trust.

In the research we established that trust is built through networking transactions and as the transaction value increases it is necessary for your trustworthiness or Networking Reliability Grade (NRG) to increase. Providing you perform well during networking transactions your NRG increases.

NRG levels move from 1 to 6. NRG level 1 is where no trust is required and NRG level 6 is where complete trust is required.

An example of a networking transaction where you only need NRG level 1 would be a simple introduction at an event.

An example of a networking transaction where you need NRG level 6 would be the ultimate described above.

I’ll introduce the other levels and some examples over the coming days together with what you have to do to move from NRG Level 1 to NRG Level 6.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:58:00, 03 May 07
Tags: How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG
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Hey this networking stuff really does work....
Just found this post from Phil Parr of the branding agency twentyfive on Ecademy; "Hey this networking stuff really does work...."

Phil said, "After 18 months of hard networking, doing the lunches, going to the breakfasts, making time for 1-2-1 meetings and presenting seminars, I am finally starting to get referrals in to companies that are not only right in terms of size and turnover but are ready to do the serious deep level branding that we do!

I have to admit to a bit of a crisis in confidence a couple of months ago - I even thought of cutting right back on the activity (it just seemed like so much effort with no reward) but I stuck in there and it's proved to be the right decision.

So all you people out there who may be wavering - here's my advice: Stick it out, it may take some time, but the referrals are out there."


Phil's absolutely right. It does take time to build relationships and your reputation, but that's where it pays off. I suspect if all he had been doing were the meetings then he would still be waiting.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:24:00, 02 May 07
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG,Networking Relationships,Managing reputation
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Simple rule of thumb guide to networking 2
I've been thinking about a previous post, a simple rule of thumb guide to networking. In it I recalled a post on ecademy where I had written: "Ask yourself what you would like people in your Network to do for you, then take the initiative and do it for them".

In some instances people may not want what you want so a better rule of thumb might be:

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

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 22:22:00, 30 Apr 07
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG,Networking Follow Up
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Truth or Delusion
I attended an excellent presentation from Ivan Misner the founder of BNI yesterday. The theme of Truth or Delusion was from his new book on networking which sounds a great read. I think I'll probably refer to a few of his comments in time, but one of his points reminded me of a previous post of mine here>>>.

He presented a number of points and asked the audience if they were Truth or Delusion. The 2nd one was "You have to be an extrovert to be successful at Networking, Truth or Delusion". The answer of course - Delusion. Introverts tend to be better listeners and this is a key skill in successful networking. Use your 2 ears & 1 mouth in the right proportion.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 7:56:00, 26 Apr 07
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG,Networking Relationships
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Practising what your preach
I attended an all day business networking event yesterday. The event was to launch the Apprentice Programme from Business in Berkshire. This is a mentoring programme to match new businesses with more established businesses in the Berkshire area.

I spoke in the morning about 'How Networking Works' and then stayed to listen to the other presenters and to meet and talk with people during the day.

At the end someone said to me it's great to see you practise what you talked about earlier in the day.

It's important when building your reputation to not only say what you should be doing, but to do it too.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:09:00, 24 Apr 07
Tags: How Networking Works,NRG,Managing reputation
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Networking is all about managing your reputation!
I was talking to an IFA and an insolvency practitioner at a networking meeting a couple of days ago. The IFA was bemoaning the fact that he had only one (free) meeting with a prospective client before he expected them to sign up. The relationship building had to go a long way in one meeting!

So we talked about how networking helps this relationship building process. We came to the conclusion that networking is all about creating and managing your reputation. Over time, if you network effectively, your reputation goes before you. If you are introduced by someone who rates you by them saying "you must meet John before you make any decision about which IFA to choose" your reputation is working hard for you. When you do have that first meeting it then becomes much easier to make the prospect feel comfortable and to create the right relationship fast!

So think about your networking activity and ask yourself the question "Is this improving my reputation?"

Good networking!

Martin Davies
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:55:00, 20 Apr 07
Tags: How Networking Works,Networking Connections,NRG,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up,Networking Objectives,Networking Introductions,Managing reputation
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