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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

Your Unique Networking Proposition


In a recent NRG Boardroom session we were dicussing an issue that is common to many business owners and professionals. The concern about generating enough new sales is often the primary reason these people go networking.


A lot of email and web advertising puports to help you address this 'selling' issue and get you quick sales. Others promise quick returns from networking by helping you craft the perfect elevator pitch or by teaching you how to 'work the room'. Other ones promise to give you the secrets to promoting your business on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.


There are useful lessons to be learned from many of the courses and materials promoted, but they are not the real answer. Business Networking is an indirect route to market. Results come when someone is motivated to recommend or refer you. So how do you make your networking effective and generate these recommendations?


That is where your unique networking proposition comes in and the picture above of a mirror is a clue to what it is. Look in a mirror and what do you see? This is not a trick question, the thing you see is YOU. You are the unique proposition in your business networking. It is your passion and enthusiasm that others buy into. It is this passion and enthusiasm that comes across when you help others in your network. It is why you have no problem selling when you get in front of the right person who needs the service you provide.


Getting in front of these right people is the real issue for generating business from networking. That happens when people know, like, rate and trust you. That results from building relationships and doing stuff for others in your network.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:59:16, 17 May 11
Tags: Networking Relationships,How Networking Works
24746 Views 0 Comments

Are you engaging in conversation or shouting?

conversationAt a recent NRG Group Leader Meeting we were discussing the best ways of inviting guests. One option is for the leader to do all the inviting. If the leader invites 40 people they know reasonably well the chances are they will get about 8 positive responses over time.


One alternative that has proven really effective is for the leader to do something else as well. To talk with 8 active members or advocates and ask them to invite people they know well. If each of these then invites 40 people the chances are that this will produce 8 X 8 positive responses over time. That means 64 rather than 8!


It's the same for your business. The temptation is to try and get your message across directly to potential prospects. This can get a little like trying to order something in a foreign country where you don't speak the language. You can find yourself saying the same thing over and over again until you are literally SHOUTING!


Instead of this approach try investing some time in conversation with your existing clients and advocates. They can help get your message across to more people and probably more effectively!


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:34:16, 11 May 11
Tags: How a little bit of conversation with your advocates beats shouting at strangers. Read more ...
22893 Views 1 Comments

The best way to reach new people

Business RelationshipsThe chances are that at some stage in your business you will want to find new people as clients.


If you are a small business providing high value specialist or professional services this can be quite a challenge.


Many small firms attempt to address this challenge by investing large sums of money and time in trying to reach this new audience directly. They will try and craft the perfect message and use tactics such as email campaigns, search engine optimisation, or cold calling. The main problem with most of this activity is that it leads to one brief interaction and then nothing. The campaigns that do work are based on building a relationship rather than getting one message across.


The more service based you are the harder it is for this sort of approach to work. Very few small organisations have the resources of the very large ones who spend millions on building a trusted brand.


So how do you reach new people?


When I ask people where they get the best new business from the answer is nearly always 'word of mouth' or 'recommendation'. The best way to reach new people is to do things that generate more 'word of mouth' and 'recommendation'.


The chances are that you already know most of the people you need to know to get introduced to enough new people. Invest your time and money in strengthening your ties with your network rather than with strangers.


Even if you use other marketing tactics to reach new people your word of mouth networking is still important. Before someone buys your services they will invariably speak to someone else first.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:57:45, 03 May 11
Tags: Business Development,Marketing,Networking for Advocates
24566 Views 1 Comments

Is it easy for your network to help you?

Easy as ABC and 123Earlier today I wrote in the NRG expert speaker blog about Richard White's recent talk at the NRG City of London Group. The full title of the talk was 'The missing piece of the networking jigsaw: how to make it easy for you to win more business'.


Richard shared a number of insights including his number one networking tip, "There are so many small things that can impact the results you get from networking. I think you could sum them all up into an overall tip which is to make it easy for people to help you win more business."


I meet many people who have built some really good business networking relationships, but don't get the results their efforts deserve. Plenty of people know, like, and trust them, but don't fully understand what they do or need. They have not made it easy for others to help them.


Richard went on to say, "Probably the biggest way to make it easy for others to help us is to be able to clearly articulate who we need to be connected to and why they would want be connected with us. This is not as easy as it sounds. Whilst we might think we understand our business inside out, making it easy for others to understand it is a much harder task. A key part of this is being prepared to truly specialise in our area of maximum credibility. It’s much easier for people to help us when we have a specialist niche and a proven track record."


A great piece of advice from Richard on how to make it easier for others to help you.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:52:15, 26 Apr 11
Tags: business networking blog,Business Development,business networking tips
35003 Views 0 Comments

How to use the spirit of Networking on Linkedin

Linkedin Networking Statistics

On my Linkedin Profile I can see those people I am connected to and their friends. This is a really useful feature as it means I can request an introduction if I would like to get in touch with someone I don't know. I am surprised that more people don't make use of this. I am even more surprised when I receive a generic message from someone when we share mutual connections. 


This week I received a Linkedin message like this (I have removed any obvious identifying text): 


"Dear Dave

Since we are connected via .......... and share the ............. group,

in the spirit of LinkedIn networking I thought I’d reach out.

 Any chance you could help?

 Would it be possible to introduce me to any of your associates

involved in ................. and responsible for ...........................?

As you can see from my profile we have developed a service that .............

Your help is really appreciated if you have a couple of minutes thanks Dave.



It was a very polite message, but from someone I don't know and with a pretty generalised request to non specified contacts. It was effectively the online equivalent of a cold call and missed the spirit of networking on Linkedin altogether.


To be in the spirit of Linkedin networking  the person should have asked our shared connection for an introduction to a specific contact of mine. A request from a trusted contact with their endorsement is much more likely to produce a response.


Use Linkedin properly and you have some very powerful tools to complement your networking.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:51:26, 19 Apr 11
Tags: Linkedin,Online Networking
34775 Views 2 Comments

Are you too focused on meeting new contacts?

RolodexIn the search to find new business or new opportunities through networking you can find yourself spending most of your time meeting new people. When you are building and maintaining a vibrant network you need to make new connections, but take care that it is not at the expense of existing ones. Make sure you allocate sufficient time for keeping in regular contact with the people you already know.


People advocate the people they know, like, rate and trust for the business and job opportunities they find. It can take a long time to build a relationship to that level, but if you do not keep it up it can be much quicker to lose it.


I spoke to one professional last week who was looking for new consultancy work. His whole focus was on finding new people. He had not thought to keep in touch with the people from his last 2 big projects. Not just the clients, but the other professionals and contractors who had been involved. He had even employed some of these himself. The reality is that he is much more likely to find what he needs through these people than through the fleeting contact he has with most new connections. These older relationships will need some work to rebuild, but that is likely to be much quicker than starting from scratch.


When was the last time you went through your contacts to see if you ought to spend more time with some of them?


A little bit of keeping in touch really does go a long way to making your networking productive.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:48:02, 13 Apr 11
Tags: Networking for Advocates,Networking Relationships
33899 Views 2 Comments

What is an advocate worth?

Networking AdvocatesRecently I was speaking after an NRG Lunch about the Value of an Advocate.  As those of you who know NRG will know we are always promoting the value of developing advocates and that there is evidence that advocacy works and works well.

So my question was "How much time should you invest in developing an advocate?"

I went through an exercise trying to put a financial vale of such advocacy.  It was a small group so I asked them the following questions:


Have you got one or more advocates? 
5 out of 7 replied positively - interestingly most of the advocates were clients or ex clients.  The other learning point was that the 2 people who said they had no advocates also said they had had no referrals in the last year.

What is the value of a new client was in the first year? 
Out of 7 respondees the average value was £16,000 revenue in the first year.

What is your referral conversion rate?
The interesting point was that they all agreed that the conversion rate of referrals from advocates was much higher than other referrals - they knew what to look for.

What is your client retention rate?
They agreed 70% was an average figure.

How many times a year did an advocate refer?
The consensus was 4 to 5 times.


This produced some astonishing results. 


The average revenue arising from one advocate in the first year was £32,000.

But when you work out the Lifetime Client Value for all the referred clients from one advocate (over 5 years) the present day value was a staggering £255,000! 


Imagine what four such advocates could bring you?

So, the answer to the question "How much time and effort do you invest in building advocates?" everyone agreed was a simple one - "a lot for £1 million!!"


Martin Davies

NRG Business Networks

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:33:57, 05 Apr 11
Tags: Business Networking,nrg advocacy model,nrg advocate model,Advocacy
31451 Views 0 Comments

Business Networking: Quality or Quantity?

QualityI know many people who, like me, generate all their new business through effective networking. For them networking is about much more than new business. It is about having the right support network in place to enable them to do better business all round. Their networking is focused on the relationships they have built and are building with the right people for them and their business.


It can often appear as though these successful networkers have hundreds or even thousands of connections. That can lead people to think that effective networking is about large numbers.


The reality is that these people are often known to huge numbers, but that is not where their success comes from. It comes from their regular interactions with a much smaller number. It's the relationships with this close trusted inner network that produce the results.


This short podcast is about the confusion that arises around the subject of quantity or quality in networking.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 18:28:38, 04 Apr 11
Tags: quality,Networking Relationships,Inner Network,Networking for Advocates
36388 Views 0 Comments

Do you always remember to say Thank You

Thank YouIn her blog post 'A time to say thank you!' Fiona Bevan wrote about how she was reminded to find new ways of thanking strategic partners. She was going to create a new page on her website to endorse them. She also mentioned Linkedin and the use of recommendations and testimonials.


A Thank You goes a long way and is important in maintaining relationships. The biggest complaint I hear in Networking applies to those people who have forgotten to say thank you or give any feedback following a referral. Referrals soon stop without a thank you. Some people use gifts or cards, but in person, by phone or emal can be equally appropriate.


The same applies online. If someone recommends you or shares some of your content  via Social Media remember a quick thank you. I know people  who have stopped retweeting users on twitter because they never got an acknowledgement.


Saying Thank You is good manners and also part of the vital follow up process.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:40:13, 31 Mar 11
Tags: Networking Follow Up,Networking Relationships
13419 Views 0 Comments

Business to business online networking essentials

Linkedin 100 Million MembersLast week I received an email from Linkedin Founder Reid Hoffman thanking me for being one of their first million members (number 216977). They now have over 100 million members!


At a recent NRG Xtra session before a networking lunch we had a discussion on the relevance of online networks for those providing services to other businesses. It is surprising to me when I meet business professionals not using online networks, but then I am an early adopter as you can see above. During the discussions it was clear that a Linkedin presence is now seen as an essential requirement for business professionals. Just having a Linkedin profile, however, is not going to be any use unless you do something. You need to regularly spend time interacting with and adding value to your network by sharing things with them. 


We have had a couple of expert speakers at NRG recently who have covered this particular subject. Thomas Power of Ecademy spoke in Bristol at the start of the year and Madlen Nicolaus of Kodak in London. Both of them advocated the importance of an active online presence. Thomas talked about its importance in the context of building your personal brand. Madlen concentrated on its importance in the overall context of b2b marketing.


The other essential that both these experts agreed on is that you should have a blog where you share your expertise and opinion. It can be on your website or if that is not possible use a free service like blogger, wordpress or similar. This might be just the written word, but could also include audio and video. Depending on your business it may be that you should be sharing and interacting online in other places like Facebook and Twitter too. You have thousands of choices, but the main one for business professionals is Linkedin. 


It may well be that you need more than your individual profile. I manage my own profile on Linkedin along with the NRG company profile and the NRG-networks Group.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:39:00, 28 Mar 11
Tags: social networkng,Blog,Online Networking
35500 Views 1 Comments


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