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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

Making Friends in Business

 

I have just returned from a week skiing in the French Alps on what is now the annual #Netski trip organised by Warren Cass www.warrencass.com. The party was made up of 20 business people who have become friends through organised networking. This year they included leaders from 4networking www.4networking.biz, Business-Scene www.business-scene.com, Directors Centre http://www.directorscentre.co.uk, Ecademy www.ecademy.com, Tax Advice Network www.taxadvicenetwork.co.uk and NRG-networks www.nrg-networks.com. 
In the organised networks we run we help business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs to develop business through networking. This works if you focus on building relationships first with the right people. Do the right things and business follows. Nobody on the skiing trip was selling to each other yet business was done and referred. Relationships first, business second.
I overheard a conversation between one of our party and someone else on a lift. The other person had asked what organised business networking was all about. After the reply he said, "I see, you're in the friends making business."
Friends are people you know well and like. They show loyalty, affection and offer help and support. All things that you need in running your business!
Friends first, business second.
Good Networking!
Dave Clarke http://www.nrg-networks.com/index.php?alias=dave

I have just returned from a week skiing in the French Alps on what is now the annual #Netski trip organised by Warren Cass. The party was made up of 20 business people who have become friends through organised networking. This year they included leaders from 4networking, Business-Scene, Directors Centre , Ecademy , Tax Advice Network  and NRG-networks 


In the organised networks we run we help business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs to develop business through networking. This works if you focus on building relationships first with the right people. Do the right things and business follows. Nobody on the skiing trip was selling to each other yet business was done and referred. Relationships first, business second.


I overheard a conversation between one of our party and someone else on a lift. The other person had asked what organised business networking was all about. After the reply he said, "I see, you're in the friends making business."


Friends are people you know well and like. They show loyalty, affection and offer help and support. All things that you need in running your business!


Friends first, business second.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke 

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:58:33, 08 Feb 11
Tags: Business Networking,Social Networking,How Networking Works,Business Networking Techniques
39145 Views 3 Comments

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The Networking Catch 22

In networking you will often be looking for a referral from someone you have not done business with. This can be a problem as the person may well need some experience of what you do first.

 

In this short podcast I talk about how you can share your expertise and build the trust needed for someone to recommend you.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:22:53, 01 Feb 11
Tags: How Networking Works,Business Networking,Podcast
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Networking is about people not numbers

Last week I wrote a guest blog for Warren Cass, 'Networking is not a numbers game'. In a reply on Twitter, Roberta Ward summed it up quite neatly, "No, its a people game!".

 

In the article I wrote about how some people approach networking as a numbers game. Meeting as many different people as possible at different events. Or collecting the maximum number of connections or friends on social networking websites.

 

The people who really make networking work for them and their business build strong relationships with a smaller number of people. They don't need to go out and meet new people all the time. Their introductions to new people and opportunities come via this group. 

 

Constantly meeting new people all the time leaves no time for relationship building. It's like starting from scratch every time or the Networking equivalent of Groundhog Day!

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:07:00, 25 Jan 11
Tags: How Networking Works,Networking Relationships,Business Networking
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Do you invest enough time in following up?

In my last blog, 'How to make networking really work in business', I mentioned some discussions on whether networking is an effective business development strategy. As I wrote there are many people who fail to make networking productive because all they do is attend events. 

 

I am constantly amazed that many people engage in no or very little follow up after meeting. I am sure that most people have the best intentions, but their attention is easily diverted by the next activity. One simple way of doing more follow up is to put it in your diary. If you are going to be attending a networking meeting set aside time in your diary later on or the following day. 

 

I went  to a breakfast meeting of the Carrington Club last week. The founder, Jonathan Rose, said in his introduction "what you get out of networking depends entirely on the effort you put in".

 

Following up is a crucial part of putting that effort in.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:23:17, 18 Jan 11
Tags: Business Networking,Networking Follow Up,Networking Tips,Business Development
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How to make networking really work in business

The subject of whether networking is an effective business development strategy comes up regularly in conversations with business people. I enjoyed reading a couple of articles from Andy Lopata and Warren Cass on the subject last week. 


Both Andy in 'Why the Entrepreneurs' Champion could lead them to disaster' and Warren in 'Online Spats… Handbags at Dawn!' were responding to a column in the Telegraph from Lord Sugar and the discussion and comment it provoked.


It was the following comment from Sugar that caused most controversy, "I am sick and tired of hearing people asking what to do, going to networking meetings and seminars expecting to glean some gems of wisdom. These events are money-making exercises and benefit one party and one party only: the organiser. They have become an escape for people to justify sitting around wasting a day bullshitting with each other while they should be working. You will learn nothing other than that there are another load of people in the same boat as you."


The idea that all networking events are for the benefit of the organisers only is patent nonsense. That is just as silly as claiming that any business is only for the benefit of its owners. A good business succeeds when it provides great value to its customers. There are plenty of networking organisations that succeed because they put the interests of their members first.


Where many people fail to make networking productive is they seem to believe the activity of attending networking events is all that is required. The people who make networking really work have people advocating them when they are not there. They get a constant flow of business, support and opportunities through these 'Advocates'. Like anything worthwhile, networking takes time and application. You need to be committed to investing the time to develop relationships and create a network of advocates.

 

That means more than just attending events.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:38:14, 12 Jan 11
Tags: Blog,Business Networking,Business Development,Networking Tips,How Networking Works
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Do you know where you are starting from?

Over the last week or so my inbox has been full of well meaning advice about goal setting and new year resolutions. The same topics have seemed to dominate on blogs and social media. One thing has been missing from a lot of what I have read - the importance of knowing where you are starting from. You may be a lot nearer to your goals than you think. One of the common mistakes people make when building a business network is thinking that it is all about making new contacts. Don't forget the people who already know, like, rate and trust you.

 

I shared some tips on how to identify the people already in your network in a short podcast that you can listen to here:

 

I heard someone say once that if you don't know where you are going then any road will do as you don't know which one to follow. Equally if you don't know where you are then you don't know which road to take.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:54:50, 05 Jan 11
Tags: Blog,Business Networking,Business Networking Techniques,Email,New Year,Podcast,Social Media
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Are you networking with the right people?

I met someone last month at one of my regular networking groups. When he explained what he did I advised him that the group may not be great for him and his business. He sold cosmetics direct to consumers and was there to generate leads for his business. The group was made up of professionals and providers of business services.

 

He said, rightly, that everyone there either used or knew people that used the types of products he sold. I said that was true, but they were all there because they shared the same target market. They were not selling directly to consumers of domestic products so the best network for him would be with others selling directly to the same domestic consumers.

 

Successful networking for business development is all about building relationships with the right people. A good place to start when selecting a networking group for business is to find one where the other members sell to the same target market as you.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:51:05, 05 Jan 11
Tags: Business Networking Groups,Business Development,Business Networking
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What is a business networking group?

At a dinner party a couple of weeks ago one of the other guests asked me what I do. I used the phrase 'Business Networking Group' in my reply and she said, "What's a Business Networking Group?"

 

I was a little thrown at first, but realised I shouldn't be. I think we often assume that everyone knows more about whatever it is we do than they actually do. I met someone on a Referral Institute training course yesterday who had once written technical manuals. He said that the instructions included the advice to write so that an 8 year old can understand.

 

Wikipedia describes Business Networking as 'a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities. A business network is a type of social network whose reason for existing is business activity'.

 

I realised that I needed to explain a little bit more. I explained that there are now many more people running their own business than ever before. Many of them are specialists in what they do and do not have any marketing or sales people. They rely on personal recommendation or word of mouth for their business. Their main problem is that they need more of these opportunities than they currently have. Many of the older business support services in the public and private sector do not really help these business people with generating positive word of mouth.

 

Any group exists because the members share and are committed to a common cause. The common cause for the members of a business networking group will usually be helping each other in business. This may be around sharing business, support and information (or all 3). It is mainly the need to generate more business by recommendation that has lead to the growth in the market of specialist business networking groups.

 

A business networking group is a club where the common cause is helping each other become more successful in business.

 

The most important thing in an effective business networking group is that the members don't just share the same needs. They must be in a position to really help each other. That will often mean that the members share similar target markets and provide similar value services. Success is then down to the commitment and contribution they make.

 

Would an 8 year old understand how you describe what you do?

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:44:23, 05 Jan 11
Tags: Business Development,Business Networking,Business Networking Groups,Communication,How Networking Works,Referrals
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The small business advantage in the Digital Age
I write this from a train heading into London. I am on my way to a 'Digital Mindset' workshop from Ecademy founders Penny & Thomas Power. The purpose of the event is billed as 'to look at why a "Digital Mindset" and Digital Coaching will grow your business.' The tag line for the Ecademy website is now 'Learning, networking and business development for the digital age'. 
If we are in a 'digital age' what does this mean for the Owners, Directors and Partners of small specialist businesses and professional firms? It is mainly these people who go networking as their primary route to market. 
Most of the people I meet in this category are passionate about what they do and are open and transparent about what they do and why. It is this passion, openness & transparency that gives them an advantage in this digital age. It is exactly the right approach online.
Contrast this with the news furore over the last few days about wikileaks. Whatever the rights or wrongs the revelations, if true, show some of our politicians, diplomats and representatives of big business taking the opposite approach. Saying one thing in private and another thing in public. The internet has made it easier to judge openness, honesty and transparency. The very things that small business is mainly better at that big business. 
You may have heard the expression 'people buy people'. The approach for the digital age is the same as what came before. 
Be yourself!

I wrote this on a train heading into London on my way to a 'Digital Mindset' workshop from Ecademy founders Penny & Thomas Power. The purpose of the event was billed as 'to look at why a "Digital Mindset" and Digital Coaching will grow your business.' The tag line for the Ecademy website is now 'Learning, networking and business development for the digital age'. 

 

If we are in a 'digital age' what does this mean for the Owners, Directors and Partners of small specialist businesses and professional firms? It is mainly these people who go networking as their primary route to market. 

 

Most of the people I meet in this category are passionate about what they do and are open and transparent about what they do and why. It is this passion, openness & transparency that gives them an advantage in this digital age. It is exactly the right approach online.

 

Contrast this with the news furore over the last few months about wikileaks. Whatever the rights or wrongs the revelations, if true, show some of our politicians, diplomats and representatives of big business taking the opposite approach. Saying one thing in private and another thing in public. The internet has made it easier to judge openness, honesty and transparency. The very things that small business is mainly better at that big business. 

 

You may have heard the expression 'people buy people'. The approach for the digital age is the same as what came before. 

 

Be yourself!

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:35:58, 05 Jan 11
Tags: Business Development,Business Networking,Offline Networking,Online Networking,Social Media,Social Networking
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Think of networking as a system & not an event

I was at an event recently where someone said that the owners of small businesses often operate a really unstructured approach to marketing. This is often an irregular series of one off initiatives in relation to short term needs. The problem with this approach is that each new activity takes a lot of effort and does not build on the things that have been done before. It leads to a lot of wasted time and frustration.

 

Many business owners and professionals adopt a similar approach to networking. Attending loads of events when new business is needed with infrequent activity when they are busy. Both marketing and networking are much more productive when done systematically.

 

Instead of networking like crazy when you need something adopt a simple, straightforward, systematic approach. This means building your network rather than meeting lots of people infrequently. Take the time to build the right relationships with the right people for you and your business. Then take the time to understand what they need and help them achieve it. Don't forget to let them know what you need and how they can help you. This approach means you can invest your time effectively at fewer events and leave more time to doing what you really enjoy and get paid to do.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:30:37, 05 Jan 11
Tags: Advocacy,Business Networking,Marketing,Networking System,Networking Tips
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