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Business Networking Blog

Top ten posts from the business networking blog

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The home of the business networking blog was on blogger until early this year. The full 5 year archive of posts with business networking tips, hints, advice and stories is now here.

 

In case you missed any of them below are links to the 10 most popular posts on the business networking blog in 2010. 

 

1. The quality of your network really matters
https://www.nrg-networks.com/blogs.php?blog=60
2. Be careful not to leave too early
https://www.nrg-networks.com/blogs.php?blog=67
3. Are you talking enough with the people you already know?
https://www.nrg-networks.com/blogs.php?blog=57
4. Is there a right time to leave a networking group?
https://www.nrg-networks.com/blogs.php?blog=65
5. Your network is the biggest asset in your business
https://www.nrg-networks.com/blogs.php?blog=58
6. The same rules apply for online and offline Word of mouth
https://www.nrg-networks.com/blogs.php?blog=62
7. Do you nurture your network like a good garden?
https://www.nrg-networks.com/blogs.php?blog=51
8. Why does Word of Mouth Marketing work so well?
https://www.nrg-networks.com/blogs.php?blog=61
9. Are you networking with the right people?
https://www.nrg-networks.com/blogs.php?blog=630
10. Are you building strong ties with your network?
https://www.nrg-networks.com/blogs.php?blog=624

1. The quality of your network really matters

2. Be careful not to leave too early

3. Are you talking enough with the people you already know?

4. Is there a right time to leave a networking group?

5. Your network is the biggest asset in your business

6. The same rules apply for online and offline Word of mouth

7. Do you nurture your network like a good garden?

8. Why does Word of Mouth Marketing work so well?

9. Are you networking with the right people?

10. Are you building strong ties with your network?

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:46:50, 07 Mar 11
Tags: quality networking,Networking Tips,Business Networking Techniques,Word of Mouth,Online Networking,Social Networking
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Networking on Purpose
In a recent conversation with Sarah Owen of the Referral institute I asked her if she could share some networking advice. Sarah and her colleagues are experts in training people to gain business through their network from referals.
1. What is your approach to networking?
My approach to networking is to go 'on purpose'. To have a strategy for what I am aiming to achieve at 3 levels:
i. How can I help others?
ii. How can I best honour the event?
iii. What are my personal goals. 
2. How much experience do you have of formal networking? 
I started formally networking in 1984 in an employed role at Mappin and Webb – the Queen’s Silversmiths.
3. What advice would you have for someone new to networking? 
I would advise such a person to:
i. Have a clear idea of the goals you want to achieve by using networking and a simple plan to achieve the result you want
ii. Never do it alone! Always take someone with you or attend with someone you know – it is more fun!
iii. Make sure that you are participating in something which is aligned to your values and which suits your style
iv. Research before you go about what objectives the event claims to have, who is going to be there, what you can expect
v. Be yourself and relax
vi. Don’t do too much networking – find what you like and stick to it – (don’t scatter gun)
vii. Don’t sell – no one came to buy!
viii. Focus on how you can help others and be clear how they can help you back – give first
ix. Don’t forget to look at your own network – often just as useful as meeting a lot of new people and starting from scratch
x. Follow up and track everything so in one year’s time you will have a clear idea of where to network and with whom
Thanks to Sarah for sharing and I would add that someone new may well want to seek out professional training from experts like Sarah and her colleagues at www.referralinstitute.co.uk.

In a recent conversation with Sarah Owen of the Referral institute I asked her if she could share some networking advice. Sarah and her colleagues are experts in training people to gain business through their network from referals.

 

1. What is your approach to networking?
"My approach to networking is to go 'on purpose'. To have a strategy for what I am aiming to achieve at 3 levels:

i. How can I help others?

ii. How can I best honour the event?

iii. What are my personal goals."

 

2. How much experience do you have of formal networking? 
"I started formally networking in 1984 in an employed role at Mappin and Webb – the Queen’s Silversmiths."

 

3. What advice would you have for someone new to networking? 
"I would advise such a person to:
i. Have a clear idea of the goals you want to achieve by using networking and a simple plan to achieve the result you want

ii. Never do it alone! Always take someone with you or attend with someone you know – it is more fun!

iii. Make sure that you are participating in something which is aligned to your values and which suits your style

iv. Research before you go about what objectives the event claims to have, who is going to be there, what you can expectv. Be yourself and relax

vi. Don’t do too much networking – find what you like and stick to it – (don’t scatter gun)

vii. Don’t sell – no one came to buy!

viii. Focus on how you can help others and be clear how they can help you back – give first

ix. Don’t forget to look at your own network – often just as useful as meeting a lot of new people and starting from scratch

x. Follow up and track everything so in one year’s time you will have a clear idea of where to network and with whom."

 

Thanks to Sarah for sharing and I would add that someone new may well want to seek out professional training from experts like Sarah and her colleagues at www.referralinstitute.co.uk.

Referral Institute Programme - Referrals for Life

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:18:42, 01 Mar 11
Tags: Referrals,Business Networking Techniques,Networking Tips
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Pull versus Push in Networking

I have a couple of saved searches in Google & Twitter on the subject of business networking. Many of the daily results are for training sessions or webinars on how to get more from your networking. The vast majority of these are focused on crafting the perfect elevator pitch, getting more leads, selling more or becoming a social media expert. It is all about push and completely misses how successful networking really works.

 

I was chatting about this and other stuff recently with Bernie Mitchell of TCS Digital World. I met Bernie a few years ago through networking and he shared his frustrations about the way many people are encouraged to go around passing out business cards like confetti and delivering pitches rather than engaging in conversations. Precisely the wrong approach to successful networking.

 

I asked Bernie about his approach and he said it is all about pull rather than push:

 

"It is about creating attraction without letting off fireworks! Good networks build community, encourage authenticity and facilitate connectedness.


Building community through fostering the right spirit and allowing people to express themselves in a peer to peer environment.


Encouraging authenticity through communicating honestly and without front or putting on an act.


Facilitating connectedness by providing the structure for people to really make the effort to get connected."

 

He also said the people he sees that really get results often appear really quiet for 6 months. The thing that they have done is taken the time to watch, listen and learn first. They have known how to fit in, build relationships, help others first and become attractive.

 

Paraphrasing Stephen Covey from his 7 habits they have sought to understand others first before attempting to be understood!

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:57:31, 22 Feb 11
Tags: How Networking Works,Business Networking Groups,Networking Relationships
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Business Networking in 5 Simple Steps

Yesterday I shared the NRG Networking or Advocate Marketing System in a session with NRG Group Leaders. The system is based on our own experiences and on some research.

 

It is a simple and straightforward system made up of 5 essential steps;

 

1. Set your networking objectives

2. Identify your target market

3. Develop your proposition

4. Define your inner network

5. Build your advocates

 

1. What are you trying to achieve through networking? There are various reasons why people network. The main reason is to generate more business. Other reasons include finding suppliers, acquiring knowledge and identifying others to collaborate with.

 

2. If your customers are all in one market segment then it is easy to identify your target market. Often, though, it is more difficult as you may work with businesses in very different sectors. Instead of saying "I deal with lots of different types of business" try and identify the common need or problem you work on. Your target market could be businesses with that issue.

 

3. Your proposition should be based on the successful outcome you leave your clients with. The result of your work and not what you actually do. Illustrate what you say with examples and stories. Some NRG ones are here in NRG member success stories.

 

4. Your inner network are the people you regularly spend time with. Identify those others with influence in your target market.

 

5. Your advocates are those people who go out of their way to recommend you and your services. That don't do that by accident. They do it because they know, like, rate and trust you. They get to that stage after you have built a relationship where you have been doing the same for them and others.

 

Download this interactive workbook and build your own simple networking plan:

Business Networking System

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:38:32, 15 Feb 11
Tags: Networking for Advocates,Business Networking,business networking system,How Networking Works
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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
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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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