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Business Networking Blog

You have a Linkedin profile so now what?

I get asked regularly by business people and professionals about using Linkedin. Here is a short video from the clever folks at Commoncraft that explains it all in very simple language.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Grant Bagwell at 9:31:00, 15 Oct 10
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Put yourself in their shoes
Most weeks I meet someone who works on their own and who says something like, "I work with blue chips so need to be 'networking' with CEOs, CFOs, CTOs etc of Corporates, Blue Chips etc".

Stop for a moment and think about the responsibilities these CXO people have and their priorities. Where do you think meeting a bunch of people at a networking group fits? Instead of thinking about finding these people directly put yourself in their shoes. What are the things they worry about and who do they turn to for advice?

That will give you some idea of where to focus your networking efforts. With their other trusted advisers and suppliers!

Spend your time building relationships with these people. They are the ones that have influence with and access to your target market.

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 12 Oct 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Trust,Networking Relationships
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How to amplify and not dilute your message
Why does Word of Mouth Marketing work so well?

That was the recent headline of an article by my colleague in NRG Business Networks, Martin Davies. Stuart Harris Replied on Twitter,

"WoM marketing is great because it's personal but the person isn't paid ("hire a liar") - they recommend or not from the heart".

The subject came up yesterday at a seminar on Linkedin before the NRG lunch in Swindon. We know, and research confirms, that a recommendation or referral from a trusted 3rd party is much more powerful than any direct message of yours.

That's why networking is not about broadcasting your message to as many people as possible. Neither is it about meeting as many people as you possibly can yourself. That just dilutes your effort.

Build strong relationships with a close trusted network. They will deliver those precious 3rd party recommendations and your message will be amplified many times over.


Good Networking
!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:22:00, 06 Oct 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Word of Mouth,Linkedin,Twitter
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Are you talking enough with the people you already know?
One of the issues I hear most often from Directors and Professionals in small and medium sized businesses is how to generate business in new markets. I facilitated a peer to peer 'Boardroom' session recently where half of the issues raised were around this topic:

"How do I reach the companies I want to provide with a new service?"
"How do I get people to my networking group?"
"How do I get to relevant SMEs?"

Many people think the answer is to search for new connections on social networks or find new places to meet lots of people. The problem with this is you can very quickly run out of resources including your precious time. Stretching yourself very thinly in this way probably means getting to hardly know lots of people. Not the way to generate new business.

I spoke at an event recently on the big mistake that means networking doesn't work for many people. I asked the audience whether the best business came via recommendation and they agreed. I asked if they agreed that people recommend people in business that they know, like, rate and trust. They agreed again so I also asked whether they thought a good networking event was one with people they mostly didn't know. They agreed with that too and that is very often where the problem begins. Getting to know people takes time and the vast majority of people you meet once will remain as strangers.

The best way to get to the people you don't know is not by yourself. It is through word of mouth. It is by getting to know and supporting your close network even better than you do now. Grow advocates amongst them and they will recommend you to the people you don't know yet.

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:00:00, 28 Sep 10
Tags: Like,Business Networking,How Networking Works,Know,Word of Mouth,Trust,Rate,Advocacy
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Your network is the biggest asset in your business
Over the last couple of years many small business owners and professionals have discovered for the first time that business is about downs as well as ups. Fortunately for the economy most of these people have a pretty positive outlook and will be helping lead us out of recession. There are those that will be doing this in an entirely different business from the one they were running three years ago. I was chatting with a few of these people last week.

One was talking about the need to meet lots of new people and make new connections for his new business. This is a common approach, but can make life much more difficult in building his new business. It ignores the most important asset he built during his previous business and those before it. His Network! People who know, like, rate and trust him because they have seen him in action and those he has made a real difference to.

Those are the people to focus attention on as they are already in a position to make those vital referrals and recommendations that produce the best new sales for any business, new or old.

Business may be temporary, but your Network is permanent!

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:44:00, 21 Sep 10
Tags: Like,Business Networking,How Networking Works,Know,Trust,Business Development,Rate
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Get more referrals by dominating your niche
In a recent NRG business networking event Chris Bose delivered an excellent talk on how to get more prospects for your business from your website. You can read the full text on his website. The elements of his process for getting more prospects are very useful in the context of generating more referrals in networking.
A good website is aimed at being found by relevant people and converting them to prospects and not just hits. In the same way successful networkers build relationships with potential advocates in the right market sectors rather than just randomly connecting with lots of people. They then motivate their Inner Network to generate referrals.

Niche Domination means aiming your website at only the targeted people who are interested in the specific stuff that you sell. In networking you want your network to remember the specific target market you solve problems for and the more precise you are the better.

If you need help in finding your niche then analyse who you work with today, who you enjoy working with and where the money comes from!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 14 Sep 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,NRG,Referrals,Niche
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The quality of your network really matters
The rise in popularity of social networking websites has seen many people adopt a different approach to building their network. They have followed the idea encouraged by a number of 'experts' that large numbers of followers or connections are all important. Internet Psychologist, Graham Jones, has just written about evidence that demonstrates this approach is wrong. His article about new research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology into 'The Spread of Behavior in an Online Social Network' reports on the findings. The research compared how behaviour was spread in two competing networks. It spread much farther and faster in the quality, structured network than in the random one.

As Graham writes, "this research confirms that a structured network of close ties is the most beneficial. It is evidence that quality of your network is more important than quantity."

This is more confirmation that success in networking (offline and online) comes down to building a manageable number of relationships amongst people with influence amongst the right audience. Then motivating that network to advocate you.

Graham includes some great networking tips in his article:

1. Concentrate on truly connecting with people, rather than building numbers. Focus on relationships, rather than popularity rankings.

2. Keep in regular touch with your network; don't just add occasional information - make your social network a key part of your daily activity.

3. Encourage your network participants to invite their real-life friends to join your specific group; getting people to support each other within your network appears to boost the entire network, the study finds.

4. Have structure to your network - rather than making it informal, provide leadership.

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 07 Sep 10
Tags: quality,Business Networking,How Networking Works,quantity,Research
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Why does Word of Mouth Marketing work so well?

Word of Mouth Marketing is fashionable and perceived to work exceptionally well in today’s world of information overload. But exactly why is it so powerful?

Here is the reason. Word of Mouth is all about what someone who is not perceived to have an axe to grind says about someone else’s product or service. We pay more attention to positive (and negative) comments from our friends and associates about all sorts of things than what we see, read or listen to in the media.

In today’s world successful marketing is all about speeding up the person’s decision making through the value of a third party’s recommendation. They are valued because:

• They are seen as independent;
• They have experienced the product or service and are seen as knowledgeable;
• Advice they give is seen as relevant because they are thinking of that person.

Let me give you a real example which brought this mind. Last week, at one of our networking lunches, one of our members Mark asked me if he should buy a service from another member Jill. It involved quite a lot of money and time so he wanted to be convinced he was making the right decision. “I want to make the right decision and I value your thoughts” is what he said. Knowing what was important to him and having experienced first-hand Jill’s service I was able to talk about her service at the right level and explain what benefit Mark might get.

In short I was valued because I had experienced the service, was seen as independent and was offering relevant and pertinent advice.

He bought it.

The moral of this story is that nothing sells better than a supporter who knows your service well and is motivated to help. At NRG we call them advocates and they are worth their weight in gold!

For more information read the NRG Advocacy Model

.

 

Good Networking!

 

Martin Davies

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Martin Davies at 13:37:00, 02 Sep 10
Tags: Word of Mouth
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The same rules apply for online and offline Word of Mouth
I have written before about online & offline networking needing similar approaches. Recent HP Labs social media research concludes that successful influence on twitter does not depend on a large number of followers. That for information to propagate in a network, individuals need to forward it to the other members, thus having to actively engage rather than passively read it.

This supports the behaviours we identified in our research into offline networking and how to proactively create positive word of mouth.

Success in networking (offline and online) comes down to building a manageable number of relationships amongst people with influence amongst the right audience. Then motivating that network to advocate you.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:49:00, 24 Aug 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Online,Offline Networking,Word of Mouth,Research
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'Don't dive in' is not an excuse for doing nothing
I received a message via Twitter about my recent article, The BIG Mistake That Means Networking Doesn’t Work. The person said she agreed with the article, but thought people may take the advice 'don't dive in' as an excuse for doing nothing.

My main point was that people often start networking with no end in mind. Put some thought into what you want and then get out there and join some networks. Find those groups with other business people who operate in similar markets to you. Commit to investing the time to develop relationships and create a network of advocates.

Many people miss out by not joining a group or joining much later than they should. If you put a little bit of effort into identifying the right places to network up front then you can join in as soon as you find them. If you attend a group & leave it for a few months before joining you are missing opportunities.

One thing is absolutely certain. If you do nothing you will get nothing!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 11 Aug 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Groups,Business Networking Groups,Networking Tips
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