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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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Why Your Pitch At Networking Events May Be Wrong

PushRecently I attended a networking event and listened to about 20 people pitch their business. The common thread was that they all pitched in exactly the same way as they would if we were prospects. The problem with that is that networking events are not full of your prospects. They are full of people like you. How do you feel when people constantly pitch at you?

 

The people I know who get the most out of networking focus on building a trusted network of contacts. A group of friends in business. People who provide support, advice, a sounding board when needed and introductions to other friends when they need the services of someone like you. They know that doesn't happen overnight. You have to really get to know people first which takes time so you need a strategy to keep in touch. Joining a networking group is one way of ensuring you meet people regularly to build that all important trust.

 

I host a couple of NRG Networking Groups and the most frequent comment I get from guests is how refreshing it is to meet a group of people who are genuinely interested in you rather than just pitching at you. This isn't accidental. It's a combination of attracting people who agree with our view of networking and then providing a facilitating environment to accelerate the trust building process by focusing on interactions that will do just that.

 

The next time you're at a networking event why not say to people that the reason you're there is not to find customers, but to find people who are interested in helping each other grow business in mutually supportive ways.

 

Let me know how you get on.

 

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

 


 

If you would like to understand more about how to invest your networking time and get a better return visit the 8 blog series on How To Win More Business Through Networking

          

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:52:37, 25 Nov 14
Tags: NRG,Business Networking,Trust,friends in business
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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Happy Christmas

Click on the picture to watch the penguin take to the ice and skate out a Christmas greeting set to music.

 

Seasons Greetings!

Dave Clarke

           

 

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:15:12, 24 Dec 12
Tags: Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Ecard,NRG
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Shake Hands & Smile with your voice

Last week saw our latest NRG Midlands Regional Event take place in Birmingham. In the Midlands we decided that so many people were on holiday in August, it made more sense to pool our resources for a month into a single event.

All of our seven Midlands groups were represented, which gave the event the solid regional flavour we were seeking as well as providing the opportunities to develop business relationships on a wider geographical scale than sometimes possible.

I have to say how well NRG are looked after at Ashas Restaurant. Several people commented that "the food is fabulous", and the great thing with Indian cuisine is that vegetarians are so well catered for, although it can be a bit tricky for nut allergies & dairy intolerance!

Before lunch there were plenty of conversations taking place over the tea & coffee, our several guests being made welcome by our members. One of the things that is really good about NRG advocacy events is the warmth of welcome given by our members to visitors.

Sally Anderson hosted the day - and after her "things that happened on the day" which were Olympic themed - each table host facilitated introductions around their individual tables. After six years I continue to be impressed by the many varied interests our members have outside the work arena. So often, it is these activities that are the "hook" that begins the development of the business relationships that lead to advocacy.

Our Expert Speaker was Lee Clark, m.d of Oaktree Marketing and a member of our Metropolitan Birmingham breakfast group. His topic "BIG Talk v small talk" gave us some very specific tips on both telephone selling and making introductions in selling situations. On the telephone, make sure you have a "smile" in your voice and that you have a purpose - ie what is it you are offering your potential customer? Considering introductions, remember the importance of your handshake - this simple action sends many messages to your potential client. Know the signal that you want to send before you do the action!

At 2.30, nine of the attendees joined Peter Baylis, who facilitated the hour long Mastermind workshop. These sessions give the opportunity to help others,  exchange expertise, test out ideas and generally glean information to help solve issues in a confidential environment. At the same time, because of the nature of the discussion, the workshop acts as a fast-track towards developing relationships.

Often people get confused that attending an event is networking. But its not. Attending an event is simply an activity at the beginning of building relationships.Or, if you're a member, you have already established relationships with fellow members - it is a monthly opportunity to keep the relationship up to date. 

Last week was a terrific example of both of those elements. Thanks to everyone for your contribution to a positive day.

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Trevor Price at 9:52:32, 16 Aug 12
Tags: NRG,Birmingham,Advocacy,relationships,Event,,MIdlands,Mastermind,
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Is your target market market difficult to explain?

Target

In the NRG Business networking System we stress the importance of identifying your target market.

There are two main reasons for this:

1. People can only introduce you to the right people if they know who you want.

2. You can concentrate your networking efforts in building the right relationships.

 

When I ask people to identify their target market a common answer is "I don't really have a target market. I deal with all sorts of different business types and sizes". Most of the time this is simply a misunderstanding of what target market really means. People often think it means a particular type of business in a particular industry. You may have heard the term 'vertical market' from marketing types to describe this. Many small business owners and professionals have a more 'horizontal market' in that they provide services across different industries and business types. Their target market will be defined by the particular need or problem that their customers have.


I spoke with someone last week in this situation. She is a management accountant and works with a diverse group of business owners as clients. The thing they have in common is that they run successful business, but have no real understanding of the financial side of things. This often leads to cash flow problems and short term reactive decision making. She makes sure they adopt systems to give the current financial information about their business. This helps them make the right decisions and plan for the future. These are the things that identify her target market. 


If you struggle to explain your target market then start with your existing clients and see what common needs or problems they have that they engage you to help with. Nigel Temple of the Marketing Compass has a helpful phrase in this regard. He talks about a market segment as being a group of people with shared needs. 

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:47:39, 09 Mar 11
Tags: Target Market,NRG,Referrals,Networking for Advocates
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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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Something to do with those business cards you collected
I was interrupted last week at a networking group meeting by someone who wanted to commend something to the group. Positive interruptions that enhance your message are always very welcome! He said it had been a really useful exercise to go through all the business cards he had collected over a couple years after reading the NRG workbook on developing your business networking plan.

He had separated these cards into the four categories suggested in the workbook. He uses Outlook to manage his contacts so he then created these categories in Outlook. He entered the details of any new contacts into his Outlook Address Book and then put all his contacts into those categories. This means he can now manage the interactions he has with his network more effectively. He can also see, at a glance, who he needs to focus his networking activity with.

The four categories of contacts are your Outer Network, your Resource Network, your Inner Network and your Advocate Network.

Your Outer Network is made up of the people that you have met, but have no real connection with. You don't know what you could do for them, but it is useful to have a record of where and when you met. You paths may well cross again and you make that connection.

Your Resource Network is made up of the people that you have met and you know them well enough to recognise they have a particular skill or offer a valuable service. You don’t want to spend more time in developing a relationship with them, but they are useful to introduce to other contacts when appropriate.

Your Inner Network is made up of the people that you have met, have had some sort of follow up and are building a relationship. They share a similar target market to you and probably provide a service that is complementary to yours. We will call them your Inner Network & it is spending time with these people that starts to make networking really work. One really efficient way of doing this is to ensure you belong to the same networking groups.

Your Advocate Network is the small group of people you would go out of your way to find introductions and referrals for. The people you advocate are the people you have already developed a relationship with and you know, like, rate and trust them. It is spending time doing things for these people where you get the highest networking returns.

Successful networkers have up to 30 people in their Inner Network & about 6 Advocates. Do you know who these people are for you?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:00:00, 06 Jul 10
Tags: Like,Networking for Advocates,Advocate Marketing,Inner Network,Rate,Return on Investment,Advocacy,Building Your Network,Business Networking,Know,Trust,NRG,Referrals,Networking System
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A simple equation for networking successfully
'Can you make networking really simple?' was the headline last week when I wrote about making networking simple. Someone asked me if I could give them a simple equation for successful networkng. Here is what I gave them:
plan + structured approach = successful networking

First of all you need to know what you actually want from your networking. Then you can do the things that will ensure you achieve your goals.

At NRG-networks we encourage people to use the NRG Advocate Marketing System. The 5 simple steps include the essential components in this equation - your plan and a structured approach;

1. Set your networking objectives
2. Identify your target market
3. Develop your proposition
4. Define your inner network
5. Build your advocates

Read more about this business networking system here.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:30:00, 06 Apr 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Advocate Marketing,NRG,Networking System,Advocacy
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Does your website tell us about you or some Corporate We?
In an excellent talk at an NRG networking lunch in London this week Ecademy founder Penny Power was sharing some of the insights from her new book. Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me is all about what online social networking means for you and your business.

One of the points was that building trust is fundamental. Your clients are more interested in the person behind the brand not the brand. One of the mistakes that small businesses make is to try and look bigger and more corporate than they really are. You can see this in many websites which are all about some 'Corporate We'. People are much more interested in YOU than that.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:43:00, 12 Nov 09
Tags: Like,Social Networking,Business Networking,Know,Trust,Social Media,NRG,Online Networking
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Ways of helping your advocates to refer you
I spoke at an event last night about the NRG Networking Advocacy Model*. The model suggests that effective networking is a result of building trusted relationships with your Inner Network. Others that share the same target market as you and provide a complementary service to yours. Over time you will actively refer and introduce some of these as you get to know, like, trust and rate them. Some of these will form your Advocate Network, the small group of people who regularly go out of their way to find introductions and referrals for you.

The speakers at the Referral Institute Conference last week all reinforced this view of networking. Sarah Owen addressed the subject of helping others to advocate you as you advocate them. The very act of advocating someone else is motivation for them, but only if they know! Unless you educate them on this and what you are looking for they will probably miss opportunities.

In your One2One interactions have you made sure they really know what you do and where? Can they pass on why you are good and what you love about your business? Do they know how you want to be promoted and who specifically you want to meet? Is there anything else that would make you stand out?

They may be saying things about you that you could use yourself.

*My previous post 'The Advocacy Model: Develop Advocates' has more detail and links to further posts on this subject.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:38:00, 03 Nov 09
Tags: Like,Business Networking,Know,Business Networking Techniques,Networking for Advocates,Trust,NRG,Referrals,Inner Network
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Beautiful Wife, Marvellous Mother, Loyal Friend
Today I attended the funeral for Susie Sharman, the wife of my colleague Kim Sharman. It was a lovely celebration of Susie's life and her influence on family, friends and others she came into contact with.

She leaves the World a better place as a result of her life and will be buried tomorrow with these words on her headstone:

Beautiful Wife
Marvellous Mother
Loyal Friend

A great way to be remembered and you can read more at www.rosiebear.co.uk

Dave Clarke


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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:54:00, 14 Oct 09
Tags: NRG
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