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Business Networking Blog

Take a different approach to networking

New ideaThis is a guest blog from Jeremy Marchant on taking a different approach to Business Networking. Jeremy is a long standing member of NRG and his approach is very much in line with the NRG Advocacy Model*. You can find out more about Jeremy at this link to his website, Emotional Intelligence at Work.





Take a different approach to networking, by Jeremy Marchant


Many people misunderstand the purpose of a networking event. It isn’t to get customers, or even leads. It certainly isn’t to ‘sell to the room’.


We believe the purpose of a networking event is to find out how you can help other people (and to then help them). Givers gain, as one networking organisation puts it.


Many business people do not attend networking events. This can be for a variety of reasons


They don’t need to. They have enough clients already.


They believe it doesn’t work.


They believe they can’t do it.


They believe they will be embarrassed.


In truth, many people who do go to networking events go to them with the wrong approach. We know of one businesswoman who joined a networking club and attended an event each month for a year. After that, she stopped. ‘How come?’, we asked. ‘Because I didn’t get any clients’. ‘How many one to ones did you have?’, we asked. ‘None’, she said.


Frankly, this is not at all surprising. Very few people will go to an event with the intention of giving business to someone they don’t know. This person needed to hold as many one to ones as time permitted. She needed other people in the group to know – and understand – what she did, so that they could identify her as a good person for their contacts to know when those contacts had specific problems she could help with.


She also needed the right people in the group to know. You go to the networking event to find the right people to have one to ones with. You hold the one to ones so these people can find out what you do.


But you also hold the one to ones so that you can find out how you can help them. Arguably that’s even more important. Most people will help someone who has helped them – and help willingly given is far more effective than help which is demanded. So one criterion for assessing who the right people are to hold one to ones with is the extent to which you can help them.


People who don’t need networking because they have enough clients need to be confident that this isn’t a short term ‘hand to mouth’ situation. The term ‘business development’ these days is being used to mean ‘sales’, yet, in truth, sales can only ever be a short term tactical activity – that’s its whole rationale. The development of a business can only be strategic. Strategic means of getting clients include active advocacy and referral relationships, we argue.


People who believe they can’t do it, or that networking doesn’t work (usually the same belief), probably need to improve their game – and maybe go to networking events which are empathetic to the ideas set out above.


People who believe they’ll be embarrassed are probably right – but in the immortal words of Susan Jeffers, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. They won’t be embarrassed the second or any later time.



*For more on how you can use the NRG advocacy model to take your networking to another level read How To Win More Business Through Networking.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:54:56, 20 May 13
Tags: Business Networking,Givers Gain,
17759 Views 0 Comments

Resilience & Agility In Business

resilience and agilityI have been invited to speak this month at the Pitch Perfect Club on Resilience & Agility in Business. The event takes place in London on the 23rd May. It has got me thinking Resilience & Agility In Business and stories to illustrate that.


One of the major reasons for taking my first 'proper' job was the conference they had planned in Tenerife two weeks after starting. The other reason was the professional sales training programme they would put me through. The job was as a salesperson for the Loctite Corporation's new UK Consumer Division launched to capitalise on the success of their Superglue product. After the conference and a mix of classroom and on the job training I was handed my car, the tools of the job and a map of my sales territory.


I learned a lot about life in general and business in particular during my 5 years with Loctite where I finished up managing National Retail Accounts. The first thing I learned was resilience and how to pick yourself up time and time again after a less than positive sales call. I guess the picking yourself up was relearned as, after all, I'd successfully learned to walk many years ago! I learned that resilience came from developing a reason for why I was doing the job, how to enjoy it and from viewing any rejection as a rejection of me in my role and not as something personal.


The second thing I learned was the benefit of speed & agility. Part of the job entailed efficient journey planning and working to an agreed plan. I soon discovered that the flexibility to break away from that plan could bring unexpected rewards and bonuses. Part of my job involved selling to new and different outlets and on a number of occasions I found myself selling to one retailer who turned out to be part of a franchise or regional chain and an immediate diversion to a head office or other outlets would increase a sale exponentially.


I have subsequently incorporated strategies for developing resilience and agility in a number of start-up small businesses including one where the result was a successful referral to both the BBC and Turner Broadcasting from a division of Vodafone.


Lessons for Business Networking


When you build relationships with people in business through networking you are looking for those who will be your advocates*. You increase your attraction if people get a sense that you know where you are going, you make a real difference and you enjoy what you do. All of these are things also help build your resilience for the inevitable challenges you will face in business.


The speed with which you follow up and the agility you demonstrate in finding ways to support your network will also help others to advocate you when opportunities present themselves.


*For more on growing an advocate network take a look at the resources in How To Win More Business Through Networking.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by at 16:35:44, 03 May 13
Tags: Advocacy,Business Networking,business,agility,resilience
23706 Views 0 Comments

The Time It Takes To Win Business From Networking

ActionYou don't get fit by joining a gym. You get fit by working out a programme to get fit and then following that programme. That may involve joing a gym. It's the same with networking. You don't get business by joining a networking group. You develop business through proactively building you network in the right way with the right people.That may involve joining a networking group.


A frequent question from the guests I speak to at NRG Networking Events is, "How long does it take to get business from this?"


The answer is that if all you do is passively attend the events then it could be a long time. If, on the other hand, you are meeting the right people and you make a point of following up and building your Advocacy Network in the right way then you can start winning business straight away.*


As Woody Allen famously said, "80% of success is showing up". The rest is in the follow up.


*For more on building the right network take a look at the resources in How To Win More Business Through Networking.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 19:01:13, 03 Apr 13
Tags: Business Networking,Advocacy
20128 Views 1 Comments

Networking And The Business Model Canvas

Business Model GenerationI enjoyed a presentation from Alex Osterwalder, co-author of Business Model Generation, at Campus London last week. Alex spoke about Business Model Mechanics and how better business models out-compete a focus on products and technology. This video is a good introduction to the tool he has developed, The Business Model Canvas.



There are nine key areas on the canvas:

1. Key Partners

2. Key Activities

3. Key Resources

4. Value Proposition

5. Customer Relationships

6. Channels

7. Customer Segments

8. Cost Structure

9. Revenue Streams


The key partnerships section of the canvas shows you the importance of building a strong network for both business support and business development. A quick run through the canvas can also identify other areas for collaboration or outsourcing. It can be a great tool for helping you focus on your networking goals.


Networking is all about building strong relationships with the right people for you and your business. A strong network is important for both generating business and for supporting you in being able to deliver your core business.


For more on building the right network take a look at the resources in How To Win More Business Through Networking.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:46:21, 06 Mar 13
Tags: Business Networking,Key Partnerships,Business Model Canvas
18563 Views 1 Comments

How Large Does Your Network Need To Be?

Linkedin 2nd and 3rd Degree ConectionsIn a recent article 'How Large Is Your Network? The Power of 2nd and 3rd Degree Connections' Linkedin founder Reid Hoffman compared the number of relationships you can manage in your network with the number of pictures you can store on a camera memory card. Neither is infinite and you have a limited capacity for the number of stable relationships you can manage just as a memory card can store fewer high quality images than low quality ones. Success in business networking comes from managing a good network of 1st level connections who can introduce you to their connections as and when required.


In the article which is well worth a read Hoffman refers to the Dunbar number which I have written about before. Dunbar has demonstrated that you can only maintain a certain number of relationships and this probably means that the more relationships you try and maintain directly the less effective your networking will be.


You may be tempted to interact equally with your close and extended networks. but you need to prioritise. If you want to generate more business through recommendation you are more effective by maintaining close relationships with a smaller number who have access to and influence with the people you want to do business with. Your ultimate business support network is probably just a handful of people that you interact with on a daily and weekly basis. It is through nurturing the relationships with them that they will recommend and introduce you to the people you want to meet.


Good networking!

Dave Clarke



Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:25:18, 14 Feb 13
Tags: Business Networking,dunbar,Linkedin
18505 Views 1 Comments

Entrepreneur, freelancer or something else?

PuzzledIf you are self employed or running your own business how do you describe your position to other people?


You will be described with different labels by your accountant, your bank manager or others marketing products and services to you. These labels include things like 'Owner Manager', 'Freelancer', 'Entrepeneur', 'Independent Professional'.


In the NRG Linkedin Group We've been having an interesting discussion on what people like you are comfortable with and what are the differences between each of these labels. You can follow the discussion at http://lnkd.in/_Nu9Wd.


A number of points have emerged in the discussion. If you work on your own then you are probably a freelancer or independent professional. Even if you run a business on your own it may well be that you are effectively creating your own job and the business would not exist without you.


If you employ people then you may or may not be an entrepreneur. There is some agreement that the title entrepreneur is misused, and should be used when you are building a business that will scale and make a difference.


There is a big difference between working on your own and owning and building a business employing others. You may well not be concerned about it, but consider what Chris Kenber said in the discussion, " It (what you call yourself) matters a lot because the title determines your view of your world and what aspirations you have. If you're not clear about this yourself - you should be!"


Add your thoughts in the comments here or over in the Linkedin discussion.


Good networking!

Dave Clarke



Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:59:20, 25 Jan 13
Tags: Business Development,business,Entrepreneur,freelancer
15359 Views 1 Comments

Simple Habits For Business Networking Success

TargetsDuring some research I was doing for a mastermind session on goals and resolutions I found an interesting article entitled 'The last damn thing you’ll ever need to read about New Year’s Resolutions'. The main point was that goals or resolutions on their own do not work. You need to focus on what you are trying to achieve and break that down into a plan. This needs small steps that you can make into habits. Your new habits need to be small things that you can do when you already do something else.


The article included this short presentation from BJ Fogg of Stanford University which shows you how to create these habits.



So how would this work with business networking?


You may have a goal to get more referrals from your network. Setting that as a resolution without a plan and some actions is not going to work. You probably need to interact with some people a whole lot more than you do today. One way to achieve this could be to do more follow up 121 meetings after your regular networking group meetings. If you are not doing this already then it can be difficult to start. You need to find a way of easily doing this within your current regime. You could start by setting yourself a goal to do one such meeting after each networking group meeting. You may have to create some new habits to do this. You will know what will work for you, but this could be something like;


1. When you put the group meeting in your diary put in a time for a 121.

2. Get a list of the people in the group and phone one at a convenient time each day. Perhaps when you are going to have a coffee break. Make the coffee your reward for making the call.


Good networking!

Dave Clarke



Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:43:32, 15 Jan 13
Tags: Business Networking. Goals,Targets,Resolutions,Habits,Advocacy
17924 Views 0 Comments

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
25768 Views 0 Comments

Linkedin Endorsements And Business Relationships

EndorseLinkedin recently introduced a new 'Endorsements' feature. This is different to the 'Recommendations' feature which still remains and is something you can do quickly and easily. Many business owners have used Linkedin to connect to people and are not really using it as a powerful tool for interacting with these connections. You can now endorse the people in your network for their skills and expertise as a simple way of doing more.


Business relationships are built by a series of interactions over time and networks like Linkedin give you tools to interact in between the times you meet. Helping others meet their business goals motivates others to do the same for you so why not get in the habit of endorsing the people within your network that you rate. You'll be helping them and others will endorse you for the skills and expertise you promote.


Take a look at this brief presentation from Linkedin on how the Endorsement Feature works.


As you endorse people then you will also get more visitors to your profile so take advanatage of the new facility to embed presentations and videos on your profile. You can see where I have added these in the Background Section of my profile on Linkedin in this screenshot below:

Dave Clarke Linkedin Profile Screenshot


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke



Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:26:47, 17 Dec 12
Tags: Business Networking,Linkedin,Social Networking,Endorsements,Advocacy
17867 Views 1 Comments

Finding The Time For Social Networking

Time Management

"How do you find the time for Linkedin, Google+, Twitter, Facebook etc." is a frequent question from people trying to develop business through business networking.


A common perception is that using social media is another thing to do in an already overcrowded schedule.


I believe that online networks and social media give us some great tools for keeping in touch and organising our networks and they do not have to add to your workload. I explain how I manage it in this video interview with Bob Barker.





Any questions please ask.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke



Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:08:36, 28 Nov 12
Tags: Social Media,Social Networking,Advocacy,Business Networking
15158 Views 1 Comments


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