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Business Networking Blog

You are currently filtering blogs by the tag Word of Mouth. To view all blogs click here

Flipping the marketing funnel

Last week I attended a Google for Work event, 'Reimagining fast growth'. Google were presenting research commissioned from Deloitte on how the cloud enables rapid growth in SMBs (small and medium sized businesses). Not surprisingly the research found that the fastest growing small businesses make extensive use of cloud technologies. You can find the research report at this link.


In addition to Google and Deloitte were speakers with real life experience of starting and growing businesses. Their stories brought the ideas to life.







I really liked the way that Peter Briffett, COO of Yplan, spoke about flipping the marketing funnel. In the past people looked at marketing as a funnel with lots of prospects in at the top with the aim of customers dropping out at the bottom. He said now you have to focus on each customer and deliver something good they are compelled to share.flipped funnel


As Peter said, "There is nothing more meaningful than friends talking to friends".


It's worth remembering that because it's at the heart of effective business networking.



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 17:19:17, 29 Sep 14
Tags: Business Networking,Word of Mouth,friends in business
45341 Views 0 Comments

How Word of Mouth Really Spreads

Less than 3 weeks ago my daughter, Emily, started a petition on Change.Org to free Meriam Ibrahim who has been imprisoned in Sudan after being sentenced to flogging and death unless she recants her Christian faith*. She was 8 months pregnant when she was arrested and has now given birth to a baby girl who is with her in prison along with her two-year-old son.


Today that petition has more than 750,000 signatures and Emily has been interviewed on local and national radio, written about in the press and mentioned on TV in this country and others including on the other side of the world in Australia.


Once she had set up the petition she sent messages to politicians, celebrities, journalists and business leaders, but none of them replied (until the petition was much bigger!) so that wasn't the way this spread.


How, then, did she get so many people to sign?


Read on below the picture.


She shared the petition with friends and family and asked them to share and support it. Unlike the 'names' her friends and family shared it and supported it and they asked their friends and family to do the same. Guess what? They did too and after 24 hours more than 5,000 had signed. After 2 days it was over 75,000 and that increased to 225,000 on day 6. You get the picture.


She didn't stop there though. She re-shared it with new information and ideas and again asked people to do the same. Some people will have missed it first time and some may have felt more aligned with one particular message or other.


It's a great example of how Word of Mouth really spreads. It's not about celebrity endorsement or people with a huge Twitter following, it's about engaging the people who know you best and then them doing the same.


This graphic from the Change.Org website illustrates it well:


Multiply Your Impact from Change.Org


The lesson for networking is to create something compelling in your business and to engage with the people who know you best by sharing stories that demonstrate the difference you are making and can make to others like them. You need to do this consistently with the people who know you best and ask them to share that with the people they know well.


Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


* Meriam is the daughter of a Christian woman and Muslim man. She was raised Christian after her father left. Sudanese law mandates that children born to Muslim fathers are considered Muslim so she was charged with adultery on the grounds that her marriage to a Christian man from South Sudan is considered void under Shari’a law, for which the penalty is flogging. She’s also charged with apostasy, or abandonment of religion, for which the penalty is death.


In the last few days there have been conflicting reports about Meriam being released from the Sudanese Government and her representatives so keep the pressure on and please keep signing and sharing the petition at http://j.mp/saveMYI




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 9:53:59, 03 Jun 14
Tags: Word of Mouth,Business Networking
39439 Views 2 Comments

The Science of Persuasion And Business Networking

Many of the posts in this blog are about how you go about building a business network and motivating the people in that network to help you achieve your goals. The NRG Advocacy Model* helps you to take a strategic and scientific approach to this. In 'Networking and The Psychology of Persuasion' I wrote about the lessons for networking from the leading text book on the science of persuasion by Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin.


This excellent short animated video about the ideas in the book help explain some more about the science behind this approach.


*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 21:19:09, 01 Jul 13
Tags: Business Networking,Research,Word of Mouth,Advocacy,Influence,Science,Persuasion
38217 Views 0 Comments

Do you have enough real conversation?

ConversationWe have been having a good discussion in the NRG Group on Linkedin recently on combining offline and online networking. I find online networks a great way to keep in touch with my real life connections in between the times we meet. They help to strengthen these relationships, to follow up and generally to support my offline networking. Sometimes, though, the online can get in the way of our real life interactions. Have you ever been in a situation where someone is not paying real attention to a conversation, because they are checking their messages at the same time? Sometimes I have to make a concerted effort to stop doing that myself.


A recent article in The New York Times described this 'Flight From Conversation'. It is written by Sherry Turkle who is a psychologist and professor at M.I.T. She is also the author, most recently, of “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.”


The article is worth a read and includes this sage advice, "We are tempted to think that our little 'sips' of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, all of these have their places — in politics, commerce, romance and friendship. But no matter how valuable, they do not substitute for conversation."


We build our networks of close relationships over time through a series of interactions. It is through our conversations that we really get to know each other and how we can help each other. These conversations are vital to building the depth of relationships that make us effective at building our business through word of mouth.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:04:51, 02 May 12
Tags: Conversation,relationships,Business Networking,Word of Mouth
29438 Views 0 Comments

Networking and The Psychology of Persuasion

InfluenceAdvice on successful networking for building business through word of mouth has tended to be anecdotal and based on the opinion of people sharing what works for them. This was one of the reasons for the research we did into efective networking some years ago. We wanted to find the science behind it and that led to us developing the NRG Advocacy Model. The model is all about building your influence within your business network by developing trusted relationships with others who will be motivated to help you.


A basic understanding of how people are influenced is useful when applying this advocacy model to your networking. The leading text book on the psychology of persuasion is 'Influence: Science and Practice' by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini. In the book he examines the key ways people are influenced. The six are Reciprocity, Commitment & Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity.


Many of the activities you need to undertake for building Word of Mouth through networking are under the heading of Reciprocity. Whatever it is that you want from your network then you need to be doing it for others first. The NRG Advocacy Model is all about developing business relationships to the point where you are regularly getting new opportunities, support, relevant information, the right introductions, testimonials and unqualified referrals. For people to be doing that for you means you probably need to take the lead in doing that for them.


In the course of doing that you get to demonstrate the other key ways of building your influence. You demonstrate commitment and consistency by regularly doing the stuff you say you will do. You get commitment from others by always being clear about what you want. You provide social proof to others by working this way and by introducing them to other people you do business with. It makes sense to build relationships with people you like as per the old phrase "people do business with people they know, like and trust". By being clear about your your target market and proposition and sharing your stories you build your reputation as THE expert in your niche. When someone comes across a problem that you can solve your authority and scarcity are demonstrated when your contact says, "I will introduce you to ...... They really are the best for this!"


Do you have a plan yet for building your influence and route to market through your network?


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:51:01, 29 Mar 12
Tags: Trust,Influence,Word of Mouth,Research,Business Networking
38698 Views 2 Comments

The Real Reason You Need to Meet in Person

TrustI read a good article recently on the importance of meeting offline from René Siegel. It was featured on Inc.Com and headlined '5 Reasons You Need to Meet in Person'. She highlighted the kinds of things you learn from an in person meeting that you can’t from a virtual or online one.


When you meet in person your communication involves much more than the words exchanged. Your eyes and body language reveal much more than words on a screen. The real reason to meet in person is because this is so important in building trust.


Most Word of Mouth influence takes place offline and trust is at the heart of this. To be effective in your business networking you need others to be your Word of Mouth Advocates. That involves building relationships with people who trust you enough to refer and recommend you. Trusting others enough to refer and recommend them often comes first. These relationships are built by real life two way interaction. They start with conversations which involve as much listening as talking. They grow by agreeing to do things, following up on these commitments and reviewing things. They continue to grow by agreeing to do more, following up on these commitments and reviewing regularly. Online communication has a part to play, but offline is where you really get to do this and build trust.


Are you spending enough time meeting in person with the right people for your business networking to be effective?


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 18:50:36, 20 Mar 12
Tags: Business Networking,Offline,In Person,Word of Mouth,Trust,Face to face
29468 Views 1 Comments

Are you spending too much time online?

Keller Fay Clout Chart

The recent article from Keller Fay 'Clout in the Real World' reveals how 90% of Word of Mouth Influence takes place offline. The picture above show a nice summary of this (click on the pictire for a larger version). The article explains how influence tools like Klout only measures influence online and do not take account of where most influence really takes place which is offline. The article also refers to academic research on how people communicate differently online and offline.


The conclusions in the article give some important lessons if you are keen to grow your business through business networking to generate Word of Mouth.


Influence is not driven by people with large numbers of Twitter followers or Facebook friends it is driven by the conversations that people have with their friends.


People also communicate differently online and offline. The research reveals that the drivers for online word of mouth are 1. Social, 2. Functional and 3. Emotional. The reverse is true in offline word of mouth where conversations are personal and intimate and the emotional drive is most important. People share emotions like excitement and satisfaction. In order to encourage conversations like that for you then you need to be engaging and sharing stories offline.


Online is important, but should not be at the expense of the offline interactions you need to have.


How much time do you spend online and offline and do you have the balance right?


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:28:48, 14 Mar 12
Tags: Research,Word of Mouth,Business Networking,Social Networking
35772 Views 0 Comments

The best way to follow up

Ways to Follow UpThere has been a good discussion on the best way to follow up with a new networking contact in the NRG Linkedin Group. The discussion was started by this question from Jo Smyth, "What's the best way to follow up with a potentially good, new contact - phone, email, text? And how long do you leave it before you get in touch? I always opt for email but I'd like other's views."


There is some great advice amongst the comments so it is well worth a read here if you have a few minutes. The consensus was that there are many ways of communicating, and you should be guided by the preferences of your contact. The other important point that came out is that you should agree at the initial meeting how and when you will be following up.


Follow up really is the key to building relationships with others and so is vital to the success of your business networking activity. Those that get the best results are proactive in their follow up with others. They use time at the regular group meetings to agree follow up activities with the people they meet. They invest time in getting to know, like, & trust them. They connect them with the things they need to know and the people they need to know to help them achieve their busines objectives. These are the things that you need to do to motivate others to reciprocate. You only get to know about these by communicating and spending time with them.


In this short podcast I explain more on the importance of follow up and share some simple tips on how to get into the habit of following up.


You can listen to it in less then 3 minutes here:


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:11:01, 02 Mar 12
Tags: Trust,Word of Mouth,Follow up,Networking Relationships,Business Networking
34993 Views 2 Comments

How Small Groups of Friends Are Key to Influence

GroupedThis week I have enjoyed listening to the audio version of the new book from Facebook researcher, Paul Adams. Entitled 'Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends Are the Key to Influence on the Social Web' the book explains how influence really works in Social Networks. It does this in a simple and effective way and as this review from Brilliant Noise explains the book also "... adds a great deal of depth, effectively collating and structuring a mass of academic research on social media, networks and influence more broadly."


This explanation of how influence really works backed up with solid evidence is essential for understanding 'Word of Mouth' and therefore how you win business through networking. I have written before in 'The Networking Numbers Myth' about some of the ideas covered by this book in explaining how networking really works in business.


People often think business networking is about constantly meeting as many new people as possible. Influence is not built in this way. Influence, advocacy and positive word of mouth are built by investing time in building relationships and making the right friends in business. It is these small groups of friends that get you access to the people you want to do business with.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 19:34:24, 15 Dec 11
Tags: Word of Mouth,Social Networking,Business Networking
28667 Views 0 Comments

The Networking Numbers Myth

speed networkingI attended an event last week which had some 'speed' networking during the day. The host introduced this 'networking' by saying each of us present knew a few hundred people. He went on to say that this amounted to thousands of possible new opportunites by meeting six people for a couple of minutes.


This is wrong on a number of levels. It takes no account of how business networking really works and it exaggerates the number of people we actually know.


You need to know, like, rate and trust someone before you recommend them to someone else. The same is true before someone will go out of their way to recommend you. It happens after you have put real effort into building a relationship first. It is very unlikely that you will find enough in common with more than one out of the five mentioned above to be even interested in finding out more. Finding that one person is valuable, but highly unlikely to generate a quick return and certainly not the thousands of opportunities promised.


I wrote about the number of people we actually know in a recent post on the 'Real Value of Online Networks'. The Social Scientist, Robin Dunbar, has demonstrated that human beings can only maintain stable social relationships with about 150 people. These relationships will be spread over a number of different real life social networks so that your close business network for recommending people from will be much smaller than 150.


You can be known to more people and be acquainted with more, but for someone to know you well enough to recommend you then you need to be in that 150.


The real value of the speed networking was for finding opportunities with them for introducing my existing network!


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:38:38, 13 Jul 11
Tags: Word of Mouth,Dunbar Number,Social Networking,business networking tips
39831 Views 3 Comments


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