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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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Business Networking Blog

You are currently filtering blogs by the tag Marketing. To view all blogs click here

Marketing Through Communities

In this guest blog Nigel Temple shares his expertise on marketing through communities. 

 


Marketing Through Communities 

Marketing through communities - Nigel temple

Established communities can provide you with numerous networking opportunities – if you take the right approach.

 

What are your objectives?

Begin by thinking about your marketing objectives. For example, is brand awareness important to you? If it is, then you may wish to consider sponsoring community events or a community website (or part thereof). This can be remarkably inexpensive.

 

Alternatively, are you trying to find customers ‘within the room’ or introducers (i.e. bank managers and accountants, in the case of an IFA). If so, then you will have to ‘show up’ on a regular basis.

 

Think about your target market segments. The communities you decide to join should either include members of these segments or people who can reach and influence them. Your choices will be guided by your business model and whether you are trying to reach business people or consumers.

 

Choose the right communities

Communities come in many different forms. Online examples include LinkedIn and Facebook. Locally, there are business groups such as The FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) and Chambers of Commerce. There are professional and industry groups and networking organisations such as NRG Business Networks. In addition, there are lobbying, special interest groups and local groups within towns and cities.

 

By the way, direct selling within communities is always seen as a bad thing. The best approach is to take your time and build relationships. Remember that community members will talk about you – so it is important to act with integrity at all times.

 

Social skills

Be helpful and don’t worry if your acts of kindness don’t appear to generate direct results (as you can’t hear the positive word of mouth which you are generating).

 

Position yourself as an expert

Once you are established within a community, look for opportunities to demonstrate your expertise. Depending on the nature of the community, these might include giving talks, writing articles and blogs and providing professional advice. Your objective is to become known as the go-to person within your field and to become a thought leader.

 

Multiple touch points

Once you have connected with someone within one community, connect with them elsewhere, in order to create multiple touch points. For example, look them up on LinkedIn and put in a connection request.

 

Networking professionals

Find the ‘professional networkers’ who can introduce you to relevant contacts. This type of person always shows up, typically has a huge number of contacts and wants to help. Phone them and / or offer to meet.

 

Create your own network?

Nigel TempleFinally, it may be worthwhile for you to create your own network. I have done this and it is called The Marketing Compass, a community of business owners who want to learn about marketing. We have our own social media website www.marketingcompass.co.uk where members ask marketing questions. This approach is not for the faint hearted! However, it will help you to stand out from the crowd.

 

Nigel Temple

 

Nigel is a long time supporter of NRG and is a marketing consultant, speaker and author. He is the Founder of The Marketing Compass, which provides impartial marketing advice and direction to thousands of business owners.

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:04:18, 02 Jul 14
Tags: Marketing,nigel temple,marketing compass,communities
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What your clients really buy

What do you really do?In 'How to answer the hardest networking question' I wrote about how to answer confidently when someone asks you that simple question, "what do you do?"

 

One of the best things you can do when trying to answer a question like that is to put yourself into the mind of your client. When they buy you or your service what are they really buying?

 

For example, at NRG we run facilitated networking and mastermind groups for Business Owners and Professionals. For larger firms we run 'in house' programmes to strengthen their business relationships with current and former clients. However, that is not what people buy. What they buy is a solution to their problem of getting more word of mouth and recommended business.

 

In this short podcast I talk about some more examples to give you a a further insight into what your business does and what your clients really buy.

 

Invest 3 minutes in listening here:

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

      

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:54:42, 29 Sep 11
Tags: business networking tips,Niche,Target Market,Marketing
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The best way to reach new people

Business RelationshipsThe chances are that at some stage in your business you will want to find new people as clients.

 

If you are a small business providing high value specialist or professional services this can be quite a challenge.

 

Many small firms attempt to address this challenge by investing large sums of money and time in trying to reach this new audience directly. They will try and craft the perfect message and use tactics such as email campaigns, search engine optimisation, or cold calling. The main problem with most of this activity is that it leads to one brief interaction and then nothing. The campaigns that do work are based on building a relationship rather than getting one message across.

 

The more service based you are the harder it is for this sort of approach to work. Very few small organisations have the resources of the very large ones who spend millions on building a trusted brand.

 

So how do you reach new people?

 

When I ask people where they get the best new business from the answer is nearly always 'word of mouth' or 'recommendation'. The best way to reach new people is to do things that generate more 'word of mouth' and 'recommendation'.

 

The chances are that you already know most of the people you need to know to get introduced to enough new people. Invest your time and money in strengthening your ties with your network rather than with strangers.

 

Even if you use other marketing tactics to reach new people your word of mouth networking is still important. Before someone buys your services they will invariably speak to someone else first.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 14:57:45, 03 May 11
Tags: Business Development,Marketing,Networking for Advocates
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Think of networking as a system & not an event

I was at an event recently where someone said that the owners of small businesses often operate a really unstructured approach to marketing. This is often an irregular series of one off initiatives in relation to short term needs. The problem with this approach is that each new activity takes a lot of effort and does not build on the things that have been done before. It leads to a lot of wasted time and frustration.

 

Many business owners and professionals adopt a similar approach to networking. Attending loads of events when new business is needed with infrequent activity when they are busy. Both marketing and networking are much more productive when done systematically.

 

Instead of networking like crazy when you need something adopt a simple, straightforward, systematic approach. This means building your network rather than meeting lots of people infrequently. Take the time to build the right relationships with the right people for you and your business. Then take the time to understand what they need and help them achieve it. Don't forget to let them know what you need and how they can help you. This approach means you can invest your time effectively at fewer events and leave more time to doing what you really enjoy and get paid to do.

 

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:30:37, 05 Jan 11
Tags: Advocacy,Business Networking,Marketing,Networking System,Networking Tips
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Are you networking with the right people?
In 'The circles (no more strangers)' Seth Godin writes "It's so tempting to seek out more strangers." He makes the point that trying to reach strangers is expensive and you may very well upset your true fans. He uses an excellent graphic (shown to the right here) to illustrate his point that delighting and overwhelming your true fans is a better strategy than chasing after strangers.

Many business people and professionals give in to this temptation and concentrate their marketing efforts on strangers. Building word of mouth from the people they already know can be neglected and their behaviour in networking can be similar. Their networking is all about finding and connecting directly with the people they don't know.

The key to successful networking is to take the opposite view. Instead of looking for strangers it is about building strong relationships where you get to know, like, rate and trust each other. Instead of spending time with people you don't know try investing quality time in building the right relationships. I think it is worth repeating what I wrote last week in 'How Networking Really Works. A small number of people you get to know really really well can give you access to all the new people you want to meet.

Effective networking is about support and sharing knowledge and finding advocates who recommend and refer you. Good networking groups provide the environment for you to strengthen existing relationships & build new ones. It is much easier and more enjoyable to develop your business in an environment like that.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke

Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 18 May 10
Tags: Like,Business Networking,Know,Word of Mouth,Marketing,Advocate Marketing,Trust,Rate
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Is this the most important thing in marketing?
In a discussion on following up in the NRG-networks Linkedin Group yesterday Helen Dowling of 'Exceptional Thinking' shared that she thought that following up is "the most important marketing technique you can do".

She certainly has a point about the importance of following up. My experience of marketing in general and networking in particular is that following up is the activity that really makes the difference. There is very little point in attending lots of events, delivering your pitch, chatting briefly with many different people and collecting boxes full of business cards you do nothing with.

You don't build profitable business relationships by hardly getting to know lots of different people!

You build those relationships by finding the real points of connection and then following up with different interactions over time. That includes regular participation in your networking group, follow up emails, follow up phone calls, follow up on Social Networks and most importantly of all, follow up 121 meetings.

In other words take the lead and become one of the proactive few. It is after all the first habit of highly effective people.*

*Read more on Stephen Covey's 7 habits in my article - Applying the 7 habits to your business networking.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 06 May 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Marketing,Networking Follow Up,Business Development,Networking Tips,7 habits
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Another big lesson from the General Election
On Tuesday this week I spoke at a Marketing Masterclass in Newbury about 'How Business Networking Really Works'. Two of the other speakers, Nigel Morgan and Karen Chapple presented about the growing importance of Social Media. Karen shared the news that Google now has a Social Tab on its default search page in the US.

We had a big lesson in the UK yesterday on the power of Social Media. I wrote yesterday in 'Another Lesson from the General Election' about the off camera remarks from Gordon Brown that were picked up on microphone.

The speed at which this spread across the world should leave you in no doubt about the power of Social Media. It was a little ironic that Andy Lopata wrote about 'Whatever happened to the Social Media Election' yesterday morning where he included this rather prescient comment:

"Don't underestimate the power of a politician's gaffe during the closing days of the election to have a much bigger impact than ever before. Thanks to social media any slip up can be both shared globally and repeated ad nauseam irrespective of how many people witness it in person. The news media pick the stories up and run with them as people share them on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube."

If you are still wondering about whether Social Media is right for you and your business you should heed what Nigel and Karen said on Tuesday "If you do not have a Social Media presence you need to do something about that right now..."

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:08:00, 29 Apr 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Marketing,Social Media
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Networking and the 4 Ps of Marketing
In a presentation last week from Gill Hunt of Skillfair I was reminded of the 4 Ps of Marketing - product, price, placement, promotion. In traditional marketing these are taught as the four elements essential to get right in any marketing. The world has changed with the Internet, but they can provide a useful checklist to help in our networking.

Promotion is often the initial driver for a business owner or professional to start 'formal networking'. This can lead to too much emphasis initially on trying to sell to the people you meet. You quickly learn that networking is about building relationships with others in similar markets to you - your 'Inner Network'. The best way to get your network to promote or advocate you is to get in the habit of advocating them first.

The other 3 Ps are useful in working out where to network and who with. Where to find the people who will become part of your Inner Network. If your product is providing a solution to a business problem then you can work out the places you should be networking. It is in those groups where the other members provide similar value (price) services to yours. They should be working regularly with the types of businesses you work with.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking tips
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:35:00, 23 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Marketing
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How much should you give away?
In Nigel Temple's excellent Internet Marketing Masterclass yesterday there was a discussion about how much of your knowledge you should give away. A few years ago I sat in discussions where people argued that you should give nothing away. Yesterday most people were happy with the notion of giving away about 20%, but holding back the rest to charge for. It's the old 'Sprat to catch a mackerel' notion.

Most of us, however, are unhappy when we feel someone is holding something back. It gets in the way of building relationships. If you want people to refer you or do business with you that might be a problem!

The World has been changed forever with this thing called the Internet. Most knowledge is now freely available somewhere if you search for it. Some people will pay for your knowledge, but mainly they will pay for the the value you add.

Consider this statement from someone who is very successful in developing his business with networking. This was part of his response to the NRG research into business networking:

"I do not do any cold calling. All my business comes from networking and referrals. Networking is not about selling, it's about building relationships.

Much of the business is a result of doing a presentation where I share ALL my secrets so people know how to do what I do.

Mostly, they prefer to ask me to do it for them. Even though I've explained how they can do it for themselves!


Nigel was a living example of this in his Masterclass yesterday. The only thing the people attending were really paying for was the cost of the room for a few hours. He was then giving away his knowledge freely for a couple of hours.

Some of those people are now paying for his help to implement the stuff!

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking tips
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:13:00, 11 Mar 10
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Marketing,Networking Tips
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Does Your Selling have the Partnership approach?
Many business owners and professionals are strangers to the world of selling and can run into problems with a misunderstanding of the approach required. Richard White's The Accidental Salesman® is often a very apt description. Successful selling is not about being pushy and looking to 'close' everyone you meet. The best networkers are very clear about what they do and for who - their target market. They are friendly, helpful and constantly looking for opportunities to connect their network with people, knowledge & opportunities. They also understand that people will buy from them when they are good and ready and adopt the same approach of helping and educating prospects.

I attended an excellent Client Attraction Techniques Masterclass from Small Business Marketing Expert Nigel Temple yesterday. I am sure Nigel's stuff will inspire a good few blogs in the days ahead. He touched on the psychology behind the new sales & marketing several times. A powerful illustration was the experience of shopping at the John Lewis Partnership. The Sales Assistants there are truly deserving of that 'assistant' title. They are`there to assist us in making an informed buying choice. Always ready to answer questions and leaving us with the decision at all times. They understand something I learned from a Sandler trainer about Newton's Third Law and the way it also applies in selling. The law of reciprocal actions states, 'To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions'. If you try and push someone to buy something they will push back. I know what my reaction is when I get pounced on as I walk through a shop door.

Nigel suggested spending some time in John Lewis watching them in action. Not a bad idea if you have the time.

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 9:43:00, 18 Nov 09
Tags: Business Networking,Target Market,Marketing,Selling
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