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Why Your Pitch At Networking Events May Be Wrong
Recently 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.
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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Networking and The Psychology of Persuasion
Advice 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?
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:51:01, 29 Mar 12
Tags: Trust, Influence, Word of Mouth, Research, Business Networking
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The Real Reason You Need to Meet in Person
I 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?
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
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The best way to follow up
There 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:
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
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Is it really quality or quantity in networking?
I have been involved in a number of discusssions about quality versus quantity in business networking. For many of the people in these discussions this was not the real issue at all. The real issue was that they had not identified how you go about building a business through networking. They were focused on the activity of connecting with people either offline or online with the expectation that somehow business would result.
I met someone last week who said "
I've been doing this networking for a year now, but got nothing out of it." The main problem was that it was a year of attending events and making connnections without investing any time in building relationships.
The 'killer app' in building word of mouth through business networking is trust. If you want someone to recommend you in business they need to trust you. You need to invest time in building a relationship for that to happen. You also need to be doing stuff for other people rather than expecting people to just look out for you. Once you have built your trusted network you have a group of people who are collaborating with each other for the benefit of each others business.
In this short podcast I spoke about some of the confusion around the subject of quantity or quality in networking.
If you have a spare 3 minutes then listen here:
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 16:50:08, 06 Dec 11
Tags: quantity, Trust, quality, Social Networking, Business Networking
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Are you building strong ties with your network?
The quality of your network really matters I wrote about recent research into influencing behaviour through social networks. This research highlighted the importance of building close, strong ties to people in your network.
In his keynote at the F5 Conference earlier this year Malcolm Gladwell is quoted as Saying,
If social media tools are going to make a meaningful commitment to the way our world is run you have to remember to build trust, to build institutions and to build strong ties."
Mark Smiciklas of the
Intersection Marketing Blog regularly produces some great visuals in his articles. Here are the ones he used to illustrate the Malcolm Gladwell quote in his article on Malcolm Gladwell & The Future of Social Media a few months ago.
As I have written before,
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."
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 12:47:14, 05 Jan 11
Tags: Advocacy, Business Networking, Trust, Social Media, Social Networking
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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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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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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 donâ€™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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