I first met Ian Middleton at the NRG Metropolitan Group in the West End of London. When I asked him what he was looking for he said
"I can’t sell what I do at network meetings."
Earlier this week he offered to update his story and here it is in his words.
"I had gone to lots of networking meetings and they had just not worked for me. 'They' try to sell to me (I always politely let them go first) and then I try to sell to them (strangely nothing happens).
Well that was how networking was for me and I have been a network tart – trust me.
Then I found something else. Actually I was introduced to it by someone I consider a very good friend (Phil Parr). 'Come to my meeting he said, 'you will need to get up at 03:30 but it will be worth it'.
'It' was NRG, the London Metropolitan meeting to be exact (and I am based in Worcestershire). I worked out the NRG stood for Networking Regional Groups – WRONG AGAIN.
At the meeting, which was smaller than my usual meeting but with some top quality people, no one sold at me, and I did not sell back. They actually seemed to want to help me, but it was just before Christmas (2008).
A certain Dave Clarke was there (if you have not met Dave you need to) and he followed up with some enlightening emails on how to build a network, an inner network, advocates etc. I needed the information so much that I thought he could read my mind and was specifically sending the emails only to me.
I realised very quickly at that point that I had found something I needed and for the first time in my networking career I was right. Dave and other members of NRG helped me sort out my offering, my target market and my business.
I now have some real friends and advocates in NRG. I do as much as I can to help them and strangely it is reciprocated. I have had referrals out of meeting I have not even been at. They said it takes time to build such a network and it did but it has worked. I spend less time networking than ever and get more business than ever.
In fact, as I write this100% of my active clients have been referred in one way or other through NRG.
Thanks to you, Ian, for being willing to learn and share.