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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

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Get A Better Return On Your Networking

ReturnWould you like your networking to produce a reliable and predictable return for you efforts? 


I meet many business owners and professionals who go out networking to get more business by recommendation or referral. When I ask if they would like more they generally say yes. If I ask them how they go about systematically generating more business the question gets more difficult to answer.


If you want a return you have to invest first. Networking has costs associated, but the biggest investment you make is time. The biggest problem for a lot of people is that they are spending time rather than investing time. If you attend a lot of networking events, but don't follow up and build relationships you are getting to know very little about lots of people. That isn't investing time.


In NRG Business Networks I receive referrals from people that I meet regularly and have built relationships with. In addition to that I also have a number of referral partnerships where we regularly meet to swap referrals with each other. This didn't happen accidentally, it was a result of investing my time and doing the right things with the right people. It's an approach I have used in all of my past and current businesses. I had a clear idea of my target market and worked out who else operated in that market. I then set about investing time and attention in developing relationships with those people through relevant networking groups, one to one interactions and giving help and support. Over time we recommended each other more often and now do this in a structured way. 


If you would like to understand more about how to invest your networking time and get a better return visit this link to my 8 blog series on How To Win More Business Through Networking


Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:13:19, 04 Mar 14
Tags: Business Networking,Referrals,Networking Groups,Advocacy
36656 Views 0 Comments

Are You Asking Yourself The Right Question?

Question MarkWhen considering a networking group people often ask themselves, "Is the group right for me?" and "Will the group work for me ?"


My experience is that if a group is well led and made up of the right people then you will be effective if you do the right things and don't wait for things to happen. You need to have the wherewithal to do what is necessary to make the others in the group like, trust, and rate you enough to look out for opportunities to refer and help you.*


So you need to flip the question around and ask yourself,


"Am I right for the group and will I commit to do what is necessary to make it work?"


Good Networking!


*For more on what you need to do to make your networking effective read How To Win More Business Through Networking.


Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:51:23, 31 Jan 14
Tags: Business Networking,Networking Groups,Advocacy
28003 Views 0 Comments

Influence: How to Steal a March on Your Competitor

ChoiceIn How To Punch Above Your Weight In Business Bob Hayward shared the 7 principles he uses to win business with larger companies and organisations. Often against competition from larger consultancies like Accenture and the like. Bob expands on one of his principles here with this guest blog on the psychology of influence. 




Influence: How to Steal the March on Your Competitors by Bob Hayward


In his book, Blink!, Malcolm Gladwell refers to something that you do every day. It’s called “thin slicing”, and it’s that instantaneous decision you make about something else based on the flimsiest of evidence. You catch a glimpse, and you draw a conclusion. You get a whiff, and that reminds you of an entire meal.


But in every case, you make a judgement based on a small part of the whole. And that’s because you’ve learned what to expect. Daniel Kahneman* refers to this as fast thinking – deciding to do something automatically, without feeling the need to mull over it. It’s important that you recognize not only that decisions are made like this, but also to use it to win large contracts.


How can you persuade anyone to buy your products or services without them having to think much about it?


How can you influence them to choose you over someone else?


The answer is that it’s all in how you present your proposal. There are several steps that are necessary to do this. Get these right, and you’re practically assured of success. Get them wrong, and you might as well take the rest of the day off.


Consider four straight forward steps.


1. Liking

2. Social Proof

3. Contrast

4. Scarcity


1. The first thing you need to do is to make the most of the small talk. This is your chance to “break the ice” – “build rapport” and pleasantries can do just that because during the small talk you can demonstrate common ground or similar interests. Your primary goal is to get them to consider you as similar to them in some way, as like them. Robert Cialdini** refers to this as ‘Liking’. When people like you, then it’s entirely normal for them to trust you, and to consider buying from you.


2. The next step is ‘social proof’. This is where the bigger companies sometime have the advantage. The sheer weight of their reputation, (not to mention their burly consultants), and vast range of projects give them ‘authority’ on a grand scale. This is where your client list is wheeled out. In most cases, just by having worked with X,Y or Z, you look more like a viable option. This, too, increases trust. Give two or three verbal case study examples of people or companies, a before and after story. Make them as relevant as possible so they can sense someone else in their exact same shoes, with a very similar situation made a decision in your favour and benefitted well from it.


3. The next step is contrast. Here you compare the benefits of what you can do to your competitors. There will be aspect of your proposal which will be the same as that of your competitors and there will be aspects where you differ. Here is where you need to position yourself as an expert whose strengths more closely match the needs of your prospect and add significantly more value with much less risk. Remember the fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain so not only do you need to be the best option you also have to be the safest option.


4. Even if the consider you as ‘like them’ – even if three other clients had exactly the same problem as them and now thanks to you are living on cloud nine – even if there is a massive return on their investment and zero risk you may still need to provide another reason for your prospect to buy. And that is scarcity.


This widget is only available from you, or only available at this price in this form for today, some aspect has to be ‘scarce’. Find one key aspect to tip the scales in your favour right now. The qualifier is that they must decide quickly, otherwise you will be too busy later. Quite often, a little urgency is all it takes to get prospects to make a decision, provided that you’ve effectively implemented the other steps.


Then you can ask for the order.


If your prospects like you, recognise your authority, see the relevance of your client case studies, accept that you are better positioned to solve their problem than your competitors, and feel the need to use you as soon as possible, then you’ll win the business.


But, if you get any of these steps wrong, then you’ll disrupt their thin slicing and force them into slow thinking. They’ll have to concentrate on what you’ve said, and then discuss their options with other decision makers. The longer this process goes on, the less likely it will be that you’ll win the business.


Instead of stealing the march, you’ll be lucky to keep up.


* Kahneman, Daniel. Of 2 Minds: How Fast and Slow Thinking Shape Perception and Choice.

** Cialdini, Robert. Influence: The Power of Persuasion

Further reading:

Granger, Russell. The 7 Triggers to Yes!



Thanks again to Bob for sharing those insights and you can read more from him in his blog.


For more on influence see The Science of Persuasion And Business Networking which includes a short video on the Science of Persuasion.


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:15:32, 25 Sep 13
Tags: Business Networking,Advocacy,Collaboration,Influence
33505 Views 0 Comments

How To Punch Above Your Weight In Business

Punching above your weight in businessOne of the things that directors and partners of small or micro businesses often say to me is that they would like more business with larger companies and organisations. At the NRG Lunch in London on Tuesday Bob Hayward gave a talk on how he as a one man business regularly wins contracts against competition from Accenture and the like through networking and collaboration. In this guest blog Bob shares the 7 principles he uses.






How To Punch Above Your Weight In Business by Bob Hayward


Big companies have a track record for clinching the big deals.


They have a strong selling proposition, they are seen as the safe bet and a huge network from which they can draw a team of people that can deliver real value.


But, what about the little guy?


What if it’s just you?


How can you win the big contracts?


Here are the seven principles that you need to follow.


1. You must offer unique value.


You must think like your prospect: If you have 10 proposals in front of you, how will you decide which one to choose?


One of the key factors will be how they differ.


If nine of them are the same, which one are you likely to spend the most time evaluating?


The tenth one.


And the same thing is true here.


You have to make sure that there is clear, blue water between your proposal and the ones your competitors submit.


2. Develop relationships with your connections.


Since the advent of social media, the be-all and end-all has been to build vast networks with thousands of connections.


Connecting is an essential first step because it establishes a mutually beneficial relationship with a number of people.


However, you have to put in the time and effort to develop those connections, and to do that, you have to add value to them first.


An easy way to give value to those in your network is to refer business to them. And that means you have to get to know them first.


3. Form a team from your network of those you can trust for advice and cooperation.


John Donne said that “No man (or woman) is an island.”


That is more true now than it was in his day.


No one, not even you, is indestructible; and none of us can know everything.


A team of people who will tell you what you need to hear and who will collaborate with you is an invaluable asset. The big boys do this particularly well. Often the people they put on a job are not employees; rather they are associates – self-employed one-man-bands.


That means that sole proprietors like you can beat them at their own game.


4. Make a persuasive presentation.


This may sound obvious. On the other hand, how often have you experienced “death by PowerPoint”? And how often have you come across bland proposal documents?


It still happens, and all too often.


Ensure that you’re well-prepared.


You’ll only get one chance.


Invest in yourself. Enroll in the best persuasion and presentation training you can find. You will be rewarded many times over.


5. Connect with the decision-maker on a personal level.


The most important thing you can do is to make it easy for him or her to like you personally.


Doing so will make everything that you have to say easier to accept and will add credibility to you and your ideas.


6. Demonstrate your commitment.


Gamblers let their desire for gain override their fear of risk.


Business-men and women are just the opposite.


You can instill their confidence in you by removing any risk they feel.


When you pitch for a big contract, your prospect needs to know that you will give everything you have; not just everything you can.


7. Some people energize, some drain. You do either one or the other.


That means that if you’re not giving, then you’re taking.


Your energy and enthusiasm has to carry both you and them over the line; you won’t get the contract unless they feel that there is something different about you.


If you want to punch above your weight, then you must be able to deliver value in a different way to the big boys.


And you can do that by showing your prospects that you can give them what no one else can: a unique idea delivered through a team of top quality professionals who know the client better than anyone, who have more energy than the competition and who demonstrate a greater commitment to exceptional value with very low risk.



Thanks to Bob Hayward, himself a ‘one-man-band’,  for that sage advice. Bob has won several mult-million pound contracts from global blue chip companies. The seven key principles have been a consistent part of those success stories. He has promised to expand on some of his principles in future guest blogs. Until then ...


Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke


Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 15:00:22, 31 Jul 13
Tags: Collaboration,Advocacy,buisness networking
21189 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
39679 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
42233 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: Advocacy,Business Networking
34756 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
32991 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
31114 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: Business Networking,Advocacy,Social Networking,Social Media
29010 Views 0 Comments


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