How To Develop Business Through Networking

Reasons for networking

The first question on the feedback form for visitors to NRG Networking Groups is, what is your primary reason for networking? The number one answer is ‘More Business’ and yet many people have no plan for winning more business through their networking.

In light of this I wrote an 8 blog series on how to develop business through networking as a training aid for members of NRG. If you follow the tips in them you should be able to develop a strategy to make networking work for developing  your business.

Here are the direct links to each of the 8 blog in the series.

1. The NRG Networking Advocacy Model and Your Networking Goals

unlocking Secret

The secret to getting more business through networking is counter intuitive to many people. Read more in this blog to help you understand how networking really works and how the advocacy system can help you achieve your goals.

2. Getting Crystal Clear About Your Target Market

Target Market

The second step to getting more business through networking is to get crystal clear about your target market. This will help you to identify the right people for you to be building your network with.

3. Getting comfortable with the ‘What do You Do’ Question

The Answer

The third step to getting more business through networking is to get clear about your proposition. This is essential so that you leave people with a clear idea of what you really do so they can spot opportunities for you.

4. Identifying The Right People And Where To Meet Them

Dunbar Network

The next steps in getting more business through networking are to identify the right people for your inner network and where to meet them. You also need to consider how many relationships you can manage.

5. Building And Maintaining Business Relationships

Building Relationships

A business relationship is a series of interactions over time like any other one. Building and maintaining these relationships is at the heart of getting more business through networking.

6. The importance of sharing why you do what you do in building advocacy

Know Like Rate Trust

Unless the people in your business network are motivated and know how to to help you then you are never going to make business networking productive. Sharing why you do what you so is vital in this.

7. Motivating your advocates

Missing piece in networking jigsaw

The really successful people in business networking are proactive in finding opportunities to advocate those in their own network and do the things that really motivate others to do things for them.

8. Building a reliable pipeline of business through your advocates

prediction

Through building advocacy with your network you can build a reliable and predictable level of business through referral into your forecasts and projections.

I hope you find these a valuable resource & welcome any feedback you have.

The Importance Of Networking For Your Business

Here is an interview I did with guruview TV on the importance of networking for your business. It’s about 7 minutes long.

Will Blackberry learn the right lessons this week?

Along with many others my Blackberry Internet Service stopped working on Monday this week. I should explain I am a Blackberry fan and I on my 5th model. My kids use 3 of my old Blackberrys too (best not mention the other 1 of the 5, the Storm 2). I hope that Blackberry maker Research in Motion overcomes its current woes and not only survives, but thrives. I am worried, however, and something has to change.

By change I don’t mean the technology. I mean the way they engage and communicate with their audience. During this week’s technical troubles they have appeared to be unresponsive and out of touch. Why did they not use the presence they have developed on the Social Web to keep everyone effected up to date with what was happening? The service outage was bad enough, but to be kept in the dark for so long meant it was so much worse for Blackberry users. On Monday it was very difficult to get any information about what was happening. The RIM News Service for Monday and Tuesday had two updates on each of those days:

Blackberry Service Update 1

As you can see there was not a lot to be gleaned from the updates they did share. Their Twitter accounts and Facebook Page had similar information:

The Blackberry Community Forums and Blackberry Blog had even less!

It took until Wednesday for them to start engaging on Twitter. I had posted this on the Monday:

I got a reply on the Thursday and you can see from the number of retweets that people were desperately searching for information:

On Wednesday I retweeted this from Alistair Campbell.

Simple advice on how this could have been handled so much better. I am sure that RIM had all hands to the pump to resolve the technical issues. I am sure they care passionately about the service they provide so why wait for 4 days to say so. Why did they not have people replying to every tweet, post, comment and blog until the service was back?

This morning the UK Managing Director, Stephen Bates, was interviewed on BBC Breakfast TV. When he was asked about compensation for users for the 3 day outage he looked like a politician trained to avoid answering any difficult questions. It was the same closed approach again. Why not just say they will sort it as a matter of urgency with the Mobile Operators and Service Providers?

It looks like they still have a way to go to really engage and be open with their audience. I really do hope they learn and get it right.

In Business the Law of Averages is not always Common Sense

Many business owners seem to think that they will get an average,
or “their fair share of business” in a local area.

Relying on this alone does not make sense.

In a recent NRG business networking seminar I attended,
the presenter was Chris Bose of Inpress PR.
He spoke about the operation of Power Laws with Internet Traffic.
Whether on the Internet as a whole or in specific niches,
the dominant players get nearly all the traffic.

So in business it pays to define a niche and then dominate that niche.
Not to rely on the law of averages.

Doing the right thing and measuring the result

I attended a seminar a couple of weeks ago at the Reading NRG Business Networking Group. It was presented by Phil Parr of the branding agency, twentyfive, on the subject of business to business branding.

One of the points he made was about the importance of constantly measuring the results of your branding activities.  He also stressed that the key to measurement is that it tracks the effectiveness of activities and does not become an end in itself. He quoted an old proverb to illustrate the point.

“you can’t fatten a pig by weighing it”

He is absolutely right about the common sense of measuring, and also right to warn about the dangers of becoming obsessed with that alone. I am sure can all think of business & government examples of the latter.

Back to the future

In my business networking blog entry, Reputation, Friends & Generosity, I mentioned a seminar presented by Nancy Williams of Tiger Two on online reputation management.
The last of her 13 top tips was about good old fashioned customer service. Getting back to the past as she put it.

It makes common sense for any business to practice the things she highlighted:
1. Listen to your customers
2. Provide the best value you can
3. Go the extra mile
4. Maintain flexibility & innovation
5. Focus on the people who matter
6. Give help & advice when needed
7. Develop a reputation
It helps you with that good old fashioned ‘Word of Mouth’

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