Category: Networking

Why should you invite people to networking events?

As the owner of a membership business networking company it could be said that, of course I want members to bring along people who might become members, and that is true. So why should members do this? As a networker we all want to be the person who people come to when they need some product or service, someone who people see as someone who knows people. Why? Because if someone asks me if I know a plumber, they are also going to ask me about my networking if they decide they want to review the networking they do. I recommend all types of networking to all types of people and, while I hope they will choose my company when they decide on a membership type of commitment, I accept that my type of networking, relaxed, informal, but business-focussed with no pressure, is not for everyone. Some people need a formal style and pressure, while others need a less structured approach, to get the most from their networking.

One of my Group Directors (GDs) told me that, when they network outside of ebn, they talk very briefly about their own business and ask instead “What other networking do you do?” This means they get to hear of other networking which they might not know about, and also means that they can talk about ebn and offer an invitation. Why should they do this? Because if the invitation is accepted and the visitor attends, the GD can then talk about their business as part of the meeting and surrounded by people who have used their services and who can recommend them. Since it is always better for others to say good things about your business, rather than you (The “You would say that wouldn’t you” syndrome) the trust is build a little quicker.

Another reason why we should all invite people to good networking events is that this helps build the relationship. If you tell me about an event, I attend and have a productive time there, I think more highly of you, the business relationship becomes stronger and who knows where that might lead for both of our businesses. If we attend a network event together we might spend some time together, particularly if this is a relatively new business relationship, but we shouldn’t stay together. We are there to meet others. It might be that I introduce you to someone with whom there might be a synergy between your businesses. If we find we have lots more to say then we should arrange a date to have a coffee sometime. 

So invite people to good networking events, the organisers will thank you (another benefit) and so might the person you invite.

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun.

What is networking all about?

 

Networking is a means of meeting people and building relationships. Once relationships are strong then work will flow, but remember it is not about what work can be done between the people in front of you…that is probably very little. However none of us live in a bubble, we all know people and we all have customers. It is about who do we know, who do they know, and what work can flow from these connections. That’s what makes networking exciting; as you walk into a networking event you could meet someone who could change your life by the amount of business they give you.

So, is it just about getting business? No it’s not. I believe that ultimately that is what we network for but what we may find:

  • Confidence:  the more you do it the easier it should get, because you will hone your skills and each type of group allows you to hone different skills.
  • Skills:  how to talk to people about your business. Each event will provide different ways of telling people about your business, but in my experience all events include “open networking”.
  • Meeting people who have a wealth of experience in their field. In my experience people are generous with their knowledge. The challenge is always to learn, whilst not expecting people to endlessly give for free. I have found the more referrals I have given the more people are prepared to share their knowledge.
  • A network of people who do things. So if you, or one of your customers or friends, needs a plumber for example,  you will know one. Or you will know someone who knows one, and just think if  you help potential or existing customers  source suppliers what happens when they need what you do? They come to you.
  • Friends. Over the years I have made many friends through networking and attended some good social events…but that is not why I network. Networking is ultimately about getting work.

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun.

Why should you wear a name badge?

At a recent networking event I spoke to someone who said they never wear their name badge, because they thought it made people lazy about remembering names. I always wear a name badge and so I started to think about why I do. There are three main reasons.

The first, and I think the most important, is that I think we all have moments when we can’t remember a person’s name or where they work. A quick glance at a name badge and we relax into the conversation rather than some part of our brain wondering what the missing details are. This means we can concentrate completely on what is being said, and surely that aids communication and building relationships?

The second reason is that people know what to call us. So, we may be a Matthew on our business card because it is company policy, but everyone knows us as Matt. Having a name badge with ‘Matt’ showing gives people permission to call us by the name we are most comfortable with. In a previous career many people called me Glen and, at that time, only my mum called me Glenys. My name badge showed Glen and for me it would have been strange to be called Glenys at work, which is the name I had to use on my business card.

The final reason (and this might just be me) is that my name badge is part of my networking ‘uniform’: professional outfit, business cards and name badge. Ready to go.

So, what do you think? Are you a name badge wearer or not and, whichever camp you stand in, why is that?

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun.

What is a robust networking strategy?

When meeting new members, I always talk to them about my definition of having a robust networking strategy. The first part of this is to actually have a strategy, otherwise how can you know whether what you are doing is worth doing?

For me this kind of strategy includes three types of networking:

  • Type 1: Cheap or free

These are held at various times of the day and may involve you buying a drink, or paying a fee on the door, or may be free because of sponsorship of the event

  • Type 2: Relatively expensive, to very expensive

The type that, if you were to do it every day, or every week, would be an expensive marketing tool. This type is almost always a sit-down meal, perhaps once a month or less frequently, and again may have an element of sponsorship.

  • Type 3: Membership

When I meet someone networking and they say “Oh, I don’t join anything” what I hear is ‘hunter’, and by this, I mean someone who is there only for themselves. Whereas true networking is about building relationships and being part of a give and take environment. Obviously, I would like it to always be that people are members of ebn, but if someone tells me they are a member of another networking company I know that they have made a commitment to a company rather than just going to see what’s in it for them.

Why should there be this mix?

There needs to be a mix of networking types because if you want to meet a wide range of people and companies, and they only go to one type, then you are never going to meet some of them if you only stick to one type.

Whatever you do, review your networking as you would any marketing. I think the review should be based on the question “Is it worth it?” Some people talk about ROI and mean money. For me ROI can also mean learning something that assists my business, meeting someone who becomes a supplier and enables me to get on with my core business and building relationships who support me and my business.

If you want more networking tips sign up at: https://ebn.uk.com

Have fun.

Business Networking

Manners cost nothing

Recently I have been a little irritated when having referred a supplier to a potential customer, I’ve heard nothing about how it all went. So I decided that there are some things I think should always be done when someone introduces you to one of their contacts.

  1. If someone gives you a referral or introduces you to someone follow up the referral or introduction. Otherwise you undermine the reputation of the person who refers you, and, of course, your own.
  2. Say thank you to the person who gave you the referral or made the introduction right away, don’t wait to find out whether work will come from the referral or introduction. A referral does not guarantee that work will happen, but it certainly increases the odds so acknowledge that to the person who made the introduction.
  3. If work does come from the referral or introduction let the person who gave you the referral or made the introduction know, (you don’t have to tell them how much you made).
  4. Ask the person who gave you the referral or introduction how you can help them.

None of it difficult or arduous, but it shows you appreciate someone helping you, it makes sure that they feel valued and, who knows, it may mean more work will come your way.

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun.