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Become the person that everyone wants to do business with & climb the corporate ladder

BMG provides an overview of the proven principles and good business practice as well as summarises the most popular networking strategies.

We outline the venues and places where networking takes place and the techniques needed to exploit this to its fullest.

Introduction - Word of Mouth

As individuals and businesses constantly compete with new and established competitors, it is essential that they display their differences to enhance their status. The influence of word of mouth from individuals in a business network is crucial with regard not only to sales but in order to climb the corporate ladder.

Business Networking

This term is used to describe an exchange of information, inspirational thoughts and contacts between business people to generate new business leads.  Most businesses should network constantly and in fact anyone who is selling a product or commodity or has a service to offer really should be doing this in order to stay ahead of the game.  

The power of business networking means that the overall cost of sales is reduced significantly when compared to cold calling.  Networking through business will also provide younger entrepreneurs with the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of older ones, and understand management challenges and issues faced by business owners in their field.

Business networking organisations are mostly informal and non-sales orientated, hosted by impartial organisers who arrange the venue and speaker. The networking industry helps break down the barriers of communication making it easier for strangers to unite to form business relationships.  These meetings provide an impartial environment to acquire useful contacts, build reliable relationships whilst making new acquaintances and hopefully life long friends.

Power of Referral

The verbal word is a powerful form of business networking from an existing customer to a potential customer who is showing an interest in buying similar products or using similar services.  These personal recommendations reduce the cost of sales significantly, as the new prospect has faith in the person who referred them. The referred potential client is objective and impartial and therefore more trustworthy than a salesman's  sales pitch and will therefore eliminate or reduce the time it takes for small business owners to convince the prospect that they are in fact trustworthy. 

The cost of employing sales staff and the time invested in the marketing process is therefore greatly reduced. Referred prospects contact the small business themselves, armed with the confidence created from the trusted referral.  Therefore, one of the primary objectives of sales managers should be to convince existing customers to refer them to their own business network of friends and colleagues. This is more difficult than it sounds as you will need to actually ask them for a referral, with the confidence that they are already delighted with your products and services.  

Capitalising on Goodwill

This is a vital area of after sales activity. Asking for referrals could be done verbally or more formally using special offer campaigns (discounts on future business in exchange for referrals). Other simpler marketing techniques could be to send your existing clients a corporate gift, at Christmas or on their birthday. Always accompany items of this nature with a personalised note to keep you and your company in the forefront of their mind.

Networking for Recruitment

The cost of finding the right person for a vacancy can be high in recruitment agency fees, advertising and managements time. Using networking is a great source of information regarding possible job vacancies. Some industries have a small number of well-known competitors, where each is known and respected by the other.  It is common for one competitor to try and recruit key people from another.  

Networking Techniques

Creating relationships quickly with people you have only just met, involves good interpersonal skills. You have to be assertive and have the confidence to introduce yourself, explain what you do and how it might help them.

(this is where Adam and his team at BMG come into play to show you exactly how to approach a new prospect and how to steer the conversation along to a desired outcome - Check out BMG Programmes)

More importantly you need to demonstrate some empathy, by taking a genuine interest in them and what their business does, and the possible mutual business benefits of establishing a business relationship. Listening is more important than talking, so try and spend a few minutes with each person at a business event, before excusing yourself to speak to more people.

Time Management

An important skill. The more people you speak to at networking events, the greater chances of your establishing a wider network. There is no real etiquette for networking events, other than using your common sense and adopting a positive sociable attitude. Here at BMG we bridge the gap between you and your perspective clients or counterparts by using various conversational skills (Click on BMG Programmes).  Remember to wear a natural smile and enjoy the occasion. As time is limited event preparation is also an important skill to employ - it is not supposed to be a fun party.  Be prepared with your one minute summary of the key points about what's different about your business and how it could benefit them. List some obvious open ended questions before the event so you're prepared to find out as much information as possible, from as many people as possible.  

Social Events

Many large companies budget for corporate hospitality, orientated around popular sporting events and other social occasions. The main purpose is to build upon an existing customer relationship.  Clients invited to these events sometimes see them as fun and the chance to have a few drinks, a nice lunch and enjoy a sporting or social occasion. However, the organisers and investors of such events are hoping for opportunities to strengthen their business network.

Exclusive Networking Events

This is a formal meeting where only a select number of individuals from a given industry or specialist field are in attendance.  For example our Founder Adam Cumberland was invited to the Hurlingham Club earlier in the year for the Concours D'Elegance which had the worlds finest motor cars in display.  Events of this kind provide individuals with the perfect opportunity to offer advice and guidance (in other words low key self promotion) to other members of the group.  Adam managed to escalate a conversation forward to “working with Bentley” (check out Adam’s blog ‘Being Friendly to Working with Bentley’)
Conferences & Trade Shows

Much networking takes place at regional industry trade shows and business conferences. The exhibitors and sponsors of these events are seeking to capture the attention and contact details of literally hundreds or even thousands of visitors.  Many such events can appear impersonal, way to busy and fast moving.  Exhibitors pay for a stand at trade shows to promote their companies products, programmes and services.  They provide demonstrations and answer questions from prospective customers. Many business cards are exchanged at such events and subsequent lead generation data bases created for follow-up after the event.  BMG were present at the last Property Show at London’s Excel building in the Docklands where we guided two individuals on how to approach and make a lasting connection with potential fellow property investors.

Online Business Meetings

Many business meetings are held remotely, using video-conferencing or tele-conferencing. Many presentations are held live using internet technology and provide a potentially enormous audience, with the ability to listen in or join in with the discussion.  Although this is probably the least effective form of networking, it is the most powerful method of connecting to an unlimited number of people over a wide geographical area.

Please contact our freindly team to discuss how BMG can improve you communication skills:

"I worked with BMG so I could interact better at business functions.  I worked with Adam, Eva and James.  I wanted to improve my face to face communication skills so I could make a better impression on my colleagues and senior partners.  I found the teachings not only enlightening but easy to implement.  The BMG team took me to relevant environments for me to put into practice the skills in real time.  I found it inspiring that Adam and his team could actually walk the walk and interact with potency with truly anyone.  They demonstrated continually how to approach individuals and how to move the conversation along to a desired outcome.  With their guidance, conversational techniques, tips and strategies I found myself expressing more of my true self than ever before whilst simultaneously making those valuable connections.  I am now moving forward in my career and even my wife is enjoying the benefits as she now feels that I am a more open person.  I would recommend the BMG philosophy to anyone looking to sharpen their face to face communication skills no matter what the scenario"

Scott Keeling - New York Banker