I get asked this all the time and much like “What are the best modern ways of marketing?” there’s never an easy answer.
I was given recently given a book by John Brandler whom I met at a “hidden networking” event that my “competitors” never attend. They’re the best for me.
John is an art consultant and we had both, independently, decided to dip our toes into a network that was off the beaten track. The book is a great guide to fusing new & old techniques to help businesses gain new clients. This post is about why some networks remain hidden, connecting with the gems and how what you are “known for” can help you meet the right people.
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Hidden networks – why do they hide?
It could be because 25% of people polled didn’t like being “sold to” at events. My mate tweeted “the other 75% are too polite to admit it”. There are loads of invitation only events in and around London. I’m not talking about the events where they say it is invitation only and then you find that you can go as long as you bring someone else or pay a fee.
This is one example where the chairman likes to vet people before they arrive. This makes a lot of sense. There are so many supposedly similar networking groups it makes sense to protect the brand to avoid being tarnished with the same brush as “speed networking”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. No particular sector is excluded. Giving them a feel for the brand before an event gives visitors an inkling of the etiquette of a new group.
Joining the dots – with relish
John Brandler and I met a couple of times and we’ve connected each other to relevant contacts. We had already shared a cuppa or two when we found ourselves in the restaurant in Selfridges one day – a totally random meeting. We were there to meet other people yet had a quick chat and John asked me if I’d heard about the book. I told him I hadn’t yet was really interested and a week later it turned up in the post. John’s brand went up in my estimation that day and I felt I owed him one so I’ve invited to him to a workshop as a thank you.
I’ve also contacted the authors, the book is called Fusion, connected with them on twitter, facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve added the book to my reading list on LinkedIn and had a meeting to see how we can help each other or work together. I’m also talking about their book here so there’s a potential audience of millions that will hear about it. I’m not saying this so I can get free books so please don’t send me any. It’s what I do when I connect with an exceptional theory, idea or explanation. I enjoy doing all this because it enables us to continue the conversation we started in our meeting.
Connecting and polishing the gems
The gentleman who took me to the “hidden networking” to meet John for the first time is Michael McQuade a surveyor (with a real specialism in party wall disputes) whom I met at a breakfast network in Kensington. Michael is Irish and a very good man. We got on well and were keen to explore our respective specialisms. So we scheduled a meeting and he invited me to a discreet event. How were we to know when we first met that he went to school with my cousin in the deepest countryside in Eire? We know what we do and have a good reason to help each other.
Networking will unearth hidden gems that you have things in common with. By sharing contacts, ideas and embracing at least one form of social media you can get your name out there and reach people who you have no chance of reaching by other means. Michael and I had no idea at the time that it would lead to me writing a review of someone else’s book. And I know who to call when a particular surveying specialism is required.
Wrap up: The people you meet know other people. They will connect you as soon as they know who they should be connecting you to and the all important “why should they?” Believe me when I tell you it’s not money.
Top tip: Err, read the book. I’m not on any commission yet I think it’s unique and doesn’t just regurgitate stuff that has been said before.
You might want to consider if “Fusing” is right for your clients and I picked up a few gems that I will comment on in the New Year. My aim is to show you how you can link them to your networking efforts. I’m always looking for new ways to make this easy for my contacts and this book helped me do that.
New for 2012. The questions I get asked virtually every week are going to be answered in videos, interviews and vlogs. The one in this title is the most common. Watch this space for FAQ’s and answers.
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