The Network better programme is for business people who need to raise their game in business networking and referral marketing.
It starts from the common complaint, “OK. I’m doing what you told me. How come it isn’t working?” In other words, it isn’t that the participants need to be taught from scratch (they know in theory what to do), but they need to understand why they are not helping themselves network better.
This is not an academic subject and the programme needs participants to regularly attend networking events during the programme and report back in class. This feedback process is an essential part of the programme. All the evidence shows that new learning is embedded successfully when the individual has insight into what’s going on. We’ll do our best to help attenders find appropriate events.
The programme is currently run for client organisations in house. The programme is in up to ten half day modules. These can be run weekly, fortnightly or monthly. They can be run in pairs, two in one day per month, say. Additional group sessions can be provided. Additional one to one sessions can also be provided. The specific content of a Network better programme is always determined by the particular needs of the client organisation.
In addition to attending networking events, participants will also have homework which, as the programme unfolds, will become a full referral marketing plan.
The programme sets a number of themes running and revisits them from module to module. The themes are described below. Note, it is not one theme per module! It covers:
First, and it is necessary to say this, each businessperson needs to be completely clear about the answers to these questions. If you are clear about them, you’ll be able to talk easily about your business, when you need to. If you’re not clear, you’ll come over as vague and unsure―because that’s what you’ll be.
It’s recommended that, again, you are very clear about this. The products and services you promote through referral marketing may not be all that you could offer or do offer. Likewise, you may be (should be) working to a specific target market.
The problem is that many business people, scared they might lose a single lead, will effectively say, “I can do anything for anybody”. This is of no use to the recipient who is none the wiser as to whether you can help them or their contacts. It is better to say “I specialise in helping IT companies that are stressed”, because inevitably someone will say, “We’re not an IT company, but we are stressed…” or “We’re in IT. We’re not stressed, but…”. (This is true example.)
It’s often said that “businesses are just people”. I think that
businesses are just the relationships between people.
Get business relationships right and the business will thrive. And that’s not just relationships with clients. It’s everybody and, in particular, people who might become clients and people who know possible clients. In other words, people you meet at networking events. Conversely…
It is a revelation to many people that all their relationships follow the same pattern as everybody else’s relationships. This applies as much to business as it applies in our personal lives, in sport, religion or the scouts.
The stages of a business relationship model is vital when, for some ‘mysterious’ reason, a business relationship is not going as well as it should be. This is the heart of the programme. Understand this and be able to apply it and, arguably, you can probably improvise the rest! And improve your personal relationships into the bargain.
[This subject is addressed in more detail in a separate emotional intelligence at work course.]
> Stages of a work relationship
No fewer than three models:
Students will be asked to start work on their contact lists, selecting people for their suitability in the above categories, with the aim of finding people with whom, potentially, to develop referral relationships. This can be time consuming if you have a few thousand contacts, and most of this work will have to be done between sessions.
> Build relationships that last [external link]
> Who to focus on when networking: connectors, mavens and ‘salesmen’
Again, it needs stating: if you aren’t clear what your purpose is in doing something, it is unlikely you’ll do it well. If you have multiple purposes, you will literally be at cross purposes and will make little headway.
> Purpose and outcomes
We don’t just do stuff all day. The behaviour cycle model explains how all our behaviours are driven by: our emotions and feelings; our thoughts and beliefs; and by the complex interaction of all of these. Ignore this model, and the behaviour is compromised, perhaps massively so.
> The behaviour cycle
Once a participant has gone to the first network event of the programme, they can discuss their progress with the class. Other attenders will be able to comment based on their own experiences. The aim is to be as supportive as possible so that the student not only gains confidence but also rapidly becomes one of the best networkers in his or her group.
> How to choose a regular business networking event
The objective of the Network better programme is for each participant to have a small number of business relationships (no more than eight and, in the first instance, just a couple) which deliver warm leads periodically. For this to happen, not only have the right people to be identified, but the relationship has to be developed in a way which enables it to thrive. None of this is difficult, but it does require thought and application.
Along with the stages of a business relationship model, stories make up the most important part of the programme.
The difference between a warm lead and a referral may sometimes be slight. However, the key aspect of a referral is that, if I refer my contact X to you, you can be confident that I will have explained to X why he or she should talk to you. X will ask to become your client more because of what I have said to them (because X trusts me) than due to anything you might say (because at the time you meet X neither of you know each other).
A characteristic of a referral relationship is that it is mutual. Although I have had business relationships with people who didn’t ask for anything in return from me, most people would like a referral in return and will be more motivated to give referrals to you if they have something back.
Every session starts with a review of attenders’ activities since last time. How did it go? What did you learn that others might find helpful?, What did you learn? and so on.
Each session includes a recap of material from previous sessions, as requested by the students, or suggested by the trainer.
Every session ends with a review of the session, and the setting of homework.
> “OK. I’m doing what you told me. How come it isn’t working?”
© 2018 Jeremy Marchant . uploaded 5/6 july 2017, last edited 27 february 2018 . image Free images
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