Networking – Severn Valley Business Group
 

Tag: Networking

Networking, A Duffer’s Guide

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This is my first ever blog, having learnt how to tweet, now it is time to discover how to blog!

This week it was my turn to give the presentation, the subject was:

 Networking, A Duffer’s Guide

We started with a discussion of the various types of networking our businesses are involved with.

It was decided that there were many types of “networking” that we are involved with, including:

  • Formal breakfast type meetings
  • Seminar and training meetings
  • Membership of trade organisations and professional bodies
  • Social and sports meetings
  • Circumstantial meetings (school playground meetings)
  • Online and social media
  • Volunteering
  • Going to the pub
  • Recommendations from past clients
  • Corporate events
  • Providing talks

It was felt that many people are put off the more formal types of networking by the fear of the hard sell that can be involved with some groups.  As a group we felt that real networking is about building networks with people rather than selling to people.  We concluded that the most important things are:

  • Trust
  • Communication
  • Bringing people together
  • Networking works better for small businesses
  • It must work both ways
  • Providing good advice

We then had a discussion on the best way to make introductions at large networking events and came to the conclusion that going to events with people you know, so you can make introductions.

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Business Networking has its rogues too!

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Dodgy

Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Business networking generally has a good press, but it seems that some people are using it to exploit others as the following missive from one of the cash flow funders we deal with highlights.

Fraudsters are using a new scam to target small firms with established finance facilities, according to Ashley Business Finance.

The company is warning others to beware after two of its small business clients lost over  £100,000 between them.

In both cases, which involved firms in Wigan and Manchester, the fraudsters met their victims at networking groups. They posed as genuine businessmen who had clinched a major order from a big company which they were unable to fulfill themselves and offered a share of the profits in return for help to buy stock.

Jonathan Cranston, chairman of Ashley Business Finance, said the losses could have been much greater and believes there may be many more similar cases which have not yet come to light.

He said: “In both these cases the fraudsters had infiltrated networking groups, where people tend to assume they are dealing with bona fide businesses.

“They then cleverly use the conversation to identify firms with access to established factoring or invoice finance facilities, and claim to have won a big contract which they are unable to fund themselves. They persuade victims to buy stock and invoice them for it and, to build confidence, may even pay the first invoice.

“These are highly sophisticated fraudsters who catch people off guard, come up with a plausible story and even provide a viable paper trail using the names of real companies and directors who are unaware of what is happening. However frauds such as these can be devastating for small firms.

“We are advising businesses to beware of deals which may appear too good to be true, check out the companies concerned and never offer to let others take advantage of their finance facility, no matter how good the deal seems.”

Both cases were reported to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting service.

It all comes to, in the end, that if something seems too good to be true it probably is, and if the opportunity is a legitimate one, even the most awkward of lenders would be prepared to listen and help them.  Jonathan was more than happy for me to share this with you as these con artists are becoming more resourceful every day.

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Making the most of your testimonials

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We all know that recommendations are the best form of obtaining new business, that’s why we work so hard to obtain them. But how do our potential clients know we have them? What methods can we use to inform them?

Word of mouth is by far the most effective at getting results. However, you are not in control. You are at the mercy of the people recommending you and who can be sure they will remember you at the crucial time.

So, in order to to widen it’s reach, we ask them for a written testimonial as well, We can then become more targeted. These can be uploaded on the web via your web site or social networks as well as attached to literature or emails. They offer some endorsement to what you do, helping to boost confidence in both you and your business.

However, do people believe them? You may be an upstanding member of the Community, who would not dream of inventing a testimonial, unfortunately there are others who are not.

There is however another way! It is more believable and is now easier than ever to get in front of the client. It will easily sit on your web site, attach as a link to emails, and social networking sites. It’s called a video testimonial and thanks to You Tube is now accessible to everyone.

This is why at DAP we have developed a system to offer video testimonials, our experience in photography video and marketing combine to offer the perfect video testimonial, and because they are aimed at SME they are affordable too.

What makes a video testimonial work?

  • They should be short and to the point no more than 2 mins. “We don’t want people nodding off.”
  • They should contain important facts such as results, savings made or business growth. These grab attention.
  • Whilst I believe they should not be scripted they should be planned. This will keep people on track.
  • Finally, they need to be believable but look professional.

Example of a video testimonial from Video testimonial example

 

If you would like to find out more about video testimonials and how they could help your business grow, visit Worcestershire Video Testimonials or contact us at DAP 07803 048540 or email at info@douglasandersonphotography.co.uk

 

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