Sussex Business Networking – Does it work for Martin Riley Leadership & Business Development
Date: 5 December 2015
Emma Pearce interviews Martin Riley at Martin Riley Leadership & Business Development (www.martin-riley.co.uk) about the benefits of networking in Sussex and what opportunities it brings to his business.
(This is part 2 of a series of 4 interviews in Emma’s monthly networking column in the Platinum Business Magazine).
Emma: What networks do you attend?
Martin: I try to attend at least one event a month. During a marketing drive, or if I’m not working at capacity, that can increase to over four a month. I attend local Chambers’ events or any other business group event like Curry Clubs. I’ve been a member of ProfitNet, Business Cornerstones and BNI over time.
Emma: How important is networking in your marketing? What are your objectives for networking?
Martin: Networking is central to my marketing. As a business coach, my core market is local businesses – so it’s essential to meet and get to know the local business community. My primary objective is literally ‘to network’, ie to get to know people, what they do – and help put the right people together. I’m always interested in who solves what – and why.
Emma: Do you utilise other marketing opportunities via the networks you attend?
Martin: I’ve run taster sessions and workshops through a number of business groups. I enjoy presenting and public speaking. If done well it builds profile and credibility – and has often produced contacts and clients as a result.
Emma: Do you prefer a particular format of networking event? (eg lock-outs and structured meetings vs mingling and chatting?)
Martin: In my opinion, BNI style lock-outs and referral networks are great to get started. They’re much more focused on this goal. In the long term, I believe that the highest value and ‘best fit’ contacts evolve more naturally over time. But both routes work!
Emma: What success do you have with networking? How long did it take to get benefits from it? Any top tips?
Martin: I was lucky, my first ever networking meeting produced my first local client – so then I was hooked. However, I’ve also seen people network avidly – and without success. When this occurs, there’s often a mis-match with how they appear and what they sell. If it’s selling financial advice, they have to look successful; plumbing, you need to look clean and professional (how the plumbing result should look).
Emma: Any other bonus benefits of networking?
Martin: Profile, credibility, useful contacts, partners and suppliers, grapevine opportunities, developing friendships, fun events, good food, wine, beer and curry!
Has networking worked for you? I’d love to hear – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why not read our other networking blogs…