Book Interview: Networking Survival Guide by Richard White

May 6, 2011 by

I was recently fortunate enough to read a copy of Richard White’s new book ‘Networking Survival Guide’ and thoroughly enjoyed it, as someone who shies away from physical networking this book quashed a lot of fears. It’s very well written, easy to read, and a book you don’t want to put down once you’ve started it.

It does expect you to do some background work, but to be honest, you should know the answer to these questions anyway. By following the step by step advice it will not only take the fear out of networking, it will ensure that you’re not that person every one avoids at networking meetings, but rather one that every one wants to talk to.

I’ve always been a fan of Richard’s writing, his blog posts often feel as though they were written just for me, and this book is no exception. By following his advice you will notice a huge improvement in both your business and your networking confidence, buying this book is one of the best investments you will make this year.

Congratulations on your new book, I really enjoyed reading it.  Who would you say this book was written for?

The main focus originally was for people who regularly attend networking meetings and yet are not getting any results or want better results. I did not really have people new to business and networking in mind but have had lots of positive feedback from newbies too.

The book offers some excellent advice for first time networkers.  What would your advice be to someone who is nervous about attending their first networking event?

I used to be incredibly nervous attending networking meetings. I would advise going to a facilitated networking meeting like the ones run by NRG Networks. I would also advise to focus on making connections rather than promoting your products and services. Spend your whole time asking people about their business and people will take a bigger interest in you.

There are good reasons for going to networking meetings but if you hate that kind of thing then there are ways to win business from networking without ever having to attend a networking meeting. For example, meet people you know for coffee and get them to introduce you to people they know. One way I do this is by holding Curry Nights. Agree a date with your friend at a local restaurant and then between you invite up to 8 other people – ideally each of you invite 4 people that the other person does not know.

The objective is to expand your network of people who would be happy to help you in some way. Some may become clients but I am more interested in them sending me clients.

Which is your favourite section in the book and why?

That is a hard one! There is not much fat in the book. I have made it as easy-to-read as possible. I guess my two favourite chapters are  Chapters 4 and 7. Chapter 4 looks at Customer Archetypes and buying motivation. Chapter 6 looks at constructing stories that generate sales leads. Telling stories is nothing new. Many people tell stories but when they follow the structure in chapter 6 they get a much better result. The truth is, however, that stories on their own will not help you if you do not understand your target audience and you do not make it easy for people to help you.

In the book you refer to case studies, how important do you think these are?

I am not a big fan of case studies – they tend to be boring. I recommend success stories which are incredibly powerful. I learnt my technique from a top IBM salesman. I just made it so that they are easy to create and are very natural. Its as easy as telling a friend what you did at the weekend. Your stories should not, however, be about what YOU did for your clients. They should be about why your client started to do business with you. You should be homing in on the problems they had at the time and the result they got from working with you.

It is still possible to create success stories if you do not have any clients, especially if your business is related in some way to what you did as an employee or perhaps voluntary work you may have done.

If you could ‘network’ with anyone at all who would you choose to meet and why?

I specialise in working with IT support people and IT consultants so it would be someone who has really good relationships with them and would be in a position to recommend my services to them. For example, software companies that partner with third party consultants. When they encourage IT consultants to work with me they end up selling more licenses and it does not cost them anything!

Richard is very kindly giving a large chunk of his book on business networking away for free – just visit his Accidental Salesman website today.



Richard White is a sales coach and trainer for small and medium sized technology companies. He specialises in enabling clients win more business from large companies through effective networking. Richard is a sought after speaker on the subject areas of business networking and sales communication.


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