In any industry, getting to know others in your field is important. While you may see others as competition, they can also be a valuable source of information and even a way to help generate more leads.
Many contractors work alone or with a small team, so many business owners find it refreshing to connect with others who are doing similar work. After all, networking is all about learning from other pros. If you’re new to networking, here are a few tips to help.
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Networking is relationship building with purpose. While many industries vary, many networking techniques can be utilized across various careers. For a pro, networking can first and foremost be a used to generate more leads. By getting to know other contractors, they are more likely to refer you to a job they may not be able to do or one they need help with.
Networking is also an easy and free way to grow in your profession. With new technologies and techniques changing in construction, having a network of other trusted pros can help if you ever have a question arise. Talking through industry trends and news can help further your education. After all, you can learn something from everyone!
1. Prepare Your Elevator Pitch
Imagine standing in an elevator for a few seconds with someone you know could help further your business. What would you say in such a short time? The opportunity to meet someone who can potentially help your business can happen anywhere and any time. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared with a short pitch to introduce yourself and explain what you do.
Make it memorable. You’ll want to craft a short speech on what makes your business unique. Having an elevator pitch ready is a great way to introduce yourself to others and start a long-lasting business relationship.
2. Participate In Trade Shows & Exhibitions
Another way to get connected with pros in your specialty is through trade shows. These shows debut the best of the industry for anyone in the trade. They last for a few days and usually incorporate a few seminars so attendees can learn the latest best practices. While these events tend to have a broader range of people within the industry attend, they are still a great place to meet and connect with other pros just like you.
3. Always Carry A Business Card
Business cards are a great takeaway for anyone you meet, from a potential customer to a business contact. However, do you carry a few on you? Networking may not always happen at a specialized event. From waiting in line at the grocery store to being introduced through a friend, meeting other pros can happen anywhere. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. A business card will help them contact you in the future and even refer you if they see an opportunity you’re a good fit for.
4. Consider Service Projects
Do you do any volunteer work in your community? Service projects are not only a great way to boost your brand, but that can also connect you with like-minded pros. Even if you’re not in the same trade, you can learn a lot from what they do, and possibly utilize each other’s help on future jobs. Keep an eye out on community bulletin boards or search online to see where you might find projects near you.
5. Join A Trade Organization
One of the best ways to instantly grow your network is through a trade organization. These groups exist to set industry standards, educate and connect pros to others. Often, they have networking events where they encourage contractors to connect. There are many that exist, so be sure to find one that’s specific to your trade and specialty. Keep in mind, many of them have an annual fee and are not free to join. But, it can be a worthwhile investment based on the connections you make.
6. Become A Mentor
We’ve discussed the skilled labor shortage before. Though jobs are available, not enough workers are available to fill them. As someone who has experience in your trade, you can help the next generation of workers by sharing your knowledge. By mentoring, you can teach as well as learn from someone new.
7. Utilize Online Resources
If you don’t have enough time to dedicate to an organization or event, it’s likely you can find time online to connect with other pros. Look for message boards and online groups in your trade to start conversations with other pros. It’s a simple way to chat with other pros on your own time.
8. Don’t Be Afraid To Say Hello
One of the biggest hurdles when networking is actually saying hello. As easy as it sounds, many of us shy away from meeting someone new. Remember, networking is about building relationships and the only way to do so is by starting the conversation.
If you’ve never done so before, the idea of networking may be daunting. Use a few of these networking tips to help reach out to other pros and help grow your business. You never know who might have information to share that can lead to more jobs.
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