Business

7 networking tips for construction pros

Builder smiling and chatting with other builders at a table

If you’ve always thought networking was a difficult task you’d rather not do, we get it.

Going to construction conferences, making small talk with strangers, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone – none of that sounds easy.

But if you do it right, it can be.

Here are seven networking tips and tricks construction pros can start using today to expand their professional circle.

1. You can make connections anywhere

Most people don’t think of a potluck as a networking event. But who knows what magic can happen while you’re in line for your third helping of potato salad?

As a contractor, you know there are business opportunities everywhere and anywhere. You can find new partners, trades and clients at your neighborhood potluck, at the local dive bar or in the stands of your child’s soccer game.

Take advantage of every opportunity to meet and network with someone, regardless of location. Always keep business cards on hand so you’re ready if the chance to make a connection arises.

2. Build relationships, not referrals

Networking doesn’t have to be a daunting task. If you forget about the business aspect, it’s really all about relationship building.

You’ll form a more supportive and stronger network if you don’t approach it with a quid-pro-quo mentality. People are more than just referrals, a means to an end or stepping stones – they’re human beings that respond to genuine kindness and respect.

You can form better connections by actively listening and showing an interest in the person you’re networking with. It’s not all about you and your goals, so pay attention and ask follow-up questions to make a lasting impression.

3. Search by service

Getting started is always the hardest part. With networking, it’s no different. If you’re new to this scene, where do you begin? How do you find those people who can take your business or career to the next level?

The easiest place is wherever your peers are. Nobody knows the struggle like those providing the same service as you. Here are a few ways to find your community:

The goal is to form a community, not competition.

If you find other professionals in the same industry and make an effort to meet them, you can use your shared experiences to start building a relationship.

4. Pay it forward

Networking karma is a real and powerful thing. Don’t just look to get yourself connected – pay it forward and connect others along the way, too. Helping people is a tried-and-true way of building genuine relationships. Not only does it feel good, but your generosity will likely be repaid.

It’s important to remember that networking is a give and take. Rather than always asking for favors, look for opportunities to help your contacts and they’ll be much more likely to return the gesture. Look at it as a form of cross promotion – it’s mutually beneficial when you help each other out.

5. Serve your community

When it comes to helping others, don’t just keep it to those in your industry. Make your business known and valued in the larger community.

Volunteer your team to help a local nonprofit, organize a fundraising event for a cause you care about or offer to sponsor a local sports team. The possibilities are endless and participating in charitable work will help build your reputation and visibility in the community.

While you’re putting out all that good in the world, you’re also gaining wider contact expansion through whatever community you’re serving and your fellow volunteers. Just find something you’re passionate about, then get involved. Yep, it’s that easy.

6. Invest your time wisely

In order to get the most out of your networking efforts, it’s important to consider the cost and time it takes to attend the event or participate in the organization.

Don’t spend thousands of dollars attending a conference focused on an irrelevant industry. Save the top dollar events for ones you know will provide a return on investment. Ineffective networking efforts can be costly and time consuming, so learn how to choose events and strategies that’ll be worth it.

7. Take things online

There is some good news for the introverted contractor – social networking online can be just as effective as in-person networking. The best place to start is LinkedIn. Here are a few quick wins for this social channel:

  • Complete your profile: More detail solidifies you as someone a potential contact would want to connect with.
  • Use a professional photo: This isn’t the place to use a cute photo of your child or a funny picture of you from last year’s holiday party. Use something that gives you credibility.
  • Add people intentionally: Don’t add anybody and everybody. Start with coworkers, then build your network from there within your industry or local community.
  • When adding someone you don’t know, give context: Don’t send a blank invite that’s likely to be ignored. Instead, send a message with it introducing yourself and explaining that you’re looking to connect with like-minded folks in the industry.

We’ve also compiled a list of tips and tricks for using LinkedIn as a construction pro that you can check out, too.

Start networking now

You don’t have to be an extrovert to be excellent at making connections. Even you shy guys and gals have a chance to succeed when following these top networking tips.

And if we haven’t met before, we at Buildertrend would love to connect with you, too. Start expanding your social circle by reaching out to us today. We’d love to chat about your business and see what we can do for you.

About The Author

Sean Robinson

Sean Robinson Sean Robinson is a senior content marketing specialist at Buildertrend

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