In the construction industry, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the technical specs, materials and budgets and forget about the most important resource: people. We’re not just talking about the people who work for and with you — we’re talking about networking with construction professionals and others to keep your business thriving.
Construction networking is a critically important skill and simply a required part of running a construction business. Not a people person? Don’t worry; the Cedreo team has put together 11 practical tips for networking in construction. Read on to learn everything you need to know to build your network.
Why is Networking Important for Construction Pros?
More leads — this is the number one benefit of networking construction professionals see. When you put in the time and effort to build a real relationship with a fellow contractor or other professional, you are much more likely to pop into their minds the next time they have an opportunity to refer a client to a construction professional.
There are plenty of lead generation methods for construction professionals, so why is networking so much better than the others? Because it’s free. Nothing more than a little time and pleasant conversation is required to turn on a faucet of leads that can not only keep your business afloat, but help it grow and thrive.
11 Networking Tips for Construction Professionals and Contractors
More leads means more business, and that’s motivation enough for any construction professional to engage in a little construction networking. When you’re ready to get out and build your network, try these 11 simple construction networking tips.
1. Write an elevator pitch
Before you make appearances in construction networking groups or at construction networking events, you need to craft an elevator pitch. This is a short and impactful speech that summarizes what you do and why you’re worth working with.
You could meet someone at any moment who wants to know whether they should recommend you. Your elevator pitch is how you’ll convince them that they should. Make it short and to the point, and make sure it highlights what sets you apart from the countless other construction professionals in your area.
2. Join a trade association
An enormous amount of networking in construction happens at trade association meetings, events or even in their online spheres. To meet other networking contractors and professionals, joining a trade association is one of your most effective and efficient paths forward.
Some examples of trade associations to join include:
- Associated General Contractors of America
- American Institute of Constructors
- American Subcontractors Association, Inc.
- Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc
- American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
There are dozens of these, including some that are likely local to your city or state. Join as many as you’re comfortable joining, and get active. That’s the best way to network with construction professionals and contractors.
3. Carry business cards
Keeping up with all the names and faces at construction networking events can be a challenge. And just as you want to remember people, you want to be remembered. There’s no better way to ensure that someone remembers your name than to give them your business card.
You don’t have to wait for the next meetings of your construction networking groups to start carrying business cards. Actually, it’s a great idea to carry business cards at all times. You never know when you’re going to meet someone who would be a good connection to have.
4. Network at the jobsite
This all sounds like a lot of extra work outside of your daily duties, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can network while you’re on the jobsite. It’s a classic case of killing two birds with one stone.
As it turns out, contractors in areas related to yours are some of the best people to connect with if you’re building your construction networking chops. Why? Because they aren’t competing with you — they’ll probably have clients who could benefit from your services, and they won’t hesitate to recommend you if you truly connect with them.
The other added bonus is that contractors come to you directly on the job site as you’re working on various phases of projects. That’s the perfect time for a handshake and business card exchange.
5. Attend conferences and trade shows
Trade shows and conferences are a big deal in construction, but you need to understand that they’re not all about the latest innovations in the industry. They’re also about good, old-fashioned networking in construction.
That means you can’t make excuses for skipping them. Trade shows and conferences are the perfect place to connect with like-minded professionals who can help you build your business. They’re perfect venues for networking because you spend dedicated time with these people in an exciting and on-theme environment.
6. Join a meetup
Construction professionals all over the world have recognized that, while networking is important, it isn’t necessarily easy. That’s why so many professionals like you have created construction networking meetups.
These are absolutely worth the time to join and attend. Not only will you get a chance to build your network, but you will also get support and insights from professionals who are in similar business situations to yours.
7. Get active online
The internet is the last great frontier in networking. In milliseconds, you can connect with construction professionals and contractors all over the world. That’s powerful, and if you’re not taking advantage of online networking, you’re missing out.
The good news is that it’s never too late to get started. Log on and start exploring. The professional social networking site LinkedIn is always a good place to start, but don’t be afraid to test out various forums, email groups, private social media groups and other online resources.
8. Introduce yourself & maintain your relationships
This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many people forget this essential first step in construction networking: introduce yourself. You don’t have to already know the person — in fact, you shouldn’t. At a construction networking event or group or even at the jobsite, walk up, extend your hand and give your name.
That’s how you start a relationship in construction networking. How you maintain it is perhaps a little more complex, but it’s still in the ballpark of simple and completely doable. Every now and then, reach out with a text message, email, phone call or social media message. Ask the person how everything is going, and if you have any opportunities or tips to share, don’t hold back.
9. Consider volunteer projects
As a construction professional, your skills are highly sought after for volunteer service projects. Charities that focus on housing for unhoused individuals and others are dying for professionals like you to step in and lend a hand.
It’s not just the right thing to do — it’s also a networking opportunity. On the volunteer site, you are likely to run into contractors and others who would be good people to know as you build your business. This is the perfect opportunity to connect with them.
10. Become a mentor
Many young professionals would love to enter the field of construction or contract work, but they have neither the skills nor the necessary access to learning opportunities. You can help with that by becoming a mentor to a young construction professional.
Sharing your skills and knowledge with someone who is just starting out in their career is a long-term construction networking play. A few years down the road, they will still remember what you did for them, and that means they’ll be a powerful advocate for you and your services within your network.
11. Facilitate connections for others as well
Sometimes, playing matchmaker is just as beneficial to your network as matching with others yourself. That’s because when you connect two professionals, you get the credit for the beneficial things that come from that working relationship. Both parties not only remember that you helped, but they are also more likely to remember you the next time they may be able to offer some help to you.
Always Be Networking
The most challenging aspect of networking construction professionals face is simply getting started. Armed with an understanding of how networking can grow your construction business and a ton of simple networking tips, you have the motivation to actually go out and network. Nothing is holding you back.
As you grow your network, remember that your professional network isn’t the only source of support for your business. Cedreo’s floor plan and design tools are designed to support those in the construction industry as they build their businesses. We cut time on the design process, simplify every stage and make your business more profitable. Try Cedreo today to see how.