How to Network in Construction – Offline and Online
Getting Started Guide: Advertising Your Construction Company for Free
How to Network in Construction – Offline and Online.
You need to network in the construction industry. Networking takes MANY different forms.
The construction industry is “old school,” meaning a lot of business still gets done without use of the internet much less computers. Networking in this industry is extremely important because people like doing business with people they like.
Many industry events are where business deals get done and work gets started. These events require a lot of time and energy but are extremely important in terms of getting noticed and on the radar of potential customers.
There are thousands of events in your industry world-wide to attend. Some are free. Most of the larger ones require a paid ticket and virtually all events that you set up a booth or a table with a sign require money. You should pick them wisely- events can be expensive and they can also be hit and miss.
These can be between 100 – 500 people. These generally aren’t promoted with as much fervor but are a good way to sharpen your networking skills and learn more about your industry.
You can search by keyword, date, and area to find the best meetups and meetup groups that fit your business.
These events are put on by trade groups, organizations, unions, larger companies, etc. Attendance is anywhere from 500 to many thousands. Larger events require hefty sponsors to foot the bill (renting out the venue) and these can be expensive for attendees exibitors. When attending one of these, be sure you’ve got an event checklist and be confident that there will be value coming from your attendance.
Search for your industry
Search for large expo or conference events in your country from Allconferences.com
Large Trade Fair Listings:
Different types of conferences in the construction industry by tofairs.com
Listing of 100 events world wide:
10times.com lists 100 events for construction
How to Network at Events:
Starting a discussion can be nerve-racking for some, but often people aren’t wearing badges or name tags (or you can’t read them), so you need to find out who they are and what they’re looking for.
The following are helpful introduction questions to start a dialogue with a stranger:
10 Networking introductions:
1). How did you hear about this event?
2). What brought you here?
3). How are you liking the event?
4). What do you do? Tell me about your company
5). What’s the biggest challenge in your company/industry/work?
6). Where else do you go to network? What other events are you attending?
7). What is your reason for being here today?
8). Who at this event were you interested in meeting the most?
9). Was this event what you expected so far?
10). Have you attended this event before? Is it different from others you’ve been to?
There are tons of guides for how to network online, a great outline and more detailed questions can be found on Gonetworking.com or an additional list of questions here.
Most people at networking events carry cards. If they have a card, take notes on the back.
Always reach out right after the event while it’s fresh and connect on Linkedin whenever possible.
-Never get stuck talking to same person for too long
-Breath mints or gum are a must
-Always look up the dress code or general attendance attire – Business casual when in doubt
-Be pleasant and ask more questions than you answer
-Remember everyone else there is there to network too
-Have fun with it and stay positive
On the job site:
Make friends – Be a nice person… no really
It’s been said that the construction is an industry of favors, no matter the size of your company, you should consider doing favors for those around (within reason). Help your competition when you’re not over extending yourself. Help a contractor when it makes sense. Be forgiving and understanding of those that work with you. If people like to work with you, they’re more likely to do you favors or throw you a bone in the future. Keep your wits about you and always make your own work a priority, but if you can do something for someone else, they’ll remember it.
Don’t help those that are too lazy to help themselves. Don’t over extend yourself and lose money over a favor. Don’t give away your best talent, tools, or expensive toys.
These are about 3 times the size of a standard business card but they identify the “Who, what, where, when” of your business. Business Post Cards can be handed out alongside or instead of your standard business card. These can also be created and ordered using the links below.
Carry them around with you everywhere. You don’t know when you’ll make a connection.
Get it all online:
Every printing company on the planet creates business cards, but it’s almost always cheaper online. You can get cards for less than a burger, fries, and a drink at any fast food chain. A quick google search will turn up hundreds of online printing companies that ship to your city. Vistaprint is a cheap resource for company promotional cards, business cards, posters, and more. Build a template to hand off to printing company using zazzle. And finally if you want to get really creative, here are some cool ideas for creative marketing.
Leave Something Behind:
If you meet with someone for business, LEAVE SOMETHING BEHIND.
Leave a card! People have a short memory and if that card doesn’t end up in the trash, it may hang around someone else’s desk for a LONG time. I’ve had 3 business cards sitting on my desk for the last month and that’s because the consultants handed it to me before leaving and I haven’t figured out where to put their cards.
Depending on the size of your company, it never hurts to ask client if they know anyone else interested in getting work done. It’s always best to ask for referrals AFTER you’ve completed the work and they’re happy about the job.
Learn Your Worker’s Names:
You don’t have to be everyone’s friend but you should try to memorize as many names as possible. People remember those that remember them.
Why does it matter?:
-When you need to field a crew in a pinch
-Better rapport and morale with those doing the work for you
-Mutual referrals for other opportunities
-Better communication overall
There are countless tricks to remembering names of people when you meet them, here are a few:
-Repeat the name three times
-Assign a memorable acronym
-Tie the name to a known historical figure, celebrity, or friend (this should be done in your head)
There are plenty more tips and tricks for remembering names on a site found on our blog post all about remembering names on a construction site.
If you own a construction company and there is nothing about your business online, you need start with our Getting started guide to advertising your construction company for free.
These are for learning, asking questions, and finding new services. The more specific you get with your line of work, the easier it is to find forums that have detailed questions about things you may encounter on a daily basis.
All things construction – from detailed design to funny observations
General question forum for all things construction
Contractor and construction discussions from broad to specific topics
More residential discussions
Contractors discuss ideas, problems, solutions, and more.
Forum for electrical contractors
More electrical questions, answers, and situational discussions.
From contractors to engineers, this site covers all kinds of topics
Questions and observations about paint and best practices
Green technology discussions for the construction industry
Architecture discussions for those that do all the design work
Social Media Groups:
These are very similar to forums but the discussions are shorter but the users can be just as active. These groups can also be for news, job announcements, and events for the industry:
Builders talk group
Discussions and active users in the construction industry
Quality in Construction
Group that points out bad construction jobs
Some groups on linkedin are more active than others. Many groups are geared towards a specific expertise, don’t be spammy when commenting and understand that not everything you post will be reacted to, much less in a positive way.
Construction & Project Managers
Construction and Real Estate Development in Canada
Design and Construction Network
Construction’s who’s who
Future of Construction
Learn all you need to about how to advertise your construction company for free, by downloading our newly published guide with information and tips on networking effectively in the construction industry.