Networking the Old-Fashioned Way
Networking the Old-Fashioned Way
Even if it is New-Fashioned
The concepts and practices of networking are both ancient and fresh. On the ancient side, here is an example from Rome.
And from the fresh side, look for online opportunities. For example, a construction-related conference you might have passed up in the past because of time and travel is virtual this year — time to take advantage of it.
Develop a Strategy
You don’t have to be a Christian to learn from the Biblical example of Paul, a first-century networker. He had a highly developed strategy for networking.
Take action. Paul went to cities where he’d find large concentrations of people. You don’t have to go to a city, but you do have to know who you need to interact with. Then take steps to do so.
Seek relationships based on the needs of others and what you can offer. Paul went to religious cities, synagogues, or other spaces thought to be sacred. It was in those places where he was most likely to find people who were already thinking of spiritual matters.
Take time to build connections and bonds. Even when Paul couldn’t be with his network in person (sometimes because he was in another town or jail,) he stayed in touch. He had people who kept him informed, and he corresponded with people he had met in past encounters. He wrote letters of encouragement and teaching. Paul wrote thirteen letters to churches that are included in the New Testament.
Include long-term goals in your networking strategy. Because of Paul’s approach, he is considered to have been pivotal in the spread of the Christian faith throughout the Roman Empire.
Remember, networking isn’t about how many people you know. As cliché as it sounds, networking is about how many people you can help.
Whether you were born with an active networking gene or grew up to be a dedicated wallflower – or you reside somewhere in between those two polar positions, you can up your networking game.
No Selling Allowed
Networking in the construction contracting world isn’t always about making a sale, getting the bid, or connecting with a potential client. Instead, it is about establishing a level of trust. It is about building healthy, professional, mutually beneficial relationships.
Consider how you can help—and not just in a professional sense. Show that you care.
Sometimes it is about finding just the right person for other reasons:
· Someone to employ (It turns out that people tend to get jobs through their connections’ connections, rather than their direct friends or colleagues.)
· The gal who delivers exceptional business referrals
· A guy who has a connection to the type of service provider you’ve been searching for
· Somebody who “knows the ropes” and is willing to serve as a “next step” mentor
· A partner
· An investor
Focus on relationship building.
Realize that you have something to offer. Sometimes that is your services, but it can also be your time, money, or knowledge.
When you’re in a networking position, a few concepts to keep in mind are:
· Find common ground
· Look for things that are interesting about the other person
· Set reasonable expectations
· Listen – did you hear me? Listen – that is important!
· Be generous
· Ask graciously for help or advice
· Be assertive but not rude
· Pay attention to folks who are looking for partners, resources, or consultants
· Strive to overcome any wallflower predilections
· Embrace opportunities to teach, demonstrate, do speaking engagements, or share your construction contractor expertise
· Follow up (For example, sending thank-you cards.)
· Follow through (Do what you said you would – even when it is hard.)
· Give referrals
· Ask for referrals
The following two questions can open up a bucket-load (remember, this is an excellent accounting term) of new networking opportunities.
Do you have any ideas for me?
And do you know anyone else I should talk to?
Go Where You’ve Never Gone Before
Don’t beam up too soon. Who do you want to do business with? What types of construction do you want to participate in? Network with those folks. Go to places and events they attend.
Here are some areas to consider:
· Charity events
· Arts associations
· Property management or facility management company associations (Perhaps attend the meetings or get to know someone from the International Facility Management Association.)
· Building Owners and Managers Association meetings
· Architectural and engineering associations
· Professional associations that are Not yours. (As an example, you’ve been in the residential side of construction and want to break into commercial building, go where the commercial GCs are going. Associated General Contractors of America comes to mind.)
· Commercial realtors
· Participate in service projects
· Your church
· New or old hobby
· At the gym
· Before or after your kid’s soccer game
You’re right! There are lots of places and possibilities. Look for them.
Locate the Usual Suspects
When putting together your plans, strategy, and tactics for networking to the fullest, remember to build the relationships you’ve already started.
Some of the “usual” places you should consider are:
· Your trade association
· Classes or learning events
· Professional development events
· Coffee dates
· Trade shows
· Online (This is even more viable now.)
Diets and Networks
You’re on a diet whether or not you like it or even know it. Consider for a moment that if you eat, you’re on a diet. A diet consists of that which you eat. In the same vein, if you see other people, you are a networker. Your network is made up of the people with whom you have a relationship in one form or another.
Just like some diets are lovely, some networks are excellent. And just like some diets are horrible, some networks stink. Good diets provide a variety of nutrients, minerals, fiber, and sustenance. Good networks offer the same things but for your construction business.
Networking is an excellent way to attract future business and enhance your construction company in the right now moment.
Keep these three ideas in mind if you find it challenging to take intentional steps into the networking world.
Networking is an investment (both short and long-term.)
Relationships are a portable asset.
Agreeing to go with someone else often makes it more accessible.
Construction Contractors look to The Profit Constructors to provide advocacy in dealing with:
· Clients and customers
· Employees and subcontractors
· Vendors and service providers
· Governmental entities
Working with The Profit Constructors gives Construction Contractors the means to organize their operations in ways that help them:
· Remain informed
· Avoid hassles
· Reduce risks
· Be future-ready
Ready for action? Or want to know more? Get in touch today to schedule a complimentary discovery call. New possibilities await. 866-629-7735