Networking is one of the most important things you can to do to grow your roofing business, but it is also usually one of the most dreaded. When people hear the word networking they often think about stuffy parties, forced handshakes, and business cards collecting dust in their wallets, but we promise it doesn’t have to be that bad.
To help you get past your loathing of networking, the Summa Media team is sharing our networking advice with you today. Keep reading below to learn how you can master the art of networking and grow your roofing business.
Who should you be networking with?
Potential clients and the friends of potential clients are everywhere and making what you do known to them, doesn’t have to feel awkward or cheesy. Whenever we meet new people, a common question during that first conversation is, “So what do you do?” Telling them that you’re a residential and commercial roofing contractor and that if they are ever in the market for your services you would be more than happy to help should become second nature to you.
On the commercial side, you should also try to get involved with local organizations focused on property management, school facilities, and hospital maintenance. Attending meetings is usually free for guests and they often host speakers. Get to know the members and leaders of your local organizations to get your foot in the door.
Industry Adjacent Professionals
Get to know the professionals in your area who are not roofing contractors, but who are in similar spaces. Examples include, real estate agents, interior designers, interior remodeling experts, and building developers. These professionals all work with potential clients of yours on a regular basis and you work with potential clients of theirs. Establish mutually beneficial relationships where you send each other leads and everyone wins!
Other Roofing Professionals
While you might see other roofing professionals as “the competition” it is still important that you get to know them for many reasons! First, you want to know what your competition is up to. Are they working with new and interesting technology, do they have offerings that give them a leg up on you, is their pricing crazy low?
Second, a reputable contractor will always have a referral for a job they do not have the bandwidth or skills to take on. Getting to know other roofing professionals will ensure you always have a trusted partner to send leads to and hopefully they will return the favor when the shoe is on the other foot.
Third, if you are based in Denver and another roofer is based in Seattle, you aren’t really competing with each other. Getting to know professionals in your industry in other regions will allow you to learn from one another and grow as roofers.
Mastering the Art Networking
Networking is not something that the average person always enjoys, often finding it to be uncomfortable and tedious. But it does not have to be something you dread doing! Below are a few tips to help you become a more effective and confident networker.
1. Confidence is key!
You are an expert in your field and someone out there needs to hear the information that you can provide them. Have confidence and enthusiasm when speaking on your subject and when meeting new people to help excite and encourage them.
2. Learn how to navigate small talk
If you dread small talk, you are not alone. Small talk can feel awkward and forced at times, but it is a necessary evil when networking. Seek information and knowledge on topics outside of your field and pay attention to current events to ensure you always have something in your back pocket to discuss.
3. Networking is a two way street
Networking goes both ways and you must keep that in mind. You may want business or leads from a contact, but what are you going to give them in return? Think about what you can deliver to help make the relationship mutually beneficial to everyone.
4. Always keep your word
Remember that in the world of business (and in life) we are only as good as our word! Always keep any promises you make and honor commitments you agree to. The world is small and being known as the guy who never follows through will do nothing to help increase your sales!
5. Ask questions!
People want to feel like that they are interesting and that they matter, it is part of our nature. When networking with new contacts or catching up with old, ask them questions and not questions about how they can help you, but about themselves. Show them you care by asking questions about their life, interests, and business to make them feel valued.
Now that you have this guidance, it is time to put it to good use and start making new industry connections! It can be hard to take the first step, but we promise it gets easier with time. And if you have any questions on how to best approach networking for your business, the Summa Media team is here to help. Give our team a call today to learn more!