If you’re a small business owner or a self-employed contractor, networking is an essential part of developing and growing your business. Although connecting with other professionals may feel stressful and daunting at first, knowing what to expect can alleviate your worries and help you focus on building relationships and finding new leads. Here are some of our top tips to help you feel more confident about your networking skills.
Where to Network
As any business owner knows, networking opportunities are everywhere. Passing conversations Still, here at Home Improvement Leads we think that the best and quickest way to begin quality networking is to attend trade shows and exhibitions. Talk to other professionals and scour the internet to find events that are relevant for you, and register early to ensure your place. These occasions often include talks and seminars, as well as plenty of opportunities for you to discuss your own business with other professionals, so you should try not to miss any.
Local and national exhibitions and trade shows are perhaps the most obvious places to meet and interact with other like-minded professionals, but there are also plenty of other ways to network in your local community. Join trade organizations, attend business and government meetings—or other events, such as fairs and markets—and participate in service projects. These opportunities can get you acquainted with your community, assess the needs of potential clients, and generate new contracting leads.
In addition to in-person meetups and exhibitions, both online and print advertising and communications can also help you build relationships with other professionals and potential leads. Regular communication via email and web-based newsletters is essential, and establishing an online presence will make your business current and relevant. Your online presence, if it is up-to-date and accessible to viewers, will be an invaluable part of your marketing strategy in the months to come. Print, television, and radio ads can also help spread the word of your business further afield and reach new and varied leads.
How to Network
While discovering the best places for networking is an important first step, it’s also wise to brush up on your networking skills for those upcoming trade shows, exhibitions, and meetings.
Before attending any networking events, take time to work out a brief but detailed pitch about your business and the services you provide. Networking is all about confidence and communication, so if you know your business inside and out, you’ll be able to provide a knowledgeable, poised, and succinct pitch every time.
While the details of your business pitch will vary according to your particular skills and trade, all contracting professionals should be able to communicate the basic qualities and goals of their own business. When writing your pitch, include a list of the services you offer, pricing structures, and your latest achievements. As with any professional meet-up, sell yourself by explaining why you and your business are invaluable. Do you offer cutting edge technology? Experience with renewable energy? Any special skills that set you apart from the crowd will make you memorable to other professionals and potential leads.
Networking Events: What You Should Bring
Attending a networking event is similar to a job interview in many ways. Knowing your facts is one of the key parts of succeeding at trade shows and exhibitions, but this skill is only useful if you also come prepared. So, what should you bring to a networking event?
Marketing materials such as business cards, brochures, and other branded paperwork will show professionals and potential leads that you are serious about your business. Keep plenty of these on hand during a networking event and hand them out to anyone who shows interest in you and your product. One top tip: consistency and clarity in branding are essential, so make sure your logo is clearly legible and identical on all printed materials.
In addition to printed advertising, multimedia displays will capture the attention of passersby and provide useful talking points for pitches and informal conversations. We recommend including high-quality photographs and/or videos of your latest projects, Powerpoint-style slides of your services and business facts, and any other technology-related marketing tools that may apply to your business.
How Home Improvement Leads Can Help
After you’ve participated in several networking events, this previously stress-inducing part of marketing your business should feel like second nature. Regular attendance at trade shows and exhibitions will help you to build relationships with professionals in your field and generate new homeowner leads every time. If you want to further develop your client base, we here at Home Improvement Leads will help you to reach more of the right type of leads quickly and effortlessly.