Networking for construction professionals can be a challenge. Not only are builders contending with busier-than-ever schedules, many who already have a network developed may not be able to pinpoint their journey to share it with others coming up in the field. Additionally, how to network in the construction industry can be different for everyone.
We caught up with Kyle Stumpenhorst of RR Buildings, Jordan Smith of Smith House Company and Brad Leavitt of AFT Construction to get tips on successful networking for construction professionals, building their businesses, and getting in on the ground floor of industry conversations.
Professional Networking for Construction
Connecting with other builders in networks for building and construction doesn't only benefit you, it helps boost your business, shape your expertise, and create relationships that last. Networking for construction professionals seems complicated, but it comes down to a few simple approaches. Here are our best tips:
- Share your story. As a way of introducing yourself, clearly convey what your company is about. For Stumpenhorst, sharing his story “wasn’t originally about connecting with other builders.” Rather, it was about “sharing what my company was about—how we built, who we were, and what the client would get when working with us.” This authentic approach made connection and conversation easy.
- Use social media. What better way to share your story than on social media? Once Stumpenhorst started sharing, he found an entire community waiting for him. He adds that the building trades are very visual, so social media platforms make it easy to inspire and be inspired by the work of others.
- Build relationships. Smith reports enjoying the community social media offers because it’s a place to ask questions and receive input. “I’ve met a lot of good builders on Instagram, and I can reach out with a specific question and get feedback,” he says. “This is especially useful for people who may not have their physical network built yet.”
- Know your audience. Leavitt emphasizes the importance of carefully choosing your message and the platforms on which you share it. “LinkedIn, for example, allows me to have a more targeted approach,” he says. Smith sees variation in his audiences between Instagram and YouTube. “Instagram is a younger audience, and I use it more as a training platform,” he says. “YouTube’s audience tends to be older, and I can use it to market my business directly.”
- Learn from others. “There was an infinite amount of like-minded professionals willing to share secrets, bounce ideas, and become friends through social media,” Stumpenhorst says. “I’ve used it as a tool to better my skill set and learn new tips and tricks.”
- Track your leads. Leavitt recommends tracking where your leads come from when you use multiple platforms to get the word out about your business. “When you track, you can be sure you’re using your time and resources wisely,” he says. “The demographics are different on each channel, so the biggest thing is understanding your brand and how you want to communicate it to each audience.”
- Connect with brands and vendors. Both Leavitt and Stumpenhorst see social media networking as a way to build even bigger connections. “It’s been a way to connect with brands and learn more about products and help influence future products,” Stumpenhorst says. “I have direct connections with vendors now and my followers see products I use from a trusted entity, wanting that in their own homes,” Leavitt adds.
- Get to know potential clients. Leavitt adds, “Social media means I don’t have to sell my personality or brand when I meet with someone—often they already follow me and understand my company, our employees and our team.” Stumpenhorst agrees: “It is very easy for a potential client to watch and learn before they ever engage personally. By the time we start to have personal conversations it’s almost as if they have known me for a long time, making it easy to build a great working relationship.”
For construction, professional networking groups may look different than in years past. Stumpenhorst, Smith and Leavitt all find communities on social media, and more builders are joining the conversation.
How can you start building a community and getting to know builders and potential clients in your area? Check out @lp_pros on Instagram to jump in, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest construction industry trends to discuss in the conversations with your network.
Learn more about how to connect with a network of construction professionals from the construction professionals at LP Building Solutions.