There’s a common business saying… “It’s not what you know… it’s who you know.”
When it comes to growing your business, the people you know – customers, suppliers and fellow tradies – are your secret weapon. If you want to grow your business, reach new customers and receive more referrals, you can’t afford to neglect your tradie network.
Oh we’re not talking about computer networks or anything like that! Rather, we’re talking about good old-fashioned relationship-building with potential customers and business partners.
While it’s hugely important you know your stuff as a tradie (it’s a very poor tradie that can’t do something as basic as unclog a toilet or switch a lightbulb), connections and networks are often what get you jobs.
Here are just some of the reasons why networking should be at the top of any tradie’s priority list (well, after providing a great service, that is!)
Reason 1: Win more business through networking
Networking is about much more than just socialising! In fact, forming a large network can actually be a very effective way of reaching new customers and gaining business partners.
People might not notice an ad. But if you introduce yourself as a tradie when you first meet? They’ll remember that. And when they run into trouble with their pipes, electricity or locks, who are they going to call?
The secret to winning more business is by nurturing the right types of connections.
Networking doesn’t have to be limited to networking events and shows, either. Something as simple as striking up a conversation at your kids’ swimming lessons and carrying a handful of business cards on you can go a long way in securing you a new client!
Reason 2: Gain new business practices and strategies
You learn something new everyday… no exceptions!
Even tradespeople who’ve worked for 10+ years aren’t immune – trends come and go, new materials become popular and tools evolve over time. Staying on top of these changes is essential if you want your tradie business to go the distance.
Reading industry magazines and online forums is one way to stay on top of changes in the tradie world.
Another is being on good terms with your fellow tradies.
Building connections to your fellow tradies can also give you ideas about how new and old business practices can be worked into your toolbox.
It’s one thing to read about an upcoming development in your sector. Hearing first-hand from another tradie how popular something is, how much people are willing to pay for it and the most effective techniques and tools for the new development are? That’s completely different story!
Reason 3: What goes around, comes around!
Reciprocity principle: the principle stating that people are more likely to repay a good deed with a good deed of their own.
Even if you’re not well-read in social psychology, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of this rule more than once in your life. It’s a small but powerful part of human nature that obliges us to help someone that’s helped out in the past.
Many businesses use this little quirk as part of their marketing – have you ever received a free sample at a supermarket and felt guilted into buy one as a result? That’s reciprocity in action!
This rule is a powerful part of human nature. And when it comes to your tradie business, it’s one you can use to get jobs you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Here’s what we recommend: form alliances with tradies that have the skills you don’t and contract/sub-contract as needed.
Let’s say you’re a plumber and a client wants to do a full bathroom remodel. You might end up needing some electrical and carpentry work done – and that means bringing an electrician and a cabinet maker onto your project.
Not only does this help you complete jobs which are beyond your scope, but it also means that when your partner tradies run into trouble of their own, they’re likely to return the favour – all of a sudden, you’re being brought on board for jobs you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.
Choose your networking partner today!
Nowadays, if you’re not online, you may as well be invisible.
Networking is important to any tradie. And a lot of that’s happening online now.
Many tradies are still a bit behind the curve when it comes to maintaining an online presence – many don’t have any online visibility at all!
Make no mistake however, your online presence is a H-U-G-E deal, especially with more and more people moving away from the Yellow Pages and their local paper to find help.
When it comes to networking, the online connections you build can’t be ignored.
While we might not be able to help with the face-to-face networking, what iformat can do is implement digital strategies that bring people into your tradie business and strengthen the connections you build with your customers.