How to Network as a Tradie
Often tradies are a lot more comfortable getting the work done and using their expertise and experience on the job. But when you’re running a trade business, achieving success means activities like marketing and networking are just as important as they are in less practical, hands-on professions.
We all know that competition is fierce in the trade services market. It’s becoming harder to get your business noticed and stand out from the crowd of other local tradies, especially online. That being said, effective marketing tactics for tradies involve a mix of strategies both online and in the real world. As a skilled tradesman, you already have the tools to offer a service that people need, but to build a thriving and sustainable business you will need to think beyond the work itself. Networking might be outside of your usual comfort zone but it needn’t be a scary prospect. In fact, once you get started, it’s not only a great way to generate leads for new business, but also to meet and learn from other like-minded business owners. Once you take the plunge and get over your fears, you’ll wonder how you managed without the help and support of your network.
Here are some ideas to get you started with networking:
Get your skills noticed at local networking groups
Local business networking groups can be a powerful way for everyone involved to help each other and grow their businesses. Groups like this can become a free ongoing ‘word of mouth’ promotion that gives you much more attention.
There may be local business owners like accountants, bookkeepers and mortgage brokers who need your services or would be more than happy to recommend you to their contacts and clients. It might be there are other tradies in the local area with skills in another trade who are looking for someone just like you to refer their customers to.
Try researching local business networking groups in your area. You’ve got nothing to lose by trying some out, whether it’s a group for business owners or for trades specifically. Who knows, you might even have fun at the same time as collecting new contacts and new business opportunities.
Leverage existing customers
One of the most powerful marketing tools is a recommendation from an existing customer. People are much more likely to trust and act on the advice of someone they know. You are doing quality work for your customers day in, day out, so don’t be shy about asking them to think of you for any other jobs they or their friends and family need doing. You can also ask regular clients if they would be willing to refer your business to others and sweeten the deal with a rebate or special offer. When you take the time to get to know your clients and build a relationship with them, you might be surprised at how happy they are to help you find new leads.
Get online with social media networks
These days it’s difficult to find anyone, regardless of age and background, who isn’t on a social media site of some kind. There is a massive potential market there and, unlike old media, it’s possible to target people in your local area more quickly and cheaply. There are a number of platforms to explore from professional, work-focussed platforms like LinkedIn to local Facebook groups relevant to your area. It might seem like a waste of time, but getting active on social media can really help you get your name recognised and lead to new business.
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