An article by Reed Dillon, Creative Brand Content
I was very grateful to be a presenter at the most recent Mid-West Builder Boot Camp. I came away with a sense of optimism having met and had conversations with new and interesting people. In addition I was fortunate enough to pick up a couple good leads for my business. Overall it was great experience and I appreciate Gary Fleisher, the Modcoach, giving me the opportunity.
After that day I came away thinking about networking and what a valuable tool it is for anyone in business. In years back, at the request of my then employer, I reluctantly joined a local business networking group that was affiliated with an international organization named BNI, (Business Networking International). Joining BNI turned out to be a very valuable experience that I still to this day benefit from even though I am no longer a member.
Opportunities for builder networking are everywhere if you look for them. My recommendation is to begin at home.
I am believer in Chambers of Commerce and have been involved with them in the past. They are a great place to do one on one, grass root marketing. A chamber of commerce is a relational organization and a good place to support local business and stay connected with your community. Frequently chambers’ have get-together functions that are used specifically for networking such as “Business after Hours” monthly events. You can sign up to host one of these events at your place of business or Model Home. Some chambers allow you to hold speaking engagements about your specific area of expertise as long as it is not overly sales oriented.
Civic or Fraternal organizations are another good resource. Groups such as the Rotary International or your local Lions Club are places where you can connect with local peers in the business community. These groups are social and usually are focused on missions of bettering the community and the world at large through philanthropic works such as scholarships and projects etc.
Another alternative is networking organizations as in the previously mentioned BNI. BNI is just one of many organizations that offer weekly or bi-weekly meetings where members share needs regarding people that they need to connect with as well as share lead referrals. Many times networking groups just sprout up locally over shared interests among colleagues and friends in the business community.
Your local HBA (Home Builder Association) is also a place I believe every builder should be. If you are not a member of a HBA, I advise you to think seriously about joining your local chapter. Joining your local HBA and participating in their meetings connects you to the greater NAHB (National Association of Homebuilders). The NAHB has a wealth of information and resources that you can draw from as well as participate in councils such as the BSC (Building Systems Council). Your local HBA is where you can make and establish fruitful relationships with vendors and fellow builders. I am a firm believer that we are all better together than are as individuals.
This just scratches the surface. If you think about it I am sure there are many other opportunities for networking out there. Let us know, we welcome your insights into other networking venues have worked for you. Please feel free to comment below.
ABOUT Reed Dillon - Reed Dillon is the owner of Creative Brand Content, creativebrandcontent.com - a marketing consulting company. Reed has spent the better part of two decades heading the marketing departments of some of the industry’s leading modular manufacturers and earning numerous national marketing awards. Contact can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 540-488-2978.