Before you can sell you need to establish a relationship, and your position as a trusted advisor. Win business by becoming part of a team that helps solve problems. That’s where ‘continuing professional development seminars’ come in.

Since the recession started everyone seems busier than ever. The situation is made worse by modern technology. Emails and texts now mean instant responses are expected. It takes discipline to manage your time effectively.

Now turn that on its head. Are you finding it really tough to get prospects to open your emails, or take your calls? I wonder if they’re having the same problems with time management?

The harsh reality is that in today’s busy world it’s very difficult to get people’s attention, to tell them about your products or services. And if they don’t know you, it’s next to impossible. So if you’re to get their attention you need to offer them something of value, something that will make it easier for them to do their job: perhaps a seminar that explains new regulations, or what the Green Deal will do for them. Certainly not a sales pitch.

Before you can sell you need to establish a relationship and your position as a trusted advisor. If you become part of their team, helping to solve problems, then you can move on to winning some business. This is where ‘continuing professional development’ (CPD) seminars come in. Professional bodies have been imposing on members the requirement to undertake CPD courses for almost 20 years now. That means that if your company can offer a CPD seminar on a subject of interest you have a way of opening doors. It needs to be presented in a professional and competent manner but, done well, it will position the presenter as an expert and trusted advisor, starting a potentially long and rewarding relationship. This tool is widely used by manufacturers, but is just as effective among contractors wishing to present themselves as experts in their field.

There is a general requirement for each seminar to be ‘CPD certified’, which means that a body like the RIBA has to have vetted it to make sure that it isn’t an overt sales pitch. Specifiers prefer approved CPD seminars anyway, because the assessment and approval process is a quality kite mark and reassures them they will not be wasting their time. While certification is certainly desirable, it is not mandatory however. The most effective CPD seminars include up-to-date and relevant technical information, and do not sell the company’s products or services.

Some organisations are put off because they cannot sell directly via the CPD seminar, but this is a very short term, and short-sighted, view. The purpose of the seminar is to introduce the presenter as a trusted adviser, to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject, and to allow them to develop a relationship. Do that well and you will find that orders will follow.

In these difficult times, when it is hard to get in front of customers, don’t miss the trick of offering CPD seminars. You will get a return many times over on your initial investment. Nor should you think that this is for architects and engineers only. Just because roles like project manager or estimator don’t necessarily have a chartered requirement to undertake CPD (and some do) they will still be interested in improving their knowledge and ability to do a good job.

Further Reading

If you wish to find out more about Delivering CPD Seminars see our website.

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