CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is probably one of the most effective means of starting relationships or enhancing an existing one. When well-delivered it gives credibility to the presenter, the company and its products.
CPD has the benefit of meeting many specifiers at one time and can often end with a discussion about a specific project.
In this blog I explore why CPD is such a valuable tool in gaining specifications.
When CPD arrived in the construction industry over 15 years ago it was formalising a process that many manufactures were already involved in – delivering technical seminars. What RIBA did was define the process by requiring architects to complete a specified programme of learning each year and introduce a quality standard for the seminars delivered by manufacturers and suppliers.
Today the concept of CPD is well established with most organisations encouraging their staff to undertake continuing development. Architects are required to complete 35 hours of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) each year, other professionals have to meet similar requirements.
CPD provides an opportunity to establish new and strengthen old relationships
This is an ideal opportunity to get in front of a group of architects or engineers and sell, not your company or products, but the person delivering the seminar. Although content is important and has to be relevant, what really matters is that the presenter demonstrates their technical competence and depth of knowledge; and important first step towards earning the position of Trusted Advisor.
Presenting a CPD seminar is an opportunity to demonstrate technical competence and if handled correctly should mark the start of a long and profitable relationship.
CPD provides an opportunity to be useful and informative
Providing information that people will want to keep or share is a key benefit of CPD. This can be backed up by generating a profile on social networks. Continuing your communication online provides greater longevity of your presentation in the mind of the specifier and strengthens relations, keeping the flow of communication going.
Twitter for example is an easy way for architects who need advice about your products to contact you. It is essential though that you listen, be useful and can be found. Engaging in conversations, rather than broadcasting a promotional message.
CPD provides an opportunity to differentiate yourself
Look at the subjects that your competitors and manufacturers of complementary products are offering and select a topic which is not already covered. Think about what the practice will gain from attending the seminar – an understanding of a new regulation, the ability to design better solutions, a unique understanding of a difficult concept. It’s the old Features and Benefits concept. You must present sufficient, relevant benefits to outweigh any concerns.
CPD seminars are a good approach to opening doors, but to be effective the seminar should have good impartial technical content, be approved by one of the certification bodies and be well presented.
Done properly a CPD seminar can establish the sales person as a Trusted Advisor and raise the importance of your products in the mind of the specifier.
Technical advice is the key reason for a specifier to have a relationship with a manufacturer. CPD seminars are a proactive way to introduce your company and demonstrate the technical competence of your team.
The principal certification services are:
- The Seven Tools of Specification Selling
- Effective Specification Selling – Understanding how relationships are key
- 5 Steps to Building Strong Relationships with Specifiers
- Communicating with Specifiers
If you would like to know more about how to deliver effective CPD then please feel free to contact us to talk further about how we can help you. 01252 378053