Today all customer types – Clients, Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Distributors and Merchants – are looking for relationships with suppliers who understand their business and can add value. Although obvious, this view has been qualified in the USA through research conducted by the Society for Marketing Professional Services and published in their book A/E/C Business Development the Decade Ahead.
The idea is to be a Trusted Advisor. Someone the Specifier trusts to provide sound and reliable advice. You need to seek to become their design partner, helping solve problems and create quality buildings. Based on this theory the sales person can develop strategies to build the customer relationship, using sales tools such as the CPD seminar.
We recently worked with the Rooflight Company on delivering a half day seminar for Architects. This project is a good example of how to use CPD to position your company and staff as Trusted Advisors. In this blog we look at how the seminar positioned the Rooflight Company as Trusted Advisors to Architects, as design experts, so making them the Architects’ choice for rooflights.
Demonstrate technical competence
Think about what the Specifier will gain from attending your seminar – they are looking for answers to design challenges, as well as presenting technical know-how remember to provide solutions.
For the Rooflight Company we built the seminar around their popular CPD presentation: Bespoke Rooflights – a Specifiers Guide. Competitive Advantage drew on their industry knowledge to source an additional speaker to compliment the Rooflight content, so to add a wider appeal to the progamme. Each presentation was pitched towards the Architects’ interests and covered technical data with a problem solving approach to design.
Technical advice is the key reason for a specifier to have a relationship with a construction product manufacturer. CPD seminars are a proactive way to introduce your company and demonstrate the technical competence of your team and their problem solving approach.
Architects are creative creatures, so draw on case studies, use visuals and drawings, look to provide an inspirational element to your seminar.
The Saint-Gobain Innovation Centre was recommended by Competitive Advantage, not only for its location but as an inspirational venue that would suit the seminar objectives. The combination of this together with a guest speaker allowed for a broader appeal and so the opportunity to gain new contacts.
During their presentation the Rooflight Company provided a spectrum of case studies in a visual format, allowing the specifier to relate to the products and see how they could apply it to their own design projects.
Make it engaging
Just because CPD is technical does not mean that your seminar should not be well written and presented. Victoria Tarrant from the Rooflight Company presented clearly, she had rehearsed her presentation and had all the technical information at her fingertips. Her presentation was also visual, with photos depicting a number of case studies.
Written and delivered properly a CPD seminar establishes the manufacturer’s sales representative as a Trusted Advisor. The CPD certification bodies provide guidance, as does Competitive Advantage, on writing and delivering CPD. It is important to take the time to develop your presentation, this way you can ensure that it delivers results.
Take the time to continue communications
This half day technical seminar gave the Rooflight Company a new platform to strengthen their position as an innovative company that delivers design solutions. Yet the delivery of the seminar was not treated as the conclusion, rather the beginning, as communications with specifiers were continued via email and eNews, with a number of key specifers asked to participate in a focus group.
Once you have established a relationship it is important to take time to continue communications and so continue the relationship.
CPD has the benefit of opening doors, meeting many specifiers at one time and can often end with a discussion about a specific construction project opportunity. It is an essential tool in the Trusted Advisors’ toolkit