Architects, Engineers and other design professional want informative and accurate CPD material, they do not want to be sold to. For this reason the CPD accreditation bodies vet material to ensure it meets this criteria. Although an overt sales message is frowned upon the audience want an inspirational CPD seminars. As a construction product manufacturer you want to use CPD to generate awareness and leads for your product. Is it possible to keep all three parties happy? I believe so.
Quite often, when delivering specification sales training, I find when we reach sales tools and the use of CPD, as well as detailing how a CPD seminar can be used to develop relationships and identify opportunities, I find myself reviewing the content of the seminar. Typical shortcomings are that as the seminar was prepared by the technical team it is technically accurate but does not sell the company or its products.
In this blog we look at how, for some clients we use a series of workshops to help them review and enhance the content of their CPD presentation.
Define your seminar objectives
The first step in the series of workshops was to define the seminar objectives. These included: informing the audience about key features of the product; raising awareness of the consequences of not specifying correctly; facilitating an introduction for the company and providing opportunity to review specifications and identify sales leads.
Take time to consider why you are delivering CPD and what you hope to achieve.
Consider your objectives, when developing an agenda it should be interesting and engaging for your audience but also deliver the messages about your product that you want to get across. Striking the right balance is important, so the audience do not feel they are being sold to.
Develop the story you want to tell
Again in a workshop environment with the sales team who talk to specifiers all the time Competitive Advantage facilitated the creation of an outline that tracked the story to be told. The technical content was mapped to the message to be delivered with each slide. Having got the story right in terms of the messages, content and length for delivery each individual slide then needed to be perfected.
Once you have defined your objectives pull together the story line for your presentation, tracking it against each individual slide.
Scrutinise each slide
Every slide has to deliver maximum impact, consider the words and images and how they are used in combination to achieve this in a visually stimulating format that will be acceptable to the certification authority and appealing to Architects.
Learning point: The next step requires the careful review of each slide. This is more than graphic design as every phrase and word must be composed with care and complementary imagery selected. And each slide must support your objectives, as indicated in your outlined story.
Road test your presentation
Once the presentation was considered satisfactory the sales team then need to arrange for the seminar to be road tested with a number of ‘friendly’ architects. Their comments were noted and incorporated into the content.
After completing all of this work take the time to get feedback, deliver the seminar to some friendly specifiers to ensure it is credible. And before submitting for certification ensure you have incorporated any comments.
Make the description appealing
The final element is to write the description which will be used by the certification body. Very often this has been a last minute exercise which does not do the seminar justice. This is the “shop window” for your CPD seminar so make sure it is well written, making it clear what benefits the audience will gain from attending the seminar.
CPD is a valuable tool in the process of specification selling. The key is to make sure your presentation strikes the right balance between technical content and product information, without an overt sales pitch. To achieve this you need to invest time in considering your objectives, building your presentation agenda and scrutinizing the language and images used on each slide. With careful consideration it is possible to deliver a seminar that satisfies the certification bodies, engages Architects and delivers specification enquiries.
Have a CPD that is not delivering full value? The team at Competitive Advantage would welcome the chance to talk about how we can help. Contact us: 01276 503539