For those companies that specification sell, engaging with the architect is key. A very effective means of getting a foot in the door of a practice is the CPD seminar, a technical presentation explaining an element of the design process. As well as informing the audience, it also plays an important part in presenting both your company and the representative delivering the seminar as technical expert. Done well and it can be the start of a long and worthwhile relationship.
Increasingly online CPD seminars are being offered by manufacturers, but while these have cost saving benefits, they do not allow that same level of engagement. And our recent research shows that 78% of architects prefer to attend CPD seminars at their premises. So how can you get an architectural practice to book your seminar?
Most architectural practices have a structured approach to booking construction CPD.
Getting a practice to invite your company to present a seminar is a challenge. For a start there are over 500 building product manufacturers offering seminars, and many can deliver more than one seminar. Giving the practice enough material for more than 40 years-worth of seminars!
Most practices have a structured approach to organising CPD. They will look at their internal needs based around projects they are working on, new legislation, and the development needs of their architects. They will then plan a programme of seminars and book manufacturers to deliver these. The person who does this is the CPD coordinator. Rarely is this a full-time position, but more likely an additional role someone takes on.
A key aspect of getting your construction seminar selected is engaging with the CPD coordinator.
For our recent research report How Architectural Practices Engage with CPD we had our researcher phone over 100 practices and ask to speak to the CPD coordinator.
We found that in 24% of cases this person was a practicing architect, holding a variety of roles. Some were very senior, directors and partners, others more junior. Suggesting that while some practices treat this very seriously with a top person making the decision, others treat the job as a necessary evil.
In the other 76% of cases the CPD coordinator is in HR, office administration or even the receptionist. But just because they are not an architect does not mean they should be disregarded. Our research showed that they have a very clear idea of the subjects the practice needs, and unlike architects, they often welcome approaches from manufacturers who have CPD seminars to offer. These are important individuals.
Having invested in creating your CPD seminar, think about the people you are trying to sell it to. Take in consideration what they want to know and how you will contact them. By understanding how they use CPD gives you opportunity to make sure your offer is more appealing than that of your competitors.
Our most recent report How Architectural Practices Engage with CPD gives an insight into how seminars are selected, the role of accreditation, the important aspects of content and delivery.
The purpose of this report is to help inform your CPD strategy for Architects.