Getting your CPD subject right - A key to success

Getting your CPD subject right - A key to success

Estate Agents talk about the ‘kerb appeal’ of a property. The equivalent in the world of CPD is the title of the seminar. Get that right and you can expect far more enquiries.

Think of the process of selecting CPD from the specifier’s perspective, either an individual or a CPD coordinator. They have identified a need to improve the understanding of a subject because:
• A new project means they are working with an aspect of design for the first time
• New legislation means things have changed
• They have increased their use of a system and want to have a better understanding
• They have a limited knowledge within an aspect of the RIBA core curriculum and need to correct this

So, they start a search for possible CPD material. That might be through visiting a specific product manufacturer’s website. But its most likely to be via Google, or visiting one of the sites which host CPD. The probable outcome is a list of CPD topics from which they can make a selection.

How will they make their final selection? Step One will be to scan the list of titles and select those that appeal. Step Two will be to look at the name of the organisation offering the seminar and probably select the brand with the best reputation. Step Three, if there is a Step Three, will be to look at the description of the CPD course material and select the one with the best content and preferred form of delivery.

So, when planning your CPD seminar think carefully about the subject.
1. What do specifiers want to know about? Look at the most asked questions received by your technical advisory department or sales team. The popular questions are clearly a contender for CPD subjects.
2. What is already being offered by your competitors? Try to avoid the same subjects, otherwise you immediately reduce the chance of being selected. If you feel that subject is key at least select a title which is more specific, descriptive or appealing.
3. What new challenges are your specifiers facing and how can your products or services help them? This might be new legislation, or other drivers such as requirements for social distancing on site or labour shortages.
4. And what USPs do your products have which need to be promoted? But remember at this stage its benefits, not features, that matter.

Also spend time on the seminar description. This must clearly set out the learning aims, the contents, forms of delivery and duration. It not only helps the specifier to understand what they will get, it also demonstrates your organisation’s professionalism. Giving them confidence that they will get a quality CPD seminar and not just a run through of your product brochure.

The delivery options have become more important since Covid. Previously the majority of seminars would have been delivered in a face-to-face environment, probably in an architects’ practice. And research shows this is the method preferred by specifiers as they can handle samples and ask questions. With the increase in home working, the online seminar has become popular. This can take two forms either a recorded seminar without the option for Q&A at the end, or as a live delivery which is far more interactive. In future we can expect there to be demand for all three forms, so you need to make it clear which you can offer.

CPD can be an effective means of introducing your company to new specifiers and starting the process of engagement, leading to establishing your company as the Trusted Advisor. To ensure the best return on your investment of time and budget make sure you maximise its appeal with a compelling title and content.

Further Information
Chris Ashworth is founder of Competitive Advantage Consultancy which specialises in helping building product manufacturers to be more effective at getting their products selected. Services include bespoke market research, learning and development programmes a range of sales and marketing tools and consultancy to help implement change.

Competitive Advantage run an online CPD Mastery Programme, a step-by-step series of modules delivered over 8 weeks, designed to walk you through the process, ensuring quality CPD is developed and delivered cost effectively.

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