Written by Chris Ashworth, Competitive Advantage
Technical advice is the key reason for a specifier, typically architects and engineers, to have a relationship with a building product manufacturer. CPD seminars are a proactive way to introduce your company and demonstrate technical competence, while at the same time informing specifiers. In this blog we introduce the process for reviewing your seminar, ensuring your CPD delivers full value for you and the specifier audience, positioning you as Trusted Advisors.
Research and identify market requirements
Start by researching your target market, identifying the key specifiers of most importance to you. That way you can prioritise in-house seminars for key practices and offer online seminars to others.
This research can also inform you of the concerns of your key decision makers, allowing you to tailor the content of your seminar accordingly. The seminar needs to be relevant to the interests and concerns of the specifier. It is also important to choose a subject matter that differentiates you from the competition. Remember you are competing with more than 500 CPD providers, so your seminar must be compelling.
Develop your CPD content
Content has to be impartial, technical, factual, professional and relevant. Specifiers want to learn about construction products, systems and techniques without being sold to. 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.
Start creating the content by identifying all the points you want to make. Involve the sales team who regularly discuss these subjects with specifiers to ensure there is an effective coverage of the topic. Also engage with the technical team to ensure true representation of product benefits. Don’t worry about the length of the seminar at the early stages, you want to capture all of the information. Then you can work on converting this into an informative story.
Create the story
Take time to consider why you are delivering CPD and what you hope to achieve. Once you have defined your objectives pull together the story line for your presentation, tracking it against each individual 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 specifiers. This is more than design, as every phrase and word must be composed with care and complementary, but stimulating, imagery selected. And each slide must support your objectives, as indicated in your outlined story.
Fine tune the delivery
As you may present to a highly creative audience, it is important that the CPD seminar follows all the rules for a visually compelling presentation. 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 feedback.
Promoting your CPD
The final element before promoting your CPD is to write the description, which will be used by the certification body on their website. Avoid this being a last minute exercise. Think about what the specifier will gain from attending your seminar – clearer insight into a new regulation, the ability to design better solutions, greater understanding of advanced techniques or materials. It’s the old ‘features and benefits’ concept. You must present enough real benefits to make it a compelling, perhaps supporting this with testimonials from other practices that have received your seminar. And remember the delivery of the seminar should not be treated as the conclusion, rather the beginning.
Establish a relationship with the specifier
It is not sufficient to just deliver the seminar, you should define a set of performance targets for the sales team. It is important to make the engagement ongoing, by either offering further CPD seminars, providing further product information, or discussing specifications and projects.
It is also important to have a comprehensive set of materials to leave behind. This should include a copy of the presentation and any relevant technical papers. In leaving this material you will not be forgotten the moment the delegate returns to their desk. This material acts as a reference source and a reminder of your product and technical expertise.
Join us for a Twitter Chat on this subject using #SpecStrategy at noon on Tuesday 24th April.
The chat is an opportunity to ask experienced building product marketers Julie Mould (@CompA_Julie) and Rachel Ward (@CompA_Rachel) of Competitive Advantage (@CompetitiveA), for practical guidance on how to make the most of your CPD offering. Gain an answer to questions such as:
How to identify a unique topic that specifiers will want to learn about?
How to demonstrate technical competence whilst delivering an inspirational and engaging presentation?
How to drive specification, whilst avoiding a sales pitch?
Download our datasheet on ‘Making the most of CPD’
Written by Chris Ashworth, Competitive Advantage