A Practical Approach to Making the Most of Your CPD Offering

From the manufacturer’s perspective, there are a whole series of benefits to be gained from offering CPD. As well as the obvious ones, such as introducing your company and product, there are also some more subtle ones, which are often not appreciated. For example, for a specification to remain firm it needs to be well written with unique features included. The CPD seminar provides the opportunity to highlight those unique product features and explain why they are important, justifying inclusion in the specification.

It is also important to remember that you are competing with more than 500 CPD providers and so your seminar must be compelling. That means selecting a subject with broad appeal and describing it in a way that presents the benefits of attending. The CPD seminar should not be a history of the manufacturer, a list of products or a sales pitch!

Technical advice is the key reason for a specifier to have a relationship with a building product manufacturer. CPD seminars are a proactive way to introduce your company and demonstrate technical competence. Specifiers want to learn about construction products, systems and techniques without being sold to.

Why should the construction manufacturer provide CPD?

Construction CPD is a proactive way to introduce your construction product. A way to present the unique characteristics of your product and demonstrate design solutions. CPD is an ideal opportunity to raise your brand profile among specifiers. And importantly presents opportunity to engage with construction decision makers and discuss projects. CPD allows your company & representative to position themselves as Trusted Advisor.

How can the construction manufacturer identify a unique topic that specifiers will want to learn about?

Start by reviewing what topics are already being offered, from this you may identify a niche for your product. We would also recommend using customer research, this could be part of a wider research project to inform strategy, or a simple online survey. This research can be used to identify what is of most concern to your target construction specifier.

Once you have identified concerns you can then focus on presenting solutions. Also remember to provide information on how your product helps meet new regulations, provides better design solutions and makes installation more reliable.

Ultimately you need to think about what the specifier will gain from attending – they are looking for answers to design challenges.

How can the manufacturer develop construction CPD content effectively?

Develop an agenda that is engaging, whilst also delivering the messages about your product you want. Use benefits to create interest, but explain features so that these can be included in specifications. Remember the specifier is looking for design solutions. Demonstrate these using case studies and customer testimonials.

We would suggest that the marketing develops the CPD content, but that they involve the sales team and technical team – you want ownership from both. Speak with them to include answers to FAQs in your CPD.

Remember that it is important to review the presentation slide by slide, as every slide has to deliver maximum impact. Take time to consider the words and images and how they are used in combination. 

What should be avoided when delivering construction CPD?

Unfortunately, construction CPD is not always done well, the content can often be too techy and the presentation dry. This may seem obvious, but it is important to practice the seminar. And ensure it is delivered by someone with technical know-how.

It cannot be said enough, avoid a sales pitch and engage with the specifier on their terms. CPD is a marketing tool, you are selling the expertise of your company and the presenter, not your products – that comes later. Engage with the specifier on their terms. Get testimonials from practices you have delivered the CPD to. Also make the booking process easy. Provide information in the form of emails, leaflets, posters for example, for the CPD coordinator to share.

Importantly, remember to treat the seminar as the beginning of the process, not the end. Continuing your engagement with the delegates after the seminar.