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Monday, December 03, 2018
The flow of new techniques and products in construction is constant. What may have been a best practice 20 years ago today could be seen as unsafe and inefficient.
The team at TW Perry sees a critical need to keep customers connected with all the latest industry insights and developments, so they've implemented a robust, year-round education program that features a wide breadth of engagement activities.
"When I started at TW Perry 13 years ago, we had a few training days and had a lot of customer appreciation days," says Jen Purdy, marketing manager. "I said, 'Customers appreciate the training.' I really tried to help expand the educational program that we offered and really focus on it."
Purdy and her assistant plan each year's events in advance, stocking the calendar with training sessions such as "Contractor College" or "Architectural Workshops." Topics are chosen from customer feedback and the TW Perry team's input, with new courses being evaluated all the time. But some events, including the "Building Sciences" class, are contractor favorites and have been "keepers" for years.
"We're seeing quite a few return people," Purdy says. The building science class is almost [up to] 10. That's at the same location every year. The '[Gary] Katz Roadshow' and Contractor College' move around."
Teams at local TW Perry locations participate in the events, and attendees register with information about whether they've come before and whether they're a current customer. This helps facilitate networking and also allows local general managers to follow up with potential leads.
While the classes benefit contractors, product manufacturers enjoy taking part as well, getting in front of contractors and displaying their new productsand expertise.
"A lot of times, the vendors are more excited [to attend than the contractors]," Purdy says. "If I can get the vendors excited to support an event, I know that event will be successful.
"Most vendors, if they've attended an event and it was good for them, the next year they'll attend again," Purdy continues. "If it's a new vendor, sometimes we'll let them attend for free, and then next year you can pay for your table. I also do a survey of vendors at the end of the year."
Each event caters to contractors to help them build or reinforce valuable skills that will be usable on a jobsite. Continued strong attendance for the programs is evidence that the approach is a winning formula. However, it can't hurt that TW Perry has also developed a reputation among contractors for providing some of the best food at its classes and events, something the ProSales Excellence Awards judges took note of and something Purdy feels is important to draw folks in.
"We're sort of known for offering good food at our events. I definitely think it's important; it's an added incentive."
But the real draw is the educational content, something that keeps pros coming back year after year, learning from some of the best in the business.
Some companies have been so impressed by TW Perry's classes that they also send over new hires to learn from them, something Purdy encourages and actively works towards.
"The past couple of events, some companies have brought in some young guys who were new to the trade. I [also] invited the local trade schools to come to the installs; we like to see the younger folks."
With about 50 events per year and half of those dedicated to training, TW Perry has a stocked calendar annually and shows no signs of slowing down. Through its educational efforts, the company is able to build strong bonds with customers while helping them bolster their businesses with new skills and greater knowledge.