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IWF Atlanta: CMA Professional Certification Program

7/16/2012 10:00:00 AM
Article by Dave Grulke

Professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants have begun their careers by going to school to gain the necessary knowledge, committing to continuing education to remain current.  They have earned their status by meeting skill and knowledge levels verified by independent third parties.

The path to receiving credentials under the Cabinet Makers Association new Professional Certification program is the way to prove professionalism and to advance your business.

CMA credentials offer a competitive advantage for any cabinetry or millwork shop, or custom woodworking firm. Assure clients that you are a reliable performer, and that you will deliver jobs as promised.

The training uses both live and online means to allow wood industry professionals to earn basic and master level professional certification credentials, filling a need in the market, says Dave Grulke, CMA’s executive director.

“There is nothing that addresses the entire business of running a successful custom woodworking or cabinet shop,” Grulke says. “CMA’s Professional Certifications address the entire business, and the all-important customer’s perspective in the program.  It’s a game changer for those who can prove their level of expertise by earning CMA credentials.”

The CMA Professional Certification requires testing in the major areas of business operations. For the educational component, participants have an option for live classroom instruction, at venues like the IWF show, AWFS, or the Custom Cabinet Conference, as well as online instruction. Here’s a sampling of the CMA business management sessions offered live at International Woodworking Fair this August in Atlanta.

 

Marketing 101 - Basic Advertising and Marketing Techniques

New customers are the life blood of any business. We will walk you through time tested advertising and marketing techniques and systems you can immediately install in your business that will consistently deliver new sales prospects. Through practical, easy to administer methods, you can build and easily maintain your personal, reliable source of fresh, motivated buyers that will continue flowing into your business and onto your radar screen as you need them. You will take away:
  • A better understanding of the role advertising and marketing play in your business
  • Where and when an inquiry turns into a prospect and is handed over to your sales department
  • How to identify prime targets and get your messages through to them
  • Basic techniques to move a target to take the action you desire
  • How to compare one media to another when it comes to delivering inquiries to your business
  • Low cost and no cost easy to administer time tested techniques that deliver

Speakers:
  • Dave Grulke, executive director: Cabinet Makers Association

Marketing 102 - Advanced Marketing Strategies for an Established Company

You have the basics and the business. Now it’s time to elevate your company to the next level by expanding upon existing clientele and creating additional opportunities. We will provide you with advanced marketing strategies and techniques that will build upon your current sales and marketing plans. Through modern and up-to-date methods, you can grow your customer base, and increase sales. You will take away:
  • Digital strategies for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIin
  • How to plan and follow up on event hosting
  • How to plan and implement co-operative supplier events
  • How to plan and implement co-operative industry partner events
  • How to implement co-operative showrooms
  • How to develop relationships with existing and potential clients
Speakers:
  • Joe Knobbe, senior project manager: Exclusive Woodworking
  • Sean Benetin, president: Millwork & More

Sales 101 - Qualifying A Sales Prospect

Someone has approached you about a project they have in mind. In an ideal world, everything from the first sentence of the conversation between the parties would go swimmingly, but we all know that is not always the case. As a shop owner, manager or sales rep, you need to determine several factors along the way, and the sooner you do that, the faster you can move forward with that person or move on to the next one.
This session is designed to give you the tools necessary to determine:
  • Is this a real prospect, a tire-kicker, a time waster or something better or worse?
  • Is the project a real one, or is it a pie in the sky dream by the prospect?
  • Are the timeline and budget workable and realistic?
  • What is the budget and who else is competing?
  • Why me and why now?
  • Do I want to work with this person on this project?
  • What are the keys to closing this sale?
Before you spend a single minute designing or pricing a project, you should have the answers to those questions and more from the prospect. We'll give you the techniques to help you separate the winners from the others.

Speaker:
  • Dave Grulke, executive director: Cabinet Makers Association

Finance/Insurance 103 - Cost/Benefit Analysis Systems for Major Business Investments

You are considering making a major investment in your business that would have a significant impact on your future. It could be new equipment purchase or lease, a major sales and marketing campaign, or involve new processes or new employees, and you want to be as sure of the outcome as possible BEFORE you commit yourself, your time and your money. Making the right move at the right time with the right resources is critical to your future success.
This session will outline and detail how to:
  • Indentify the fixed factors and variables in your investment
  • Understand the Cost/Payback cycle
  • Lay out the "What if ..." scenarios in a best to worst case order
  • Find the tipping points and develop a safety valve in case you discover you've made the wrong move
Comparing competing systems using impartial, pragmatic methodologies will lead you to the correct decision. This session will share several time tested ways you can use to make the right move at the right time.

Speakers:
  • Joe Knobbe, senior project manager: Exclusive Woodworking
  • Sean Benetin, president: Millwork & More

There are a total of 13 CMA-accredited sessions at IWF in 2012. The four above are among curriculum sessions totaling nine, with four other special interest sessions offering CMA CEUs. You do not need to be a member to attend any of these CMA sessions, but CMA members are offered discounted pricing for admission.

Certification is broken into two levels: Basic and Master, and for each of the two specialties: Cabinet Maker and Custom Woodworker. Credentials are conferred on the individual, not on the business.

Participants begin with an intensive business ethics session, and then move into the basic certification curriculum. The basic level graduates will exhibit advanced knowledge in business management, machinery, wood physics, design, finishing, safety education and the basics of measuring. Master level graduates must show expert knowledge in at least seven of the following areas:

•       Business Management

•       Tools

•       Portable Power Tools

•       Machinery (Master Level)

•       Shop Drawings/Design Drawings

•       Software

•       CNC Machinery

•       Marketing

•       Lean Manufacturing

•       Finance & Insurance

•       Shop/Job Site Safety

•       Green Manufacturing

Once an enrollee passes required testing, they are interviewed by the CMA Certification Board before their certification credentials are conferred. Certified individuals are authorized to add the professional designation to their names. Certification includes a three letter acronym:

CCM = Certified Cabinet Maker

CCW = Certified Custom Woodworker

MCM = Master Cabinet Maker

MCW = Master Custom Woodworker

To be eligible for the CMA Professional Certification, applicants must commit to continuing education. While there is no time limit to complete the education and testing for basic or master certifications, applicants and CMA credentialed professionals must earn annual Continuing Education Units to update their knowledge. The CMA already offers many workshops where attendees can earn CMA CEUs, including sessions at the Custom Cabinet Conference, AWFS and the IWF 2012 show. CEU sessions will also be available online starting in Fall 2012. 

The CMA Professional Certification program verifies to clients and prospects technical expertise, ethics and good business practices among cabinet makers and custom woodworkers, who are certified at basic and master levels. It helps build business, and is available to CMA members and non-members alike.

Find out more at: http://cabinetmakers.org/certification.html. 

Get full details about the CMA Certification Program curriculum and CEU sessions at IWF 2012 or sign up.  

To stay abreast of the CMA’s Professional Certification program and other events and activities by signing up for a FREE subscription to its monthly newsletter.


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