A CED Imposter at FutureScape!
In hindsight, I think it was largely due to the knowledge of my new colleagues; they don’t just know what we sell, they know the products inside out - when and where they should be used, what are suitable alternatives, what sizes and thicknesses things can be cut at and all this technical terminology I never knew existed.
I saw this fountain of knowledge evidenced perfectly at FutureScape, an exhibition for the landscaping industry, where companies come to showcase their services and products – where people can ask questions and get expert answers. Although I have attended a show or two for unrelated industries, FutureScape was the first landscaping event I have been to and the first time I have attended as an exhibitor.
For somebody who can get lost in their own back garden, finding the venue went without a hitch. However, the nerves kicked in when I rolled down my window to talk to the very polite man directing cars as they entered the car park, when I had to say that I was here as an exhibitor. I felt like I was an imposter.
Heading up to the building, I wasn’t really sure what to expect or what would be expected of me. The very helpful desk that was situated as you entered the building directed me to ‘my’ stand, where my colleagues and exhibitors badge were awaiting me.
I was quite nervous about putting on my lanyard, telling the world that I was part of CED. As soon as that badge was on, I knew that people would expect of me what CED have become renown for – absolute expert advice and knowledge and I was worried about letting down the team.
It wasn’t long before our stand started gaining visitors and luckily, we were very well staffed so I had the opportunity to observe, listen and learn. Throughout the day, I had the privilege of hearing and seeing the passion in which my colleagues spoke to those enquiring, the way in which with just two simple questions (“who’s it for?” and “what’s it for?”), so much advice could be given. I truly believe that these two qualities were clearly evident from every person from CED who was at the show, and it is this, along with the outstandingly beautiful and quality products that we have to offer, make me proud to be part of the team.
I won’t lie; I was hesitant about attending the show as I thought it would involve selling and sales was never a field that I felt comfortable in. However, it wasn’t long before I witnessed that this wasn’t what the show is about, at least not for CED. The people who were manning the stand were not sales people, they were managers, the managing director and the marketing team; who together, didn’t make it feel like we were trying to pitch our products, but instead provide information and solutions to those in need of one.
Not only was it an enlightening experience to hear the advice given from my colleagues, it was also very interesting to see the relationships between other companies exhibiting and members of our staff. It was clear that there is a huge amount of respect within the industry, even amongst competitors and it was really refreshing to see.
I had the opportunity on several occasions to walk around the show, to see companies who’s names I have seen and perhaps even interacted with on social media in person – to put a ‘company face’ to their name so to speak. I am not naive enough to believe that CED are the only natural stone supplier, and we certainly weren’t the only supplier at FutureScape. Being able to speak with and look at the stands of our competitors was extremely valuable; not just for inspiration and keeping up to date with what they are doing, but to recognise that we all have a place in the market and that we all have something to offer, even if some of what we offer overlaps.
Throughout the day my nerves dissipated and I begun to enjoy myself, knowing that I had the back-up of my colleagues should I be faced with a question that I didn’t know the answer to. I enjoyed watching and listening to my colleagues talk about their passion and being able to share my love of our products and landscaping with like-minded people.
As much as it was a success for CED, I also feel it was a valuable personal experience and I would be happy to attend our next show as an exhibitor, hopefully feeling a little less like an imposter next time…...
Written by Stacey Welch, Digital Marketing Assistant and exhibition imposter.