If you haven’t already, read part 1 here!
DLExpo – open for business
I love my job. A lot of people tell me PAT testing is money for old rope. But at the Expo, I could show people what I do and why it matters.
I’d laid four, nearly identical, power leads at the front of my stand. These were the main focus of conversation. Only one was safe to use – two had been recalled, and one was counterfeit. I probably spoke to around fifty people, and only one picked out the safe lead – and she admitted that was a guess. Not one of these people knew why the other three leads weren’t safe until I explained it. But I’ll bet they checked their computers when they got home…
Another talking point was the jar of fuses. We’d just tested an office with a lot of new equipment, and I had changed out 282 fuses in one week. Most were simply the wrong rating, one was a recalled fuse, and one was a counterfeit. This was not a surprise to us, but a lot of people think that if something’s new it’s perfect. Obviously, that’s not always the case. I had people guessing how many there were, and popped their guesses into a draw for a bottle of wine. They ranged from under 100 to over 2000 fuses changed in an average week!
The two closest guesses were Hazel Rayner, director of Aspray Darlington; and Norman Haggart of C&A Safety Solutions. I hope their wine is to their taste; wine gives me a headache, so I had to get advice from my brother on what was good!
I talked about socket covers, power leads, adapter blocks, heaters, extension leads, fuse ratings, and counterfeit goods all day. The day flew by. I was in heaven.
Yes, I know, I’m a very sad individual. But I noticed other stands where people had just laid out leaflets, and spent the entire day looking bored. I’m so glad I didn’t do that. I’m so pleased that I got other people to have a go at doing my job – just for a minute. It was an enjoyable day, albeit a long one.
The day finished with a good catch up with Andrew Corry, who I hadn’t seen for a long while. It was lovely to hear about his experience as a finalist in the UK Blog Awards last year, and he pointed me at a restaurant and a castle we’ll be visiting in the coming weeks! I’ve started following his blog, too, because he’s writing about businesses and attractions in the local area that I hadn’t heard of, and because I enjoy his writing style. He really puts you right there.
He’s got some great stories to tell and he’s a really nice guy to boot. We could happily lose a few hours chatting in a pub with him. And he gave me fresh insight and inspiration on promoting my own business – a win-win situation!
Once Andrew left, I looked around and realised other exhibitors were starting to pack up. The exhibits I’d collected over the last few weeks turned from desirable display items to a box of rubbish I had to lug home. The spare bits I’d packed had spent the day under my stand in the crate. And I had a lot of stuff to carry.
I suddenly felt sore and exhausted. I’d been late to bed, early up, and on my feet nearly all day. I hadn’t realised how hungry I was. And trust me, that’s not something I say often!
By the time we were all packed up, it was well after 5pm. After chatting in the car park before leaving, it was nearly 6pm. I got home and collapsed on the sofa with the dog.
So what did I actually learn?
- It can be fun to exhibit
- It is what you make of it
- Order business cards early
- Take a second pair of shoes so you can swap footwear
- Make eye contact and say hello as people pass
- Stand up when you’re talking to people
- Think outside the box
- Blogging – even about PAT testing – can take you to unexpected places
- Most people have no idea what I actually do
- Product recalls really need to be better promoted and explained
- You don’t need all those damaged extension leads
- Apples are a lot nicer than I remember
- There are a lot of fantastic businesses, charities, and attractions in the local area
Did you attend? What did you learn?