This first time BTME attendee worked hard to justify his club's investment

This first time BTME attendee worked hard to justify his club's investment

By Jon Kiger, TurfNet’s Director of Media Sales and Membership and BIGGA member

Do you remember your first BTME conference? Did you have to justify your participation to your club? Were you unsure how you were going to spend your time there? It can be overwhelming if you don’t have a strategy for your time in Harrogate.

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Mead – head greenkeeper at Littlehampton Golf Club, a West Sussex links course founded in 1889. Michael found his club receptive to his attendance at BTME 2017 but was careful to make sure he would justify their investment – about £600 – in his professional growth and development.

For the first two days Michael’s goal at BTME was very specific: he had a presentation to deliver later in the year and wanted specific help with public speaking and creating a presentation with impact. Two full day sessions on those topics from international expert Lorna D Sheldon fit the bill. The education and one on one coaching he received in the sessions will be obvious to his members as Michael makes his presentation later in the year.

When I asked Michael about his plans for attending the many exhibitions at BTME he admitted he hadn’t thought much about his approach to visiting the stands since this was his first trip. As a veteran of many exhibitions, I volunteered to help Michael make the most of his last full day in Harrogate.

On Tuesday morning we met in the lobby of my hotel and started planning the morning’s visits. I explained to Michael that the Exhibition is an ideal way to meet with existing companies your club is doing business with. At their stand you can discuss any problems you may have, look at new innovations on existing products you own, or discover new products they may have available for sale. But like every good project we needed a plan.

We started by making a list of his existing suppliers. The club had just taken recent delivery of a new fleet of Jacobsen mowers so we found their location in the BTME guide. We did a similar search of other companies to visit and used the Exhibit Hall map to organize our journey.

At the Jacobsen stand we were immediately greeted by Steve Alabaster - Michael’s regional sales manager. In addition to talking about the new fleet, Steve showed Michael a new Ryan sod cutter. Michael explained that the club’s older model broke and that they had to hire a similar model. The two discussed the efficiencies of having the newer model onsite and Michael agreed to discuss the purchase back at the club.

The next stop was at Wiedenmann UK where we met with Chas Ayres, another sales manager in Littlehampton’s region. Michael explained that they had recently acquired a used Wiedenmann GXI 8. The two discussed a cheaper and more efficient way to service the belts on the model. That tip alone will save the club time and money moving forward.

One new item that Michael was considering was artificial turf for revetting the club’s bunkers. This is where we got especially lucky. I brought him along to a press conference at the Better Billy Bunker stand where we met DURAbunker’s founder/director Rhydian Lewis. He was there for the press announcement but sold the very material Michael was looking for. After a short walk to the DURAbunker booth the two were looking at the various options Michael could take back to the club.

Michael spent the rest of the afternoon on his own visiting other existing or potential suppliers. He wrote up a report of all his activities (education and the exhibits) and will explain to the club what they received in return for their investment and during his time away.

As he reflected on our time together, Michael said, “I enjoyed having a plan for visiting the exhibits and learning about all there is to discover at the various stands. This will certainly help justify my trip to Harrogate and may even convince the club that I need to attend for more of the conference next year. Thanks for all your help and interest.”

Michael it was my pleasure and I look forward to seeing you again in 2018.