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CFA A Hit At ‘Meet The Buyer’ Event

IN the same way that tweeting was something that required a bird and face-time needed two people to be in the same room, the concept of a ‘meet the buyer’ event was something new to me until relatively recently. That is, until I attended the Facilities Management & Estates Platform 2014 which took place on April 7-8 in the heart of London.
Platform Events UK run three of these events annually. One based around the catering industry and two relating to construction. If, like me, you haven’t come across the concept before, I’ll briefly try and explain;
The organisers approach a wide range of facilities managers, many with vast property portfolios and establish what their main supplier needs are. They then match these needs with suppliers across the whole construction spectrum and arrange short, 20 minute meetings where both parties have expressed interest in each other’s organisation, product or service.
I guess the quickest way I can describe it is speed dating for businesses.
There were more than 50 companies (buyers) represented at the event and the CFA was one of the most popular supplier appointments requested.
Across the two days I spent time with buyers representing organisations as diverse as WH Smiths, NHS Trusts, British Airways, Best Western Hotels, Odeon Cinemas, Local Authorities, YO! Sushi, Café Nero, The Restaurant Group (Frankie and Bennies), Phones 4U, EE, Liberty Living (£1.5bn student property portfolio) and Sports Direct.
In fact, I had 19 meetings where I had the opportunity to present the concept of using the CFA supply chain.
As you might imagine, everyone who attended received some CFA literature and my networking carried on at the evening dinner.
I received a positive reaction from all of those I met and am currently following up a number of the meetings with the intention of formerly establishing commitments already made to only use CFA members.
The simplicity of our model was easy for the buyers to embrace. A vetted, quality supply chain, to deliver their flooring solutions at no additional cost to their organisations.
All they have to do is include the requirement to use a CFA member in their tender documents. Part of the beauty of our attendance at this event was that almost everyone there had some sort of interest in flooring.
Unlike other suppliers who were perhaps a little more niche, we also had another advantage in that we could offer wider guidance.
Many of my conversations were centred on the installation of flooring and contractor members, but on a number of occasions I was able to point buyers towards our list of manufacturers and distributors explaining that we represent the whole supply chain.
I am sure that ‘meet the buyer events’ have been around in one way or another for longer than I am aware of, but this was my first experience and so I can evaluate it based on that.
Perhaps it’s the ‘speed dating’ approach that made it work well. Or maybe it was simply that the team at Platform Events UK are clearly very professional in the way that they research the needs of buyers and match those to invited suppliers.
I’ll certainly be taking the CFA supply chain to the Construction and Design (new build) Platform scheduled for October 27 – 28, 2014. CFA members are of course updated regularly with this type of opportunity.
The CFA is a leading trade association representing the Flooring Industry. If you would like an application pack or further information on the benefits of membership, please visit our website or contact the CFA offices on

T: 0115 941 1126
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This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at