IER Awards 2018

Just recently we were nominated for THREE awards by the judges of the annual Innovative Electrical Retailing (IER) Awards.

If you’ve visited our website or any of our social media feeds any time in the last four months, you’ll have seen us promoting this quite heavily. Why not? Three awards? That’s unprecedented, especially as they were all for product training categories rather than the sales-skills training we normally get nominated for.

The IER judges based their nominations on the quality of the training – materials, delivery and results – and there we scored among the highest, as evidenced by the other finalists such as Samsung, Sony. Smeg, Miele, LG, Freeview, Beko.

Sadly for us we returned home empty-handed. To be honest, we weren’t likely to win, primarily because we hadn’t actually run that many product training sessions last year, certainly not enough to win the votes of enough retailers – who would have all been at the massive product training events run by those big brands.

However, there was always that small glimmer of hope at the ceremony in London’s Park Plaza Victoria Hotel this April 12th. There was always that voice asking ‘what if..?’. And no matter what the outcome, we’d rather go for something asking ‘what if..?’ than ‘What’s the point..?’ because that kind of thinking gets you nowhere quickly.

We won’t lie – we were all gutted we didn’t win. None of us are good at coming second, and as much as we tell ourselves how great it was to be up there with the big guns, and that we won the award for Best Industry Training once already – two years ago – the fact that we didn’t win a single one of those glass trophies was crushing.

For about five minutes.

Then it was onto the bar to continue networking with our friends old and new, to celebrate the successes of those worthy winners who had been given something to nurse on the train back home. And worthy winners they were too. We commend all of them, genuinely, and wish them all every deserved success. It’s difficult for everyone trading in the electronics industry right now, so every little victory is vindication of the hard work of everybody who strives to keep it all going and grow and be successful.

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Paul Laville from T21 Group runs through a copy of IER Magazine with CEDIA EMEA managing director, Matt Nimmons at the IER Awards 2018 gala ceremony

In the bar later we were told that, actually, we almost made it, that we received more votes than we might have thought. It was heartening to hear, and whether it was true or not we’re not the sort of people who give up easily.

There’s always next year after all.

But that’s not to say that we only do what we do for the sake of winning awards. Fact is we do it for the benefit of our clients, so that they can go out and win awards, and grow their businesses and retain employees who are the very best at what they do. That’s the way it should be, and we’re happy with that because our client base is growing steadily and we have some excellent relationships in place.

2017 was a very tough year – so was 2016 actually – but it’s history now and we’re moving on. 2018 already promises to see T21 grow from strength to strength. Our business has changed because the market has changed. Our customers are trying their best to respond to new customer (and employee) behaviours whilst all around them legacy retailing models are collapsing. More often than not, they’re coming to us, seeing T21 as their first choice when seeking advice and training, looking to us for guidance on how they can equip their businesses and prime their staff for the difficult transformations that lie ahead.

That’s probably the biggest change between 2015 (when we started) and 2018. If being nominated for a national award (or three) helps that happen, then we’re all for it, trophy or not.

Having said that – we do like to win…

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