We have a long history of partnering with the CRU organization which is part of why we get so excited to attend the vendor fair every year. If you don’t know them, CRU (Campus Crusades for Christ) is an awesome international ministry passionate about connecting people to Jesus. Their ministries range all over the board from student campus groups to city ministries all the way to their most recent addition, the Jesus Film Project. With being the large national ministry they are, CRU holds a long list of trusted partners and every year they invite their partners to the headquarters located in Orlando, FL for a vendor fair. This gives CRU staff the opportunity to learn more about all of their partners.
Last year, we met tons of new faces and got to educate the staff on what we do. Meeting people who haven’t come into contact with us brings about a lot of educational conversations and tends to make the focus of the event, for us, heavy on sharing “what we do.” Leading into this year’s event, that was pretty much the expectation. Amy (One of our Car Buying Specialist) and myself (the Marketing Coordinator) packed up our flip flops and our spinning prize wheel and headed 1,000 miles away to Orlando from Indy, ready to talk about what we do.
Cru does an amazing job making the fair a fun and welcoming environment with tasty food, a rockin’ DJ, and a beautiful view. On top of all that, you add a spinning wheel with prizes to be won and you’ve got a pretty good vibe.
With the vibes in check, we got set up and rolling as it quickly became evident that this year’s event wouldn’t be the same as the last. Right off the bat we had people come up to our table and introduce themselves; they had bought a car from us and wanted to offer a thank you. We asked everyone who came by our booth if they knew about MATS and in response, we were welcomed with countless smiling wave offs followed by something like “oh yeah, MATS! We know you guys.” With familiarity comes a lot more trust and a little more openness. Because of that familiarity, we were blessed in conversation. So many cool convos with people were had; ones that went deeper than just us talking about “what we do.” We got to experience the beauty of a trusted and nurtured partnership. There were people who had done business with us, there were people whose friends had done business with us, and there were people who were excited to do business with us in the future. That foundation of familiarity took short 45 second shpeels into 5 minute long chats. It felt like we were right at home.
One conversation that stood out was a chat we had with someone who did NOT buy a car through us. He still had a grateful tone in his voice as he explained that through working with us to find him a car, he learned a lot. Our rep walked him through the process and the result for him was an understanding that, financially, it wasn’t the right time. He voiced how relieved he was that we didn’t force the issue and how he was grateful to have learned so much about the type of car he really was wanting to invest in. You’d think a more victorious conversation would have stood out the most, but there was something special about hearing someone excited to have worked with us when they didn’t even buy a car.
We still got to talk to new staff and explain the ins and outs of how we can find the right car, but the day didn’t seem to revolve around that. It was rewarding to hear what people had to say about us based on their own experiences or from things they’d heard through friends and family.
We’re so thankful to have worked with Cru for 30+ years and from the perspective of someone who attended their first vendor fair as a part of MATS, I’d say Cru and MATS make for a honoring partnership. We extend a big thanks to everyone apart of CRU who organized the vendor fair and to all the folks who came out, chatted with us, and made our time in Orlando a blessing.
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