Sunday, September 26, 2010

Leaving Early from a Show

We've all done it (or at least thought about it): packing before show hours are over and being packed and gone as early as possible. Usually we consider this option because it's the last day of the show, things are slow and the aisles are empty.

You could be setting yourself up. Don't do it.

Case in point came from my friend, Joe. The other evening we were trading show stories and he recollected that one of his first experiences with a show was back when he was a teenager. Joe would go out on the road with his dad, a store fixture salesman, to set up, tear down and generally help out at local shows. On the last day of a show, dad left the hall early to get some packing stuff and get the car, leaving young Joe to man the booth. While Joe was holding down the fort, a buyer came by the booth. During the course of conversation, the woman bought a rather large, pricey fixture from Joe. It was one of the bigger sales of the whole show.

Another story comes from the old National Hardware Show in Chicago. This back when the big box retailers were just coming in and pushing out the smaller retailers (and changing the face of the industry in the process). This was a 4-day show that wound down (at glacial speed) on a Tuesday afternoon. Historically, many exhibitors would start tearing down before the end of the show. However, after one year when Home Depot made their baying walk on a Tuesday afternoon, that stopped. Those that were still in their booths and doing business, got to talk to HD. Needless to say, the early-departure practice ended.

The point is, if you leave early you may be leaving business (and money) on the table. Consider that you bought that space for all of the show hours and should squeeze every minute out of them.


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