The trade show has been a long haul. You deserve a beer/wine/scotch/3-day sleep and is anyone really going to care if you pack up a couple of hours before the end? Yes. They are.
Let’s break it down for the different people/groups turned off by your premature evacuation:
Your business – There are numerous stories of deals being done with five minutes to go at the trade show. These happen, as visitors with a lack of tolerance for crowds, choose a quieter time to come to the show. Interstate visitors tend to come to the show multiple times during their stay. The initial visit is to shop around and then a secondary visit is to potentially ‘buy’. There is also a greater time to chat with prospects when the numbers have dropped off. The conversations can therefore be deeper and potentially more rewarding.
Prospects – Imagine if someone has come to the show to see your company, or they are at the show to obtain a product/service like yours? What message are you sending them? You have now lost a customer and given a free kick to your competitor. I would also guess that the news of your early departure may get relayed to other potential customers…OUCH!!
Other exhibitors – The look of an empty stand or one with packed boxes and banners is ugly. The exhibitors around you will be very annoyed and they may also decide to provide a little negative feedback about your company in the process….double OUCH!!
The Organisers – You may not always like them, but they are trying their hardest. They are also indirect marketers of your products. Having played the organiser role for close on 20 years, I was always trying to recommend my customers where I could. Packing up early wasn’t looked upon favourably and it is another potential marketing avenue that you burn if you treat the organiser with contempt.
I’ll leave you with an analogy. Pretend you turn up to a fashion store with five minutes to go before close. You know you are very late in the day and you want someone to cut you some slack. The shop attendant:
a) Makes you feel like they are already ten minutes late for something
b) Attends to you like you walked in at 9.05am
Over to you.