When NOT To Go To The Trade Show

The business calendar is packed with thousands upon thousands of trade shows and exhibitions, any one of which could hold the key to your future business growth. The right contact, the most lucrative lead, the most exciting opportunity – they could be hiding anywhere!

Your natural instinct, then, might be to go to as many trade shows as you can. But take this approach, and you’ll only set yourself up for burnout.

Trade shows and exhibitions can be exhausting. Go to too many, and inevitably, your team will start to flag. And if your team cannot give 100%, then you might as well not be there in the first place.

At RAL Display, we’ve worked with hundreds of businesses from a range of sectors, and we’ve helped to plan thousands of trade show and expo appearances. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to make these occasions a success.

And this might come as a shock to you, but one of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned is when to say no.

A successful trade show really can take your business to the next level. But an unsuccessful trade show can be a dispiriting experience for all.

So here’s our guide to understanding when to say no to trade shows.

  1. When It's Not Absolutely 100% Relevant for Your Business to Be There Anyway

As we mentioned in our guide to preparing for an exhibition, when preparing for any trade show, your first step should always be extensive research. You should only attend the shows that are a perfect fit for you and your business.

And if you’ll let us quote ourselves: “Just as there’s usually nothing to gain by instinctively standing every show that comes around without thinking, it’s also not always helpful to target only the biggest-brand-name shows, expos, and exhibitions.”

So choose your battles wisely. Take some time to develop a list of ideally-suited events. Rather than spreading yourself thin across numerous events, focus all your efforts and energies on a handful of highly relevant expos.

  1. When it’s Simply Too Far Away

If you want to make some headway into lucrative new markets, a trade show can work wonders. But when extensive travel’s involved, you need to ask yourself – is it going to be worth it?

Think about the logistics – how much would it cost, and how long would it take, to transport your whole team and all the equipment you need to make the trip worthwhile?

You never know, the expense might pay off. But then again, it might not. If the figure seems astronomical, it might be wiser to stay at home, and seek other ways to enter these new markets. After all, we have the internet now. Do you really need to travel halfway around the world to attend a trade show when you could instead chat with international prospects over Skype?

  1. When You’ve Left Everything to the Last Minute

In our guide to preparing for an exhibition, we highlighted the importance of booking early. When it comes to trade shows, all the good spots tend to fill up quickly. So the later you book, the more likely you are to be placed in some obscure shadowy corner of the trade hall – a place that gets no footfall, and where you’ll really struggle to work your magic.

Leaving things to the last minute will also leave you with very little time to prepare. You won’t be able to research your competitors, to learn about past events, or to publicise your involvement on social media. So not only will you have a bad pitch, you’ll also have very little idea what’s going on.

If you can’t book early, it might not be worth bothering.

  1. When Your Whole Team’s Shattered

Trade shows and expos are so exhausting that even the most experienced members of your team may feel drained afterwards. You must give everyone enough time to recover after every show you attend.

Not only will this ensure that everyone’s fully refreshed in time for the next event, it will also give you plenty of time to act upon the various leads you collected at the last event.

It’s not common for two trade shows to fall in the same week, but it’s not unheard of. Resist the temptation to cram multiple events into a short space of time, and instead focus your efforts on making every event you attend as good as it can possibly be – quality before quantity!

  1. When You Can’t Find the Staff

If you haven’t got a dedicated sales team, attending a trade show can seriously disrupt your operations. Your team will have to take entire days out of their schedule – days when they could be engaging with clients or processing orders – that is, doing their job.

If attending a trade show will require such a major disruption to your daily business practices, once again you have to ask – is it really worth it? Can you spare the time, the people, or the resources?

At RAL Display, we’ve helped hundreds of businesses prepare for thousands of trade shows and expos. This is one area where we really know our stuff. So if you ever find yourself scrutinising the events calendar, wondering which shows are right for you, talk to us.

We’ll let you know if the show’s right for you, and with our expert knowledge and extensive range of fantastic solutions, we can help you to really make the most of any show you do attend.

For a friendly chat, call us on 0116 255 4640, or email sales@ral-display.co.uk.

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