Five Signs A Vendor Is A Total Flake

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Selecting vendors to populate your trade show is often just as important as hiring people to help you run it.  After all, you can’t really run a trade show if there are no presenters on the show floor, can you? That isn’t to say you can’t afford to be selective with who you call on – quite the contrary, I’d recommend it.

See, the thing is, hiring a bad vendor can be worse than bringing on no vendor at all. Have you ever noticed how a single toxic individual at a party can create a black cloud around the whole affair? It’s sort of the same thing on your show floor; a single terrible vendor can make everyone else look bad by association.

As an event management professional, it falls to you to make sure the vendors you hire are of sound mind, body, and financial standing. Here are a few warning signs that you might want to look out for:

They Take Forever To Return Your Calls/Emails

While I certainly understand that people tend to get caught up in their own affairs, beware the vendor who seems to respond to you at a glacial pace. This could either indicate that they’re generally uninterested in your event or that they simply aren’t that great at remaining organized. Unless you absolutely have to have their brand on board, you should generally avoid scatterbrains.

They’ve Got Something Of A Bad Reputation

As with anyone you’re involving in your event, you should do your homework before inviting any vendors to attend. Check their industry, and do a bit of market research on what people think of them. If a brand is particularly controversial, it might be worthwhile passing them over – bringing them to the show floor might open up a can of worms that would be better off staying shut.

They Make Ridiculous Promises (Or Refuse To Commit To Anything)

There are two absolutely sure signs that someone’s going to prove unreliable: either they make sweeping, grandiose claims about what they’ll accomplish, or they flatly refuse to commit to anything. Check how your potential vendors relate to you. Do they talk hyperbolically about their accomplishments as a business – or about what they’ll bring to your show, or do they simply skirt about committing to anything definite?

They Demonstrate Unreasonable Expectations

Do they expect a legion of volunteers to help with setup and takedown? Do they demand an all-expenses paid trip and a five-star hotel? Do they believe that simply by showing up they’ll get guaranteed leads? Don’t bother dealing with anyone who demonstrates a ‘prima donna’ attitude, as they aren’t worth the effort.

Something About Them Simply Rubs You The Wrong Way

As an event management professional, a significant portion of your job involves evaluating and managing people. Trust your gut. If you simply dislike something about a person, don’t invite the brand they’re representing to your event. Something about how they carry themselves set off alarm bells in your head – ignore those at your own peril.