If you are at a major three to four day trade show, before the trade show is ended you are going to be contacted by the trade show management to have a meeting to discuss the trade show and to give you an opportunity of choosing your booth, or making a commitment for next years trade show.
Before you make a commitment regardless of what your response was at this show you should see who else will be making the commitment for next years show. It is not uncommon for trade show producers or organizers to offer “deals” to have a major company participate in the trade show.
If the show was successful, and you were pleased with the results do not be quick to make a commitment until you see who, among the major companies will be exhibiting next year. When you know that, then you know that there will be additional traffic, other then who you have invited that you anticipate will be coming to this trade show. As I have said many times, trade shows change from year to year. That is why you have to continue to do your due diligence for every trade show, regardless of the size or the cost.
In your Newsletter, “Tips from the Booth” you have spoken about Return on Investment (ROI). What are some of the criteria that you use to come up with an ROI for a trade show? I have been requested by management to now “Justify” the investment being made in Trade Shows. I know we have gotten leads that have produced orders, but my management feels that the cost for these leads is much too high for the amount of effort required. Can you help me respond to these comments?
National Sales Manager
There are many ways that companies justify their participation in a trade show. Some are at trade shows for the exposure, some for the association. What I mean by this, a company takes a booth as close to a major company as possible so that they can get some of the suspects going and coming from the major company’s booth. Other’s go to a trade show because their competition is there. Why they think that is a reason to justify this type of expenditure is still a mystery to me. If you are going to a trade show to generate opportunities, then this is where I think an ROI is most beneficial.
The simplest way to calculate an ROI is as follows: 1) Total all of the expenses associated with the trade show and divide the number of leads you brought back. This cost per lead can be any where from a few hundred dollars, to thousand of dollars per lead. 2) Then you have to consider the cost to manage each lead. 3) If you make telephone call, send an e-mail or put that person on your newsletter list, these costs have to be taken into consideration as well. FACT: According to Sales and Marketing Magazine it costs a company anywhere from $550 to $850 for a sales person to make a sales call. I know it cost a lot less to obtain leads from a trade show. Don’t forget these are “qualified” leads as well. The question you have to ask yourself and your management, ‘How much does it cost the company to obtain a qualified lead?” I am confident if you review what has transpired at some of your past trade shows, and look at the number of qualified leads that were generated you will be impressed by how easy it is to justify the cost of a trade show and the cost per qualified lead. Hope this is helpful
To your continued trade show success
John Hill, Trade Show Coach