Exhibiting is the Most Cost-Effective Way to Grow Your Business

July 9th, 2014 by Interex Exhibits


Trade Show Exhibiting

With the many expenses and overall high cost associated with hosting a trade show booth, it can sometimes be easy to
forget why we do it.

First, let’s remember that trade show marking gives you a foot in the door with potential customers—a face-to-face meeting the likes of which are decreasing in our ever-digitizing marketplace. Potential customers come directly to you and your trade show booth, and in doing so, they eventually help make an impact on your bottom line.


A new study reminds us that the cost of generating and converting a sales lead garnered at an exhibition is less than a lead developed through other means. Not only should businesses be attending exhibitions, but they should also be using trade show booths as a primary means of identifying potential customers.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel & Tourism Industry Center at the University of South Carolina conducted this survey for the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) to determine the cost-effectiveness of trade show exhibiting.

There were 214 qualified survey participants—that is, sales and marketing managers at firms with annual sales above $50 million. These managers were asked how many people visited their trade show booths per year—the average answer was over 20,000 visitors.

Off the bat, survey respondents already seemed to understand the benefits of trade show exhibiting. A majority had the perception that trade show booth exhibits both increase brand recognition and assist in gaining or maintaining market share. They also believed that fewer sales calls were needed to close sales on trade show leads because of the face-to-face interaction.

The survey results supported these perceptions and provided more detailed supporting evidence.

Generating Leads

The study revealed that an initial in-person visit with a potential customer (via trade show booth) costs $96. This figure includes exhibition construction, storage, transportation, exhibit space, staff salary and travel. To identify a lead by other means, the figure is significantly higher at $1,039. This includes the cost of identifying a prospect before the first sales call is made ($443) and the cost of contacting a prospect in the field ($596).

Converting Leads

Next, the researchers needed to determine how many sales calls it generally takes to close a sale. The results were as follows: an average of 3.5 calls with an exhibition lead and 4.5 calls without an exhibition lead.

So all told, the cost of generating and converting an exhibition lead is $2,188—this combines the cost of initially identifying the lead at the trade show and making those 3.5 additional sales calls.

Meanwhile, the math on a non-exhibition lead comes to $3,102—this includes the higher initial cost as well as the extra sales call(s) needed.

Bottom Line

The bottom line for you is that according to this study, the soup-to-nuts cost of lead conversation through trade show marketing saved these companies approximately $914 per new customer. Trade show exhibiting provides direct interaction with customers who come to you. It’s worth the cost, both in principle and practice.

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