How to Maximize the ROI from a Trade Show

Thousands of dollars are spent to appear at large trade show events, but do you know where your money is going? Are the benefits of sponsoring an event greater than being an exhibitor? These are questions that cross your mind when determining how to get the most out of a trade show. However, if you don’t have a goal for the trade show, then how will you know when you achieve your objectives to get you there? Figuring out how much money, time, and resources are being allocated to a trade show is the first step in evaluating trade show performance.

How can trade show events be broken down into financial terms? Here is your guide to maximizing a total return on investment from a trade show.

Success Criteria

Are you traveling thousands of miles to exhibit at the trade show, or are you showcasing at a local event? Calculating your traveling expenses include flights, hotels, meals, bar tabs, etc. should all be totaled before and after the event. Add these costs to the amount you will be losing from going to the event. Will you be missing several days of work, or only a few hours? Are these costs worth incurring for the value of the event?

After considering the costs associated with trade show event, calculate how many deals would you need to close in order to breakeven, and offset the costs of the event? How long would each deal take to finalize? These questions will help determine whether or not traveling to a large trade show outweighs the value of a local trade show with fewer costs. For more information about budgeting for a trade show, read more, HERE

Sunk Costs

Whether you are an exhibitor, or a sponsor of a trade show, there are always booth reserve costs, as well as potential ticket costs. When evaluating the value of a trade show, don’t let these initial costs outweigh the benefits associated with showcasing at the event. Think about the registration fees and ticket costs as sunk costs.

Time Spent at an Event

Time spent at an event is always worth the risk. You’ll never know if your business is a good fit for a trade show until you go. Taking the time to research more about the event and understanding the target audience who attends is key to making the most of your time prior to registering. Finding out whether or not your competitor is attending is a key indicator in assessing the value of the event.

Cost of Standing Out

Is being a sponsor of an event right for you and your business? Will your business stand out more as a sponsor versus an exhibitor? What are the costs associated with becoming a sponsor versus an exhibitor? Here is where you align your trade show goal with how much more

money you will want to invest into the event versus the value you hope to gain in standing out. Are there other ways of standing out? Yes, there always other options to consider.

In both scenarios, whether you are a sponsor or an exhibitor, you have the option to spend more on creating an experience at your booth. Creating a brand enhancing experience for trade show attendees is all limited to your imagination as a business owner. Some businesses hire a digital caricature artist, others send flowers, other gifts, or integrate apps like Touchnote. For more creative ideas on standing out at a trade show, read more, HERE

Return on Follow Up

Compared to the costs spent on the event, the most important aspect of a trade show is follow up. Follow up contributes to over 90% of the value accumulated in exhibiting at a trade show. Having a solid follow up strategy is key to closing deals after the trade show. Do you have the direct sales skills needed to close a deal at and after the trade show event? If not, here is where you can make a major improvement to your trade show strategy. There is more to follow up than collecting names and contact information.

The key to closing deals both during and after the trade show is simplifying how many steps customers must take in order to purchase your product or service. Some ways businesses can simplify their sales process is by directing customers to products that meet their needs online, setting up meetings right away, or handing out general proposals with cost sheets. Your sales closing strategy all depends on how your business processes sales. For other ways you can create a personal and memorable sales experience, read more, HERE

Calculating a return on investment for a trade show all depends on your trade show goals and costs associated in reaching those goals. Having the skills to directly sell to potential customers both during and after the trade show is critical to your trade show strategy. As well as following up immediately with potential customers to schedule proposal meetings, or other sales process procedures. Don’t just attend a trade show, use it as a marketing and selling tool to help get the exposure you need to grow your business.

Feel free to reach out to us directly at with any questions you may have about how exhibiting at a trade show could benefit your business.