Calculating Trade Show ROI


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"If you're not keeping score, it's just practice" – Vince Lombardi

Calculating your trade show ROI (return on investment) can be difficult for most businesses. Unless you take orders at a trade show, you must rely on accurate tracking throughout the year in order to figure out how valuable the show was for you. And because clients tend to need several different “touch points" before buying (seeing a magazine ad, hearing a colleague speak of your product or service, receiving a sales call, etc. ), it's tough to tell where the sale actually came from. You can, however, estimate your trade show ROI – here's how:

Meet with your sales team to determine a few things first

1. The average number of qualified leads it takes to get an appointment

2. The average percentage of appointments that turn into sales (your close ratio)

3. The average dollar amount of each sale

Now, here's the calculation

Multiply the total number of qualified leads by the percentage of leads it takes to get an appointment. (Example: 200 x 25% = 50)

Multiply that number by the average percentage that turn into sales. (Example: 50 x 30% = 15)

Multiply that number by the average dollar amount of each sale. (Example: 15 x $2,500 = $37,500)

Divide the gross sales by total cost of show to get your ROI ratio. (Example: $37,500 divided by $17,000 = 2.2 Your ROI ratio: 1:2.2 – for every $1 you spent, you got $2.20 back)

Warning! This calculation is black & white, and will only show you the dollar value of your show investment. When reporting your overall trade show ROI to management, you must also assign value to more non-tangible things like brand awareness, relationship building, total lifetime value of a client, or whatever other items of value your clients bring you. For instance, if your business does 50% of its sales through referrals, each new client you obtain may be equal to 2 new clients over the course of year.

Ron Adler has been working in the exhibit industry with Adler Display ( ) for over 30 years. Ron has designed and created some of the most unique and creative displays in the mid-Atlantic region including several Visitor Centers in Maryland as well as dozens of exhibits for museums and hospitals throughout the United States.


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