Trade shows can be very profitable. However, if you are not prepared, you will lose a lot of potential customers.


Post-show follow-up is critical to the success of a show.  Statistics tell us that less than 1% of attendees will actually buy at a show.  The corollary to that statistic is that over 99% of attendees put off their purchasing decision until after the show. 

Why exhibit then?  It’s really simple.  According to, in a typical show (specific to the software industry) 95% of trade show attendees have not seen a salesperson in over a year.  If we can assume that people coming to a show (especially vertical shows) are interested in your product, then exhibiting in a show gives you a chance to meet with and talk to hundreds of interested prospects in a single day.    Making a case for trade show exhibiting has been done over and over.  A simple Google search will return hundreds, if not thousands of documents detailing the benefits of trade show exhibiting. 

Thousands of dollars are spent on trade show space, graphics, literature, promotional items, and staffing.  In fact, the cost of running a booth at a trade show averages around $15 per minute.  Do the math:  an eight hour show is 480 minutes; if the cost of your booth space, graphics, literature, transportation, etc. is $7,000 you are already at $14.58/minute ($7,000/480 minutes).  That’s a big investment!  Is the investment worth it?  

Since less than 1% of attendees actually make a purchasing decision at the show, it would be safe to assume that post-show follow-up is the driving factor in determining a show’s effectiveness.  According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 80% of show leads aren’t followed up.   Amazing!  This statistic tells us that for many companies the trade show experience for their prospect ends at the show.  Companies will spend $15 per minute to capture the 1% of attendees that may make a buying decision at the show, and then ignore the other 99%!

In my next blog post, I’ll take a look at how CRM can help with the post-show customer experience.

Luke Russell
Resolv, Inc.

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