by By Tom Isler | June 01, 2009

NL0609 Trade Show bargainTrade shows are an even more cost-effective forum to identify leads and close deals than the Center for Exhibition Industry Research has reported.

After reviewing the data for "The Cost Effectiveness of Exhibi­tion Participation," a two-part study released by Dallas-based CEIR earlier this year, M&C discovered a calculation error that inflated the reported cost of identifying prospects and closing sales at trade shows by 5.4 percent.

The published report stated that the average cost to identify a prospect and close a sale using exhibitions is $2,307.19. But following an inquiry from M&C, researchers admitted the number should be $2,188.40. Without using exhibitions, the average cost to generate a lead and close a sale is $3,102.10, according to the study.

Dr. Matthew T. Brown, a University of South Carolina researcher who worked on the study and recalculated the numbers, noted that "the results still stay in the two-to-three ratio that CEIR has been publishing."

The study was based on a survey completed by 214 sales managers and executives from companies that have annual sales in excess of $50 million. Results varied widely, so researchers plugged averages into their formula, including the number of prospects identified per show (295), the number of salespeople staffing each show (6.74) and the average salary of a salesperson ($77,566).

The results also indicated that leads generated via exhibitions are often of greater quality than those generated by the use of other methods.

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