For years and years, the rumor has been that 80% of leads obtained at trade shows do not receive any follow up contact and even within the last month, I have read a number of discussions citing this statistic and arguing both sides.  However, I don’t believe it.  In fact, I refuse to believe it because it just doesn’t make any sense.

For those of you who don’t know, I help exhibitors obtain quality leads, it’s what I do.  I ask qualifying questions, really get to know the attendees who come into the booth (speed dating style, in a 2-7 minute conversation, typically), and then record the highlights so that the sales team back at the home office will know enough about their new prospects to help them feel like long time friends when they call to follow up.

Time Is Money

So, you see, I know this doesn’t make any sense because my clients hire me to help them collect and qualify leads.  That’s actually one of the biggest reasons most exhibitors spend tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars on their marketing efforts at conventions and trade shows.  So, to go through all of that effort in obtaining qualified leads and then essentially throw them away by not following up would be a serious waste of time and money.  My clients are smart, so I know they aren’t doing that… I also know my readers are smart, so you aren’t doing that either (I hope)… But think about the other exhibitors you know, are they wasting their time and money in exhibiting without following up on the leads they gather?

Time For An Intervention

In the September 2010 issue of Exhibitor Magazine there was an article published called “The Myths of Lead Management” in which they discuss new statistics that dance around that old rumor.  Here are a few of the statistics they provide:

“98% of respondents collect sales leads at their trade shows and/or corporate events”

“69% of respondents have a formal follow up plan in place for leads collected at trade shows and/or events”

“47% of respondents report that more than 80% of the leads collected at trade shows and/or events receive any sort of post show follow up”

“34% of respondents have a formal lead-scoring or lead-ranking process”

“28% of respondents measure and report the percentage of leads that convert to a sale as part of each event’s ROI”

Stop And Make An Effort

While these new statistics show that exhibitors could do more, they do show that a number of the exhibitors out there are off to a great start, certainly more than the 20% that old rumor suggests.  So, for those of you still citing this old 80% rumor in your arguments, please stop.  Instead, focus on helping the exhibitors you encounter to maximize their trade show efforts by making a plan to follow up and then actually following through with their follow up plan.

About the author

Robyn Davis

Robyn Davis was raised by self-employed parents, learning the ins and outs of business…

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