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I don’t think $500 per lead is expensive if the ROI is there. I would imagine that the type of client that does trade shows either does multiple trade shows or goes to the same ones every year, so makes their lifetime value quite high.

Only you can really answer what ROI is worthwhile.

What you must bear in mind as well is that not every lead will convert to a sale. It is important to understand your lead to sale ratio in order to work out the break even cost. If it is 20%, you need to spend $2,500 to get a sale. If your cost is $2,500 per trade show (I am completely guessing), and an average client uses you at least 4 times, are you happy with $10,000 for a cost of $2,500

The only other thing to think about is using a company that is solely focussed on providing you with leads/appointments can sometimes be less than perfect in maintaining your company image. Their methods are usually churn and burn. They know they need to get you an appointment, and so if it takes 200 calls, they will get through those as quick as possible, not neccesarily concerning themselves with the impression they leave on those that are not currently interested. This is just a general obsveration, and of course not all companies will operate this way