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3 Minute Read

What makes a visitor stop at your stand - or keep walking?

3 Minute Read

201812 Stop or keep walking past

When people walk past your stand, they make a decision on whether or not to stop and visit, either subconsciously or unconsciously.

In less than 3 seconds, that choice is made. Much of what they base that choice in never really registers as a solid thought, but the choice is made regardless.

They stop to visit and check out what you are offering. Or they keep on going.

What makes them keep walking? What makes them stop? Let’s break it down.

  1. Brand
  2. Size of stand/how many people are already there
  3. How new or unique your display is
  4. What’s happening in your stand
  5. Familiarity
  6. Cleanliness (or lack)
  7. People

Related Post: How exhibitors soar to success with sensational results…

Brand: if they know your brand, they already have an impression. They will most likely have an emotion tied to the brand, be it positive or negative.

It could even just be neutral. In either case, the brand itself is part of that judgment.

Size of stand/how many people are already there: if a small crowd of people are milling around your stand engaged in some sort of activity, or even simply listening to a single activity such as a speech, they may decide to join.

Nothing draws a large crowd like a small crowd.

Humans are social people and our curiosity makes us want to "get in on the fun"

How new or unique your display is: if they come around the corner and see something they’re not expecting to see, it may impact their decision on whether to stop.

The display itself can be a big part of that subconscious process.

Newness counts to a degree. New graphics, clean look, something different to what they’ve seen before.

What’s happening in your stand: something interactive, something hands-on can cause people to impulsively stop to find out what its about.

  • VR headsets.
  • Spinning wheel.
  • Quizzes.

Anything that lets people get involved, even if only for 30 sec.

Familiarity: of course, familiarity can count, too, especially if that familiarity is of a positive nature. If they’re familiar with your sales team, that can draw them in.

Having a familiar face in your sales team that a lot of prospects and clients will recognise can be a massive draw card.

Cleanliness (or lack): clean floors, fresh and wrinkle-free graphics, bins that aren’t overflowing all create a positive impression.

Clutter, dirty, broken, old or frayed exhibit pieces can put people in the mind of being repelled.

They may not even know why, but they’ll subconsciously steer clear of something that their mind recognizes as distasteful. Something that’s not clean can repel.

People: your sales staff on the floor are critical in getting tradeshow visitors to stop or not. A well-trained staff knows how to ask a good opening question, and how to engage.

A great staffer will override other flaws in your display, such as an older exhibit, minor lack of cleanliness, unfamiliarity with your brand and so on.


With thousands of people walking the floor at a trade show, everything you do and everything that they can see in your space can influence their decision on whether or not they will stop.

A small change can add up to a big difference in your response rate.

If you could increase your visitor rate by 20% just by having a clean stand, would that make a difference?

If you could triple your leads by doubling the size of your space and refreshing your display, would that be worth it?

We’ve seen it happen.

Every little thing counts. So does every big thing.

What is drawing visitors to your booth?

And what is repelling them without you knowing?

Take a closer look next time.