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Triggers Get Results

A Study on Psychological and Sales Triggers


No matter what market or niche you’re targeting, all of your customers are human and share psychological similarities that are pre-programmed. What I’m referring to are psychological triggers.

You might be familiar with them - Robert Cialdini brought them to light in his national bestselling book Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion. If you’re not familiar, the book outlines six principles of influence that every human is susceptible to (Source).

No matter how strong your resolve, the persuasion principles outlined in Influence strike right to the core and have been proven to achieve results.

Savvy businesses have adapted triggers into their sales process to increase conversions. Though triggers are often used at the point of conversion, like on a landing page, a pricing page, or a final sales call, they can also be used to reignite old leads.

As you can see here, Manpacks is using curiosity to get the click: 


It’s a fact: A portion of your outbound leads will get stuck in your funnel for one reason or another. Maybe life got in the way or maybe they just forgot about you. Regardless of the reason, they were interested at some point, and may still be a warm lead, if persuaded.

The perfect way to capture their attention and re-engage them is by using psychological triggers.

How Triggers Help With Sales

If leads always flowed straight through your sales funnel from prospect to customer, life would be easy. But life is complicated, and a funnel can have all sorts of spots where leads become stuck.

I’m sure you’ve heard your fair share of reasons why someone isn’t ready to move forward with your product, and it can be frustrating.

Psychological triggers act as a gentle nudge to keep leads moving forward in the funnel and are amazing at getting results. Take Starbucks, for example - they are a shining example of the trigger for building a community. To quote their CEO, Howard Schultz, “We’re in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people.” This trigger is no doubt in part responsible for the $16.45 billion revenue in 2014 (Source).

Triggers work because it’s impossible for leads to avoid the feeling that comes with them . They also help promote a shorter sales cycles and help close more leads.      

Here are six proven psychological sales triggers to help keep your leads moving.


Though we lose some of our childhood curiosity as we age, there will always be a part of us that wants to discover the answer to the unknown. This is called the Information Gap Theory, and it states that when there is something unknown, people generally take action to fill the curiosity gap (Source).

An example is to leave prospects wanting more, by only giving a small taste of what your product has to offer. Companies achieve this by offering free limited time trials to products. That way, the prospect can see the results first hand, and be convinced to stick with the product.

Social Proof

Social proof is a decidedly common psychological trigger used on almost every good website in the form of testimonials. Cialdini says, “If you can get people who are similar to the person you’re trying to persuade to speak on your behalf, it’s a lot easier for you than if you have to try to hammer your message one more time into a reticent mind .”

It’s also important to note that referrals or recommendations have the highest customer trust rating with 68% trust from online opinions (Source).

Many other sites like to inspire trust using social proof by showing the brands of companies they work with. Surely if that recognizable name will work with them, they can be trusted. Here’s an example from LeadPages using both testimonials and brands. 



We’ve all seen the limited time offers before, but do they really work? For the most part, the answer is yes. When there are limited product amounts, people inherently perceive them as high value.

It’s important to note that when an item initially appears as scarce and then becomes abundant, the perceived value actually goes down. For this reason, it’s important to either always make your items appear scarce or slowly increase its abundance.

Simplified Solution

Occam's Razor states that the simplest solution is often the best. Why, then, do so many businesses make it as hard as possible to sign up for or use their products? The fewer steps a lead needs to take, the higher the chance they’ll convert.

Tell a story

Everybody loves hearing a story, and the culture of storytelling has been with us for thousands of years. It’s no surprise that building a cohesive and exciting narrative into marketing has proven to be successful.

Take Audi’s commercial which uses the poem, “It Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Albert Guest. It takes the viewer on an emotional journey in just one minute! 



Fear works just like the rest of the triggers - by cutting through conscious thought to get an action without really thinking about it. Though scare tactics aren’t the most popular solution, and can be controversial, it’s important to create a consequence to inaction.

People have a fear of missing out, so if you can push on that point, it may be enough to inspire action.

Psychological triggers are great for obtaining a response, but there is also another tool which can  help generate leads. These are sales triggers.

Sales Triggers

A sales trigger refers to an event or action which opens and results in an opportunity to engage with a lead.

When prospecting, there is a big difference between a cold lead and a warm lead. Cold leads will likely regard your call as spam and you’ll have to fight tooth and nail for just a moment of their time. Sales triggers eliminate the need to any cold contact, and give a point of reference, so every contact is a warm lead. 

There are almost too many to list, but a few great examples include:

Job Change: If a prospect you’ve had your eye on updates their LinkedIn profile with mention of a new job, you have the perfect opportunity to touch base and reconnect. You could also monitor a company or industry for new hires and congratulate them as well.

These days people have a hard time finding a new job, so congratulating them on their achievement should be well received. 

Company Funding: New rounds of venture capital can mean new opportunities for everyone involved; however, additional funding doesn't need to be limited to venture or equity financing. It could also come in the form of bonds, notes and loans.

Technology Change: Corporate software partnerships can be lucrative ventures, so any time a change in vendor or a new software partnership is announced, there are opportunities available. The important thing is to be aware of these and act as soon as they happen. 

Product Development: Product launches are extremely important to the success of a business, so staying abreast of new launch events opens a lot of doors. Similarly, receiving approval from government organizations, like the FDA, to move ahead can lead to possibilities.

For each of these examples, having the event information along with the contact information gives you a reason to call. This means your reps aren’t cold calling, but rather, warm calling.

Sales triggers can also be generated by following news outlets and current events, and ideally delivered in real time to be as relevant as possible.

Cognism uses all of these sales triggers to your benefit. They not only use these four sales triggers, but many more, and are also able to create custom triggers for your ideal leads. You can see how many new leads you can get without paying a cent with their free trial.


Each of these triggers examples are successful because they challenge people in their belief, behavior or belonging, or alert you to real-time events. When leads are seemingly stuck in a sales cycle, it often takes a strong reaction to create movement.

 By using targeted triggers at every part of your business, you’ll be able to keep converting your leads into customers, as well as finding new leads at every turn.

So, what kind of psychological triggers have you used in your marketing, and what kind of sales triggers have you used to find new leads? Let us know in the comments below. 

Posted by: Cognism

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