Converting leads with subtle triggers may be more effective than a full-on hard pitch

Sometimes, it’s better to employ a more subtle approach to securing a good lead that will eventually result in a new customer. The proven “mental triggers” below can help you.

It’s one thing to go through the exercise of getting leads, as labour intensive as that can be. But that’s just the first step of securing an actual paying customer. Once you get that lead, you have to get into gear, harness all the information you have, and go to work to persuade that person to do business with you. And keep in mind that just about everyone else is trying to do exactly what you’re trying to do – so you must find a way to differentiate yourself. You must get an ‘edge’ somehow. There are all kinds of tricks of the trade for closing a lead. Most deal with what time you should call prospects, what incentives you should give them, and so on. But you may not know that in addition to those strategies, there are other more subtle ways to influence prospects and convert them into paying clients. Jeff Walker, an Internet millionaire, calls these “mental triggers” – and in fact, they’re around us every day and shape how we interact. Lets have a look at them.

Authority. Establish authority with your potential clients to help them arrive at a decision. Most of us have trouble making decisions, whether from decision fatigue or simple insecurity about particular choices. It’s so much simpler to follow others who know what they’re doing – it also helps us cope with our daily lives more efficiently. If your clients see you as an authority figure, an undisputed expert in your area, they’ll accept your guidance.

Giving. Next, you have to give something to get something. When people receive something, the primal brain kicks in and most feel they should reciprocate. Give any prospective client something of value for free – business cards, for example – and they’re more likely to reciprocate by giving you more business.

Trust. People like to interact with people they trust, both in life and in business. But trust takes years to build and really can’t be faked for a long time. If you can find a realistic way to accumulate trust with any potential client or lead, then you’re miles ahead of the game. Give some free advice, steer people to the right choices, and show them how they can save money on a particular job.

Anticipation. It’s often better than the actual event you’re anticipating. Try to build up anticipation in your interactions. Use the data you’ve accumulated about your leads and try to stoke anticipation – so that they’re actually looking forward to your next meeting, for example.

Likeability. As much as trust, people need to like you. Leads seldom turn into clients if they don’t like you. Again, this can be hard to fake or get correct from the beginning. Some of it has to be organic. Be honest, be responsive, be helpful, and show some interest in your leads as people, not just as paying customers. Find a connection (maybe you both like a certain sport) and build on that. Ask people about themselves, their businesses and their most difficult challenges – then listen sincerely and intently.

Rituals. People also like rituals and events. Think about the rituals you observe and what you find compelling about them. Try to replicate this feeling in your marketing initiatives and outreach programs. If you have rituals and events for your regular customers – say an open house or a hockey or baseball game – try to include your leads and foster some feeling of inclusivity. And who knows, if they see how much your regular clients value you, that’s the best promotion you can ever get.

Community. Take your potential clients and existing customers into your community. People like to belong to something. Sure, you’re after a business interaction, but a feeling of inclusivity can only foster good vibes. Look at their posts and like them. Share their new product announcement and so on. Establish a connection to a wider sphere.

Scarce products. Most of us, at some point in our lives, want what we can’t have. That’s why scarce products are always coveted. Build a marketing plan around something you can offer that your customers will covet. A new application, perhaps? Or some amazing finishing process that no one else offers in your regional market?

Reassurance. We all like to have our choices re-enforced. It reassures us. Find ways to reassure your potential clients that they’ll make the best choices by giving you their business. Get customer testimonials, recommendations, Facebook likes and so on. They all signal that choosing your shop is a good choice.

Finally, most of these triggers work closely together, each reinforcing the other. If you take the time to incorporate them into your marketing pitch, you’ll close more sales more often.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.