Two Simple Ways to Create Trigger Events Right Now

blog148_createtriggereventsIf you do, you will sell more.

All sales transactions come down to three choices:

  1. Your prospect decides to buy what you offer;

  2. Your prospect decides to buy from a competitor;

  3. Your prospect decides to stay with status quo, which means a no decision.

It’s all about the power of influence on the need to change.

Human nature resists change. From fear of the unknown and misunderstanding the need to change to lack of trust or poor timing, there’s a long list of reasons why we do not like change. Sales leaders and their teams are uniquely qualified to understand resistance to change because they deal with this universal trait daily through repeated rejection, foot-dragging, or mind-changing behaviors of some prospects. That will never change.

Then how do you help people make a change that’s in their own self-interest?

You must shift how your prospects perceive their situation, so they realize the need to change. I’ve learned throughout my sales career that the most effective way to cause a shift is to create a trigger event.

What’s a Trigger Event?

By examining the defining moment for each and every sale, we create trigger events.

Change cannot occur without a trigger event happening first─it sets off the entire chain reaction of the buying process.

Trigger events come in many shapes and sizes:

  • Legal changes compelling prospects to comply with new regulations

  • An economic shift, recession or boom causing prospects to rethink market positioning

  • A new competitor with a superior product at a lower cost

  • A disruptive technology forcing prospects to innovate

  • A strategic merger or acquisition

These types of major trigger events lead prospects to re-examine their situations and begin to look for solutions. Moreover, if your content marketing communicates the right message to address these shifts, prospects will bring you in.

For the most part, prospects do not change (or buy) until they have experienced a trigger event.

Smaller Triggers Work, Too

If you’re a business development champion and nurturing your leads with care and consideration, your antennae stays fine-tuned to happenings in your industry and your prospect companies. You learn what you need to know to advance the sale. Trigger events are happenings. They can be small and seemingly insignificant or major shifts as above.

In any given week, one of these small happenings can occur, creating a defining moment, and triggering a change in perception:

  • Change in personnel, especially at the C-level

  • An executive new hire

  • A new client/customer win

  • Building permit issued for a new facility

  • Closing of existing facilities

  • Missed earnings report or sudden drop in revenues

  • An impending IRS audit

If you pay close attention to your own busy work weeks, you can create a list of trigger events because they pop up all around you. However, in my experience, salespeople tend to find that trigger events aren’t immediately obvious. Your prospect may bring you in because something has occurred in his organization, but you’re not sure why. Simply ask.

Create a Trigger Event Mindset

Become sensitive to trigger events. And over time, you will develop a mindset─fine-tuned antennae─to pick up on those happenings that affect, both positive and negative, the well-being of your top prospects. Here’s a list of useful questions to continually ask yourself as you work to create trigger events:

  • What key problems are my prospects telling me about?

  • What key problems are my prospects not telling me?

  • What individual events have occurred behind each problem?

  • What issues do C-suite executives talk about?

  • What do they want to fix, accomplish or avoid?

  • What drags down their profits that my product or service can fix?

  • Where can my prospect increase revenues?

  • What business processes can my prospect improve?

  • How can I help my prospect improve and gain a competitive advantage?

  • What big dangers lurk in my prospect’s industry; how can we minimize the impact?

Two Simple Ways to Create Trigger Events

First, let’s talk about Google Alerts. Okay, okay, I know, it’s not the latest technology; it’s been around a while. Even so, lots of salespeople I meet do not use it. And it is so simple.

Google Alerts is a “content change detection and notification service, offered by the search engine company Google.” This service allows you to setup alerts, based on keywords, which can be emailed to you throughout the day. You get updates on trends, products, news articles, competitors, research, or blogposts matched to the keyword or phrase you have selected.

Key-in your prospect company’s name, a key phrase of interest, and watch your knowledge base expand. Google Alerts is a hidden star in Google constellation of services.  Use it and be informed. In effect, your awareness creates the trigger event.

Second, I have become a champion of InsideView, an SaaS technology platform that’s revolutionizing lead enablement, among other outcomes.

In its words, “Aggregated from more than 40,000 sources, InsideView Targeting Intelligence empowers you to work, informed. It makes businesses smarter, sales and marketing teams more focused and effective, and pipelines stronger than ever before.”

Regarding tracking connections, it’s LinkedIn on steroids. Regarding research and insights, it’s the Library of Congress tenfold. You can even “automatically clean your CRM data.” Try it, and watch how it changes your business development strategies and tactics.

Once you are in a mindset of regularly identifying trigger events, you craft your sales messaging to raise awareness in the prospect’s mind of the need for your solution, which starts the chain of events that will create the trigger.

You’re planting the seeds of the sale at this stage of awareness, or what we call the Cognitive Thinking stage when prospects seek to understand a situation. Too many salespeople uncover a need they think is shared, jump to sell a solution, then wonder why the prospect reaches no-decision.

A no-decision means your prospect wants to remain with what he knows, status quo. And that’s when you need to make status quo an unsafe position─armed with unassailable evidence and thoughtful insight that you cultivated by paying attention to trigger events.

Trigger events are all around us. We’ve got a big one coming up November 8. One can only imagine the chain of events that event will trigger. Stay tuned and stay focused.

See you on the upside,


For more information, go to
Or call William L. MacDonald in San Diego at PleinAire Strategies LLC at 760.340.4277 or 213.598.4700

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