The 6 Secrets to Convincing Buyers to Pull the Trigger

The following advice was drawn from a book by Dr. Robert Cialdini titled The Psychology of Influence. The book presents the conditions that lead people to say "Yes" when given offers (like to hire you).

I am bringing these insights to your attention for two reasons.

  1. It will help you avoid saying "Yes" to offers that deserve a "No".
  2. It will show you how to get the most out of your marketing campaigns.

If our marketing systems fail to tap one or more of these triggers, the likelihood of reeling in new prospects goes into the toilet. As you become familiar with the triggers, ask yourself whether your marketing materials and website are using them.

Reciprocity means returning a favor. The trigger is that that we are DRIVEN to return the favor. It's almost like we don't have a choice but to return the favor.

This is why when someone you don't know gives you an unexpected gift or does an unexpected favor, you should be careful about what you are tempted to do in return. More than likely, the original gift was made with the intent of gaining something much bigger in return from you. Con men work in this fashion.

Dr. Cialdini tells the story of The Hare Krishnas. The are a religious sect (cult) that mill around airports seeking donations. They used to be easy to spot: shaved heads and long flowing robes.

Their fund raising method, which worked amazingly well, was to hand a traveler a rose, then ask for a donation. The simple act of accepting the rose created a powerful emotional obligation to help them. The best way to avoid giving them money proved to be avoiding them all together. They started dressing like normal people to offset this defensive action.

Regarding your marketing program, you can put the influence of reciprocity to work in many ways, not the least of which is to send business to your prospective customers. This is the power behind networking groups. They do favors for each other.

Another method, the one that you are currently being subjected to, is providing useful information to your prospects. That approach is known as education based marketing and it has been used quite effectively in every industry. Based on the poor marketing techniques of most contractors, a well executed education based marketing system is almost guaranteed to make you stand out.

Commitment to Consistency
Pay close attention to this one. It may transform your approach in every future negotiation and argument you are involved in. This trigger taps our need to be consistent to our word.

Once we state a position, we will adjust our actions and our opinions to backup our position, no matter how much new information arrives proving our original position was horribly flawed.

Here's how consistency of commitment affects negotiations and arguments. The moment your opponent states an opinion or position, it becomes emotionally locked in. It will be almost impossible to get him to change his mind. So, do everything you can to keep someone from stating an undesirable position.

Here's another amazing aspect of this influencer, simply stating a goal publicly greatly increases the odds that the goal will be achieved. Basically, we will work harder to achieve the goal knowing how bad we will look if we fail.

Here's how you should us this influencer in your marketing campaigns. Start off your prospects with small commitments that you can grow in size over time. Gradually, you will get them to the point where they will say they will hire you when certain conditions are met. Meet the conditions and they will hire you. In effect, their word becomes a subconscious contract.

Social Proof
We rely on what others think to determine what is correct. There is safety in numbers. If others are doing something, then it MUST be a good idea or at least safe. If others aren't doing something, then not doing that MUST be a good idea also. Once again, we are wired to follow the cues we see from those surrounding us.

Social proof is extremely important in your marketing campaigns. This is why testimonials work far more effectively than your own bragging. This is why word-of -mouth works best of all. Any time you fail to provide social proof, you leave an out for the lead.

The internet has taken social proof to a whole new level. The explosion of social media sites (MySpace,, YouTube, Angie's List, blogs, discussion boards, HubPages, etc) has created a powerful social proof PR system. As time passes, failure to generate positive buzz on the internet is going to be a bigger and bigger hurdle to overcome.

People are drawn to buy from people they like. Now, that's earth shattering news right there isn't it?

Ah, but the research revealed much more. Mainly it revealed that you probably grossly underestimate the impact liking has on buyer behavior.

A story about a famous car salesman drives this point home. Joe Girard was a car salesman in Detroit who used to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's greatest car salesman."

Joe's approach was surprisingly simple. Joe would send a greeting card every month to every one of his 13,000 former customers. The only message in the card was: "I like you."

The other angle of liking is that we are drawn to people that are similar (like) us. People are always more apt to buy from someone that shares their background, economic status, taste in clothes, political views, and hobbies. We just can't help it.

This is why it is so important to create a bond with your prospects and customers, to be genuine with them, to find common ground, and to avoid any instance of dissimilarity.

Research has shown that we all have a deeply embedded drive to follow authority. We are wired to believe an authority should be believed and followed. After all, isn't that how he or she became an authority, by knowing more about the subject than everyone else?

Here's how to put this trigger of buying behavior to use: establish yourself as THE authority in your market. You can do this through press releases, your website, and public speaking. Frame your advertising campaigns to promote you as the person people historically have turned to when they needed help with your specialty.

In the case of authority, perception is everything. If your prospects believe you are an authority, they will buy from you.

And we come to what is the most powerful of all triggers: the fear that we are going to miss out on a great deal. The fear of missing out on something pushes logic right out the window and turns buying into a purely emotional exercise.

Scarcity can be created many different ways. A time- limited price break. A limited number of people receiving a special packaged deal. A rare opportunity to work directly with the owner for qualifying prospects.

All of these techniques create urgency in your prospects' minds. They buy first, then ask questions later.

One word of warning - use scarcity with extreme caution.

As a contractor, you need to leave behind a trail of super-satisfied customers. Social proof and liking originate from treating past customers right. Make sure that whatever service you deliver WOWs your customer. Don't use scarcity to close the deal on in inferior offer or service. Use it to close the sale with someone who really should be hiring you.

Ron Roberts, The Contractor's Business Coach, teaches contractors how to turn their business into a profit spewing machine. To receive Ron's FREE Contractor Best Practices Newsletter visit