Ian Pullen

List of brain triggers

_ Round Up The Herd – You saw this in the last chapter. Teenagers all want to wear the same sneakers, only the crowded clubs seem cool, everybody wants an iPhone. What is it about humans that they love to run with the herd? Trigger this response with statements about how many customers you’ve had so far, how orders have poured in, how high you rank in popularity compared to the competition.

_ The Buddy “Bump” – You can “bump” up the likability of your product if friends, authorities, or even similar customers give your product a conspicuous nod of approval. Include pictures of people like your prospect using the product, tell the down-to-earth success stories of those similar customers. This technique is everywhere for a reason.

_ Cool-Crowd Appeals – Likewise, you can increase the appeal of a product if you can show that the “cool crowd” likes it too. In this case, it’s not the “people like me” appeal that’s working, but “people like I want to be” angle. Like the other triggers, this isn’t a conscious response. Most of us just want to share in the glow of greatness. It’s in our DNA.

_ Force The Positive – Ask a question, any question, that’s going to get a “yes” response. And ask it early. Relevant questions may work even better, but research shows that almost any time you can get someone to say “yes,” they’re much more receptive to the rest of what you have to say. Just saying the word has a bond-building effect on both people in the exchange.

_ Irresistible Consistency – We hate to be seen as inconsistent, simply because consistency is key to building trust in a relationship. Which is why so many who use the “yes” technique above ask small questions that they know they’ll later refer back to so they can get a larger commitment. e.g., “There’s nothing like ice cream on a hot summer day, am I right? It’s one of the sweetest memories any child could have.” And later, “You agreed with me about the cool satisfaction of a cone of ice cream in summer, I’m sure. Or you wouldn’t have read this far. That’s why I want to show you the new auto-cranking ice cream maker from…”

_ The “Because” Clause – Dr. Robert Cialdini found, in one of his studies, that dropping the word “because” into a rationale — even for an explanation that’s irrational — had the strange effect of getting people to respond to even unusual requests. In his case, his students used the trick to get other students to surrender the copy machine in the library. (e.g., “Can I jump in front of you and copy these 25 pages in my book? I need to because my parrot has dysentery…”)

_ Give a Reason Why – On a related note if you can tie your “because” to a rational reason why you’re doing something or claiming something, all the better. We instantly crave justification whenever we see some change or action taking place. Which is why giving a compelling reason adds a feeling of solidity to those claims.

_ Maintain the Mystery – No matter how cliché you think it is, teases and opportunities that are “hidden”… “undiscovered”… and “secret” have pulling power. Secrets capitalize on our fear of missing out or not being included. Shared secrets (real ones) help develop bonds.

_ Achilles Heel – Have you ever noticed how the comedians who make fun of themselves make us laugh harder and last longer? Making mistakes publically embarrasses us. But seeing others make mistakes makes them seem more approachable and relaxed. If you’ve got a weakness or you’ve made a mistake that doesn’t destroy your credibility, feel free to mention it as part of your “story.”

_ The People-centric Story – Tell stories. That’s an age-old piece of selling advice, and a good one. We all find stories hard to resist. But maybe one of the reasons stories work is not just because they throw suspense into your sales pitch, but because stories are naturally centered around people. When you make a pitch, you want to show the human side of the product experience whenever possible. Get the people in there. Give them names and make them real.

_ Real-Deal Speaking – Have you ever noticed how hard it is to fake sincerity? Take a piece of copy you’ve already written and read it aloud. Tape it and play it back. When you write about a product or an idea you can get behind to people you’d genuine like to help, it sounds a whole lot stronger than when you try to sell something you don’t care about… to customers you don’t care about either. It’s like hearing someone smile over the telephone.

_ Selling to Wants vs. Needs – Imagine you’re selling a weight loss program. People with a weight problem usually need to hear that exercise and diet are proven ways to get fit. But they often WANT to hear that it can be easy, fast, and painless. Many great products have found ways to join the two. But the sales pitches for even the best of those products still target the latter.

_ Genuine Interest – It’s true, you can fool some of the people, some of the time. But more often, most people can spot a self-serving phony. If you pander to prospects, if you’re only out for yourself, if you don’t care about the customer or the quality of your product, they’ll eventually figure you out. And punish you accordingly. The more you do care, the more that will shine through in your pitch.

_ Sell Hope – It’s easy to be a cynic. And a pessimist. And it can certainly make one feel self-righteous. After all, you’re just realistic, right? No. The more realistic choice would be to admit to yourself that cynics are a dime a dozen, and what folks really want is hope. A promise of a solution. A glint of sunlight. That’s not a touchy-feely insight. It’s just a tested fact that, at some point, even the most fear-driven, curmudgeonly pitch has to promise something at some point. Hope triggers action.

_ “Praise Nuggets” – Alternately, you could call this the “Aretha Franklin” trigger. Because what did she sing about? R-E-S-P-E-C-T. We all want it. We even crave it. And you’ll want to make sure you give it, both directly and indirectly, with little hints that you appreciate your prospect’s time, judgment, integrity, and abilities. Don’t lay it on too thick or you’ll sound fake or manipulative. But show you know there’s a person with opinions on the other end of the transaction. And that you respect them. People feel best about those who make them feel better about themselves.

_ Sensory Proof – The eyes, they say, are the window to the soul. They’re also one of the only six entry points of the human experience. We see. We smell. We hear. We taste. And so on. That’s why copy that paints a picture or lays out a setting that describes what we see, hear, taste, and touch can be so much more compelling. You can even trigger this without adjectives, just by using the phrases like “You can see what I’m saying” or “Maybe you’ve heard” and so on.

_ Noble Appeals – Contrary to the evidence, we’re not entirely motivated by our most animal instincts to get fed, to feel good, to get rich, and to get — well, you get the picture. Most or at least many of us have got bigger aspirations too. And we tend to respect those who share those higher ideals — compassion, loyalty, family, independence and other abstractions. If you can legitimately tie your claims and reasons why to those more lofty goals, do so. You’ll get a “click, whir” response from like-minded buyers.