Running a Business | Triggers of Influence

There are six “Triggers of Influence.” They are:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Commitment and Consistency
  3. Social Proof
  4. Authority
  5. Liking
  6. Scarcity

Each of them can have an impact on your business, and you’re very likely using at least one of them already in your sales process. This will help you identify where you can use these triggers to do a better job of converting your leads into customers.

First, we’ll take stock of the things that you are already doing to apply the triggers of influence.

Reciprocity – is all about the natural inclination that people have to repay kind in kind. Think about your sales process, and list any actions that might make your prospects want to reciprocate by buying something. (For example, have you ever walked into a bakery and been offered a taste of a still-warm muffin? Or been offered a cold drink of water on a hot day upon walking into a clothing store?)

Commitment and Consistency – is all about wanting to be consistent with our past actions. What opportunities do you create for your prospects to show that they’re the sort of people who buy from you, before they actually make a purchase? (For example, surveys, emails, even posted questions give your clients the opportunity to agree to something about themselves, which you can refer back to in later communications.)

Social Proof – is wanting to do what other people are doing – especially if those people are like you. Where in your sales process do you show your prospects that lots of other people like them have already bought from you? (For example, do you show them testimonials from existing clients? What about subscriber counts, and listing the number of visitors you get to your website, or the number of followers that you have on Twitter?)

Authority – is about our natural tendency to trust the experts, and whoever seems to be in charge. What are the ways in which you show your prospects that you are qualified to do what you do? (For example, your educational background, or your professional experience, or your various achievements and accomplishments – these are all factors that make you a trustworthy expert.)

Liking – is pretty straight-forward: we prefer to do business with people that we like. When someone likes you, they’re more likely to buy what you’re selling, and more likely to cut you slack when you need it. Think about your sales process, and write down the ways that you create an opportunity for people to connect with you on a personal level (after all, we don’t like people that we don’t know!)

(For example, do you share your hobbies, interests, past experiences, or other personal details with your prospects? These many not all be appropriate,  depending on the business that you’re in, but if they do “fit”, they can work wonders.)

Scarcity – is about wanting things that are in short supply, both because we don’t want to miss out on an opportunity, and because we feel special about getting in on a deal that other people will miss out on. How do you employ scarcity in your sales process? (For example, do you have limited-time offers? Limited-edition merchandise, or special perks for people who act within a certain time frame?)


Go back through the six triggers that are listed above, and carefully read through the examples for each of them. Now, list three new actions that you could integrate into your sales process to make use of new triggers of influence:

Get Leads Flowing

Getting started with a new business, website or blog can be hugely intimidating, and it can take what feels like forever to see any results in terms of traffic, or sales. This isn’t like “Field of Dreams” – building it is only the first of many steps in getting them to come.

The key question is how do you get leads in the door? How do you get people to your site? The first step is to let people know that you exist, and one way to do that is…


The easiest and most effective way to get leads flowing is usually to reach out and connect with them, offline and in-person. This is usually the last place the entrepreneurs think, but it’s the best place to start, for a few reasons:

  1. When you’re physically talking to someone, it’s much easier to convey your passion about what you’re doing – that will pique their interest much faster than an email or Twitter update!
  2. Getting people to notice you online takes time, and when you’re just starting out, you need results – both to pay the bills, and to give you the motivation to keep on going.

Elevator Pitch

No matter who you’re going to be talking to, you need to be able to explain who you are as a business and what you’re doing in a way that is simple, fast and memorable.  In other words, you’ll need an elevator pitch. It’s simple – a short (30-60 seconds) overview of what you do, and why they should care. Here’s a template that you can use to put yours together:

  1. Start with a “Hook” – This is a short sentence (10 words or so) that simply and clearly states WHAT you do and for WHOM.
  2. Then tell your “Story” – You can use a simple story format for your elevator pitch. At a high level, it should read like this: Give people a context within which they need to understand the problem you solve and your solution. This format is also much more memorable – people remember stories!
  3. The “Next Step” – This is very important. You need to have a reason (call it an excuse) to continue the interaction with your listener. There are all sorts of “next steps” you could take:

a. Ask if you could send them the most recent copy of your newsletter

b. Send an article (e.g. Home inspector: “In our conversation, you asked what discolored bricks signify. Why don’t I send you an article about it?”)

c. Connect on a social network (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc)

d. Call them, meet for coffee, give a free consultation or estimate, etc.


Once you’ve got your pitch ready, spend some time Googling networking events in your area. Likely candidates are organizations like Business Networking International (BNI), and your local Chambers of Commerce. Find out where the meetings are happening, call them up, and say that you’d like to attend – they’ll be happy to have you!

Diagnosis Worksheets

Worksheets help you think about which component of the Business Optimization Framework you need to spend the most time on, and which component holds the most opportunity for you. The four components of the framework are:

  1. More Leads
  2. More Customers
  3. Higher Deal Value
  4. Repeat Customers

Each of these components applies to every business, website or blog, and each of them can have a huge impact on your overall profits, sustainability and success.


More Leads – Leads are the people who are exposed to your message and offer. In the online world, leads are called “traffic”.  Every lead represents a potential sale, so this is a really important number!

More Customers – This part of the framework is about getting your leads to convert into customers. Remember, traffic and leads aren’t enough – they have to turn into sales for them to make you money!

Higher Deal Value – This is about the amount of money that each customer is really worth to your bottom line. It is often overlooked, but it is a key component of your overall profitability.

Repeat Customers – Once a customer buys from you, are you done with them forever, or do they come back and buy from you again? A customer who bought from you once is eight times more likely to buy from you again, and pay more for the privilege. Are you taking advantage of this?



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