"Power of Psychological Triggers"
By Joseph Sugarman
A desire to buy something often involves a subconscious decision.
In fact, I claim that 95% of buying decisions are indeed subconscious.
Knowing the subconscious reasons why people buy, and using this
information in a fair and constructive way, will trigger
greater sales response -- often far beyond what you could
I recall a time when I applied one of these subconscious devices
by changing just one word of an ad, and response doubled. I refer
to these subconscious devices as psychological "triggers."
A psychological trigger is the strongest motivational factor any
salesperson or copywriter can use to evoke a sale.
There are 30 triggers in all, some of which I will reveal to
you in a moment. Each trigger, when deployed, has the power to
increase sales and response beyond what you would normally expect.
There are triggers, for example, that will cause your prospect
to feel guilty if they don't purchase your product. Let me give
you an example. Whenever you receive in the mail a sales solicitation
with free personalized address stickers, you often feel guilty
if you use the stickers and don't send something back -- often
far in excess of the value of the stickers. Fundraising companies
use this method a great deal. You receive 50 cents worth of stickers
and send back a $20 bill.
Another example are those surveys that are sent out asking for
you to spend about 20 minutes of your time filling them out. Enclosed
in the mailing you, might find a dollar bill included to encourage
you to feel guilty, and entice you to fill out the survey. And
you often spend a lot more than one dollar of your time to do
Guilt is a strong motivator. I have to admit that I've used guilt
in many selling situations, in mail order ads and on TV -- with
great success, I might add.
I call one of the most powerful triggers a "satisfaction
conviction," which is a guarantee of satisfaction. But don't
confuse this with the typical trial period you find in mail order,
i.e., "If your not happy within 30 days, you can return your
purchase for a full refund." A satisfaction conviction is
different. Basically it takes the trial period and adds something
that makes it go well beyond the trial period.
For example, if I were offering a subscription, instead of saying,
"If at anytime you're not happy with your subscription, we'll
refund your unused portion," and instead said, "If at
any time you're not happy with your subscription, let us know
and we'll refund your entire subscription price -- even if you
decide to cancel just before the last issue."
Basically you're saying to your prospect that you are so sure
that they'll like the subscription, that you are willing to go
beyond what is traditionally offered with other subscriptions.
This in fact gives the reader the sense that the company really
knows it has a winning product and solidly stands behind the product
and your satisfaction.
Is this technique effective? You bet. In many tests, I've doubled
response -- sometimes by adding just one sentence that conveys
a good satisfaction conviction.
I received an e-mail from a company, a subsidiary of eBay, requesting
my advice. They had an e-mail solicitation that wasn't drawing
the response that they had expected. What was wrong?
Looking over what they had created, I saw several mistakes, many
of which would have been avoided if they knew the psychological
triggers that cause people to buy. Let me give you just one example.
In the subject line of most e-mails that have solicited me, I
have been able to tell, at a glance, that the solicitation was
for a specific service or an offer of something that I was clearly
able to determine. Examples such as "Reduce your CD and DVD
costs 50%," Or "Lose weight quickly," pretty much
told me what they were selling. Was this good or bad?
The problem with those subject lines is that the reader was able
to quickly determine:
1. that it was an advertisement; and
2. that it was for some specific product or service.
Most people don't like advertising. And most people won't make
the effort to open their e-mail solicitation if they think they
are getting an advertising message -- unless they are sincerely
interested in buying something that the advertisement offers.
The subject line of an e-mail is similar to the headline of a
mail order ad, or the copy on an envelope, or the first few minutes
of an infomercial. You've got to grab somebody's attention and
then get them to take the next step. In the case of the envelope,
you want them to open it. In the case of an infomercial, you want
them to keep watching, and in the case of an e-mail, you want
them open up the e-mail and read your message.
The key, therefore, is to get a person to want to open your message
by putting something into the subject area of your e-mail that
does not appear to be an advertising message -- one that would
compel them to take the next step. And the best trigger to use
for this is the trigger of curiosity.
There are a number of ways you can use curiosity to literally
force a person to take the next step. You can then use this valuable
tool to put a reader in the correct frame of mind to buy what
you have to offer.
Once again, all the principles apply to every form of communication
-- whether it be advertising, marketing or personal selling. And
to know these triggers is the key to more effective communication
and most importantly, the avoidance of costly errors that waste
time and money.
Joe Sugarman, the best-selling author and top
copywriter who has achieved legendary fame in direct marketing,
is best known for his highly successful mail-order catalog company,
JS&A, and his hit product, BluBlocker Sunglasses. Joe's new
breakthrough book, "Triggers," cracks the human psychological
code by identifying 30 triggers that influence people to buy.
Check it here: Psychological
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