How to Convince Someone to Say Yes: 7 Power Triggers to Help You Sell

How to Convince Someone to Say Yes: 7 Power Triggers to Help You Sell

Reader Comments (88)

  1. I love, love this stuff. I often open up my psychology textbooks and read about the way people behave. Most of it is incredibly common sense (ie, survival instinct) and some of it is wildly irrational (ie, impulse buying).

    This was a great article, Dean. One of your best.

  2. Having been in recruting for the military, we learned that every 8th question you ask someone will result in a yes answer.

    So we would ask question after question (that corresponds to the topic of course) and then on the 8th question, ask them the defining question we want a “yes” answer for. Obviously this was the point that we’d ask them if they want to join the military:)

    It doesn’t work for everyone, but 7 out of 10 saw positive results.

  3. Thanks for showing how this applies to copywriting. As James said, some of it is common sense but it’s still helpful to see it all laid out.

  4. Is trust in there somewhere?

    Matt, excellent question. The real goal of things like reciprocity, social proof, authority and liking is to *build* trust.

    These triggers are not tricks designed to dupe anyone. They are gateways to trust in a low-trust world.

  5. Yes this is certainly fascinating and I’m grateful for the lesson. Yet there is something within me that is resisting using all of these tips. They seem to say that the end does justify the means. For example, I’ve always seen right through the limited availability hype. It seems like so much bullshit.

    Have you any thoughts on authentically applying these lessons? Have you experienced any backlash that you’re aware of for using them? For example, I have talked with many who absolutely hate long sales letters.

  6. Langer’s “because” test has always fascinated me. And Robert Cialdini is a master of the psychology of persuasion.

    The 6 triggers comprise a powerful foundation for copy / content that influences. The applications you suggest are both practical and easy to implement.

    My grandfather was a smart man, too. He was a master–though not consciously–of the reciprocity, commitment and consistency, liking and authority triggers. As a result, everyone in the tiny community knew him and adored him.

    Every blogger, marketer and content developer needs to tape this article where they can see it all the time.

    Thanks, Dean.

  7. As always, super-fantastic marketing information.

    I have been looking to buy a product called Order Button Triggers that essentially covers the same pyschological principles that is covered in the post. It is geared more toward getting the prospective customer to click that all-important order button.

    Again, great stuff!

  8. Brian has mentioned this book so many times allready on copyblogger, so I bought it and read it: great stuff, and absolutely must read for everyone (wanting to be as much effective) in copywriting business.
    Nice post.

  9. This is great stuff. Thank you for sharing this, Dean. I will check out your series on the subject.

    By the way… anyone reading this: Feel free to click on over to my blog and subscribe — because it would really make me feel good.

    Another thing I’d bring up, is if you use for example the scarcity method, it’s worth wording it in as original a way as possible. When we read or hear the same gimmicky statement over and over again in the same exact way, it tends to lose its power — even if its based on sound principles.

  10. I am weak on giving a reason as a “call to action.” I am going to try that one out.
    After reading you article I have several new ideas I will be testing.

    Thank you


  11. This reminded me of a “persuasion” technique used by my favorite motivational expert – my partner-in-life-and-everything-else Holly. She always wanted her daughters to be safe and have the best information to make good decisions. Problem was if she told them about something, they would go immediately into MEGO (mine eyes glaze over). So, over the years she began “salting the mine (or mind, if you wish)” by leaving information scattered about the house, in locations that, through careful research, she knew they would look – you know, like in the bathroom, by the phone, that sore of thing. Then looking at stuff became their idea and not hers, and I really think they began looking at these things. I always thought that was pretty cool.

  12. But you forgot the trigger at the end your article – what would you like me to say yes to? (already ready your other articles – top stuff).

    Oh well, I guess I’ll just put my credit card away now…


  13. Great explanation in comment #6 Brian.

    Great post, Dean. Those of us in face-to-face sales also use some of these every day.

    Thanks for creating another piece for my swipe file 😉

  14. well said. I’ve read several times that ‘because’ is one of the most powerful words in the dictionary. For the exact reason you stated above.

    AJ Kumar

  15. @Tom Volkar, you may hate long sales letters, but my guess is you hate the way the less-effective ones are put together, and the obvious tactics some of them use. For myself, I hate the feeling that I’m being sold, that someone is trying to trick or squeeze me into doing something I don’t want to do.

    The best sales people (whether in person or in print) can give you the feeling that they’re not selling you a darned thing, they’re just engaging you in a conversation about what you need and whether they have any tools that might help you get it.

    And as Brian mentioned, it’s not a trick or a con. That’s actually what they’re doing.

  16. Another simple trick is to ask them something you know they are going to automatically say yes to. Even if it doesn’t apply to what you are doing, it will get them in the positive mentality for future requests. Usually a sales technique.

  17. @Sonia Simone, Thanks that’s a reasonable explanation. How I feel when reading them is an indication of the actions I’ll take.

    I like your comparison to in person sales. I was one for many years and a more consultative approach was what worked well and I didn’t feel tricky. I appreciate this because it’s a good re-frame for me.

  18. Great post and very practical applications. I love that you took an ‘offline’ concept and adapted it for the online market. I have always known the value of the ethical bribe, but I never new the science behind it.

    I wonder if the use of ‘because’ in a twitter question/request would produce more results. I may have to give it a try.

  19. Scarcity’s a great point. It also points to another way of getting people to say yes- making yourself unique. If you somehow give them what no one else can or will, and can convince them of the benefit of that, you make yourself next to impossible to say no to.

    I love the post- your grandfather sounds like a good time.

  20. Excellent article Dean, these automatic triggers make day to day life much easier to navigate. Even though most of us would argue until we’re blue in the face that we consciously make every decision. These triggers kick in to make our life easier and less complicated and we don’t have think so much!

  21. All your base are belong to us.

    One of the keys to social proof is finding the kingpins and winning them over first. It’s a domino effect.

  22. Very informative article. I definitely have to put these ideas to use. Not only can you use these ideas for sales but to get people to say yes to subscribing to your blog, commenting on your blog and other things depending on what YOU want.

  23. Dean,

    I love reading your blog, and as a creative in digital marketing, think I have a lot to learn from you. However I have to say, sometimes your posts are so long, that I switch off pretty quickly, and spend my ‘blog reading time’ on other marketing and creative sites with more digestible and manageable posts. Maybe I’m an exception, but I thought I’d let you know. 🙂

  24. Great summary of what can become a very dry topic.

    I personally find that in building partnerships (and trust) you need to select the right combination of triggers in a process of moving someone from “I don’t know you and why should I care” to “yes, please, I’ll have one of those”. If you go in with all guns blazing (so to speak) most people immediately put up their defences.

    Nick Drake-Knight has a great 5-step approach to that journey: Rapport – Understand – Demonstrate – Recommend – Close

  25. I learned early in my career to ask questions in the positive (i.e. questions that anticipate a yes answer), because people are more likely to say yes to the big question if they’ve been saying yes all along to the smaller questions.

  26. Great Article!
    Ok, most of the points I’ve read before but what is so good about this post is that it all comes together and each of the “six ways” comes witha good example that makes the application easy … Hm… now I rememebr – isn’t it how you write good pillar articles anyway?;-)

    Great job – thanks!

  27. People also say yes when they believe they’ve come to their own conclusion.
    The best way to do this is to listen, ask questions and get your ‘prospect’ to do all the talking.

  28. Excellent article, especially suggestions for practical application. I have seen first hand people reacting to triggers, such as preconceived notions of a profession. People often tense up, when they hear “real estate agent” calling:) They tune out the message as an automatic response.

  29. Oh my! To be honest, all you’d have to do right now to get me to say YES is offer me some hot coffee….

    Seriously, GREAT post!

  30. Great post – I find it endlessly interesting and important to learn as much as I can about the science/art of selling and marketing.
    I’m making the step from only designing things – to designing and selling the things I designed. Going from being paid by giant famous rock’n’roll bands to not getting paid by anyone but potential customers is a challenge – 🙂 but one that must be overcome.

  31. Using emotional triggers to influence a customer/prospects thought processes is “The” most powerful way to make sales. Its all about putting their mind in a state which makes them more responsive to your offer and when you have them there, ask them to commit to the sale.

    A fantastic post which touches upon the strategy behind the words used in a sales message.

    The great thing about most sales skills is that they apply to life as much as they do sales. For example, everytime I sit down to eat with my kids I have to sell “Vegetables” to them as a good lifestyle choice, I usually use reciprocation promising them chocolate pudding if they eat all of their sprouts! (I not that evil to feed my kids sprouts, come on!)

    But you see what Im saying, we all sell ourselves and our ideas in everyday life. Selling is influencing, and influencing is the hierarchical method of the human race.

    Great post

  32. Nice article, but I have an issue here. I think we will be very inhuman, if we give to people only to make them feel in debt. Is it right to exploit these fixed patterns and thereby exploit people?

    Or may be I just don’t fit in sales :o(

  33. This is good stuff, encouraging and I can definitely relate to it. Some of it you’d have seen or heard, but it is well represented here. Don’t you overlook that photo that is attached to the story… POWERFUL!

This article's comments are closed.