How to Use Triggers to Boost Leads

Feb. 22, 2005
If you understand the very basics of HVAC marketing, you know that direct response advertising is a great tool for generating leads. Direct response ads

If you understand the very basics of HVAC marketing, you know that direct response advertising is a great tool for generating leads.

Direct response ads go directly to a prospect and ask for a response. With attention grabbing headlines, they speak to a prospect about his problem or need and propose a solution right then and there.

There is no mystery that the prospect is supposed to respond to the ad. And the response to the offer is supposed to be immediate, if not sooner. The customer usually gets a little bonus for responding quicker, but that’s not necessary.

Like I said, that’s the basics. The experienced marketer, however, can take the concepts of direct response one giant step further, and make the ads too powerful to resist. The experienced marketer uses strategic triggers to motivate customers — usually without them even realizing it.

A trigger is a response mechanism wired to each of us. Behaviorists have conducted many tests to determine what makes people respond the way they do.

Do you remember Pavlov? A century or so ago, he studied something called “conditioned reflex,” which is a scientific term for figuring out what makes a dog drool. Marketers use the same sort of theories to figure out what makes customers drool, and they gear their ads around those needs or desires.

In other words, a trigger is something that stimulates a customer to action, and that’s what you want to use in your ad copy.

So, what are the triggers? Here you go. Copy this list. Recite them ‘til you know them by heart. Use them for everything: Getting your hotel room discounted or seeing why your teenager is a great manipulator, or how to sell in less time, with less resistance.

The 7 Most Powerful Sales Triggers

Are you ready? Here they are:

  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Greed
  • Anger
  • Exclusivity
  • Vanity
  • Salvation.

Hit on one and you'll get attention. Hit on three and you’ll get leads. Hit on five and you’ll get sales. Hit on seven and you’ve got my job! (Oh, like you’d want it.)

How to Use the Triggers for Lead Generation

I start by headlining a customer’s strongest, most immediate desire. Then why the offer exists; why it’s an opportunity, and — if it’s hard direct response — why it’s limited. The price is mentioned early if immediately valuable or late if it requires building. If there’s a guarantee, I put it nearest the price. Why? To minimize the fear and risk at the point anxiety is highest.

It goes in that order, because this is how you pull the trigger. Sound simple? Eighty percent of the ads I critique start with the company’s greatness. They rarely build value or real benefits, often throw prices out randomly, and usually fail to call to action. If any room is left over, a graphic of a piece of pipe or a tool is tossed in just so everyone will KNOW it’s an ad. And we wonder why it fails.

Bottom Line: As human beings, we’re very predictable. For the marketer, that’s good news. Repeatable behaviors make it easier for us to systemize our marketing and sales approach.

Use triggers to cause response from your prospects, instead of hoping and waiting. I’ve used them for 22 years and rely on them to immeasurably increase response. You can too!

I used four of them to get you to read this article. Just proves you’re human… like your customers who will respond if you use them.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Readers can get a free marketing newsletter and a free 16-page report called “Get More Leads in Less Time” by faxing their letterhead with the request to 334-262-1115 or emailing to [email protected]. You can also call Hudson, Ink at 1-800-489-9099 for help or visit for other free marketing articles and reports.