Text Marketing

3 powerful psychological sales triggers

Post by
Alain Pilon
3 powerful psychological sales triggers

I’ve put together 3 of the most powerful marketing tactics you can start using today on your website, in your videos and other marketing materials for your leads to see. You’re probably already doing some kind of sales triggers when advertising but we’ll go in depth on how you can use them to grow your business.

What are sales triggers?

Sales triggers are marketing tactics used to make a prospect react favourably to an offer that leads to a purchase. Kind a like a fisherman throwing his line in the water with the right bait, early morning at the right spot. By doing so, the fisherman increases his chances of catching fish.

In 1974, sociologist Phillip Kunz conducted an experiment. He mailed out handwritten Christmas cards with a note and photograph of him and his family to roughly 600 randomly selected people. All of the recipients were complete strangers. Shortly after mailing the cards, responses began pouring in. Over 200 families responded with a Christmas card of their own. Why would so many people reply to a complete stranger? This concept is called reciprocity. Since Kunz had done something for them, many felt the need to return the favour.

What is reciprocity?

The principle is simple: when you give, you’re more likely to receive. When this sales trigger is used in an authentic way, it can be an extremely powerful marketing tactic for turning leads into customers.

She bought me a birthday gift for my birthday so I’ll get her one for her birthday.

He helped me move so I’ll go help him build his deck.

I’ll buy him lunch and he will most likely buy advertising from me.

The Coca-Cola Experiment

The “Coca-cola” experiment is probably the most well known study on reciprocity. Dennis Regan created the social experiment in 1971. In the study, participants were asked to rate paintings. Regan sent his assistant named Joe and acted as a participant.

While others were evaluating paintings, Joe left and came back two soft drinks. He would take one of his Coca Cola bottles and give it as a gift to one of the participants. In another condition, Joe would leave and but would come back empty handed. Later on, Joe would ask participants to buy raffle tickets.

The results of the study showed the power of reciprocity. Joe sold 2X more raffle tickets when giving a soda to one of the participants.

Alright, so now you’re thinking of all the stuff you can give to increase your sales. While this marketing tactic works, you can’t get frustrated if you get nothing back in return. After all, marketing is about trial and error.

Usually the person returning the favor will give of equal value but in most case, will give even more value in return. When you give, you create positive vibes around your action. Having said that, again, don’t expect anything in return. Keep it positive and if they don’t buy anything from you, so be it.

So how do you trigger reciprocity online? The way it’s most used is through what are often called “lead magnets”. By offering your audience a free but genuinely valuable email or video series, free trial, online course, webinar, or some interesting special report, they are far more likely to take the next step in the sales process when it’s presented. Textodog for example, gives away a free sales course that provides tons of value on how you can grow your business.

The second sales trigger we love is scarcity.

What is scarcity?

Scarcity marketing is when you create a valuable offer that is limited in time or supply. Don’t we always want what we can’t have? Your compelling offer needs to convey the message that if they don’t buy now, they will miss out. A term often used in social media is FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out.

Scarcity marketing is all around us.

“Only 3 tickets left at this price”

“We’re only accepting 10 applications”

“Harley Davidson Limited edition”

“24-hour seat sale”

Why is scarcity used? Because it works! When done right, it’s an extremely effective sales trigger. When done wrong, you could rub people the wrong way. If you try to use scarcity when it’s not true, it can backfire and you can get angry customers who feel like they got duped. Kinda like the 24-hour seat sale that never ends. People will catch on and tune out. Everything you do should be genuine and we never want our customers to distrust us.

4 types of scarcity

Price scarcity

Price scarcity is used for limited time discounts such as early-bird specials, coupons, seasonal and holiday sales. An example would be that your leads expect to pay less on black Friday. Buy now or the price is going up.

The way to do it well is to have a reason to give a discount.

“Black Friday sale”
“It’s our annual employee pricing sale”
“First 10 subscribers get a 50% discount for the first year”

Quantity scarcity

Quantity scarcity is when you have a limited amount of products to offer. Buy now or you will miss out.

“Only 4 tickets left”
“We are only accepting 10 candidates”

If the product seems unlimited like an online course, be sure to let your leads know why you are limiting to X amount of students.

Give them a reason. Why is the quantity limited? It could be because you want classes to have less students so that you’re more available to answer their questions. It’s important to always think of building trust when creating offers and not some cheesy sales pitch.

Premium scarcity

Premium scarcity is used when including added value or bonuses in your offer. Buy now or you don’t get these bonuses.

“First 10 subscribers get a free 30 minute session with me”
“Buy now and get my new book for free”
“First 50 tickets sold get an invite to an exclusive VIP “Meet the artists” cocktail party.”
“The Halloween tour includes free a pumpkin pie.”

Now or never scarcity

This type of scarcity is used when the product or service is available to a limited time only and you can’t get anymore afterwards.

“Tesla Roadster limited edition.”
“The Canadian loony Wayne Gretzky edition. Only 1000 made”
“Classes for Spring session close December 2nd”

The idea is to buy now or you will never get this product or service again.

Less choice, More Sales

In 2000, psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper from Columbia and Stanford University published a study about jams sold in a grocery store. On a regular day at a local food market, people would find a display table with 24 different kinds of jams. Then on another day, at that same food market, people were given only 6 different types of jam choices.

Guess which display table sold more jars of jam? You guessed it! The table with only 6 types of jams available end up selling 10 times more than the table of 24 types of jam.

The study shows that while choice seems appealing, at first sight, choice overload generates confusion. And in marketing, when you confuse, you lose.