Book Notes: Triggers, Joe Sugarman


Once a commitment is made, the playing field suddenly changes in your favor to encourage future purchases

Make the first sale simple, then sell add-ones, or more expensive products

Product nature

Every product has its own unique nature, its own personality. You have to figure it out.

Every product has one very powerful way of being presented that will express its true advantages and emotion

Prospect nature

The prospect has basic emotional needs you can solve, regardless of how sophisticated or simple your product offering

Objection raising

Bring up objections / dirty laundry first to reduce the importance or negative impact of the problem feature.

Resolve the objection, but it only works if you raise it first. Serious objections only - otherwise you’re just raising red flags

Vision - ownership and involvement

Create an involvement device, something that involves the consumer in the buying process - it can triple response rates. Copy that involves the reader can be quite effective. Paint a vision of involvement and ownership.


Thoughts, words, and actions all in alignment


Tell a story to engage the prospect.


Examine your company - there is something you can say that establishes your authority and expertise. the government (FDA), doctors, and double blind studies can also lend authority

Comparative value

If offering two versions, present the less expensive version first / as the main offering. Prospects wont even remember they bought the more expensive one.


1) every word has an emotion associated with it and tells a story (e.g. buy vs invest)
2) every good sales presentation is an emotional outpouring of words, feelings, and impressions, and
3) sell on emotion, justify a purchase with logic.

Justify with logic

“Can I justify this purchase?" - answer that question with logic.


You can play on people’s desire to get more value than they expect or think they deserve


Be truthful. Don’t exaggerate. Raise and resolve key objections. A technical explanation — even on a non-technical object like a grapefruit (quality control procedures) can showcase expertise and position you as a credible expert.

Risk reduction / satisfaction conviction

Create a satisfaction conviction that addresses objections and goes beyond what a prospect normally expects - ‘I am so certain this equipment will improve your business that I will personally stay onsite until every employee is trained and proficient in its use."


Connecting what the consumer already knows and understands with what you are selling to make the product easy to relate to. It could be a fad (BluBlockers alleviating Viagra side effects) or applying something simple and known to something technical (calling a smoke detector "the nose.")

Tribe / affiliation / desire to belong

People buy products / brands because they want to belong to the group that owns the product / uses the service.

Desire to collect

One of the ways to optimize the collecting instinct is to include some sort of device/display to hold the collection. Don’t miss the opportunity to sell someone a similar or upgraded version of a product already purchased

Sense of urgency

Urgency involves two emotional aspects: 1) loss or chance of losing something, and 2) procrastination. Be authentic in creating urgency, not dishonest or cheesy.


Make something authentically rare or unique to make buyers want it more


Keep offers, message, and fulfillment simple and straightforward.


This is similar to reciprocity — give a small gift or go above and beyond at the beginning to create a sense of guilt and obligation in the buyer.


Being specific — using data, not just generalities — "92% of new dentists vs. all new dentists use X toothpaste" — creates, credibility, believability, and positions you as an expert.


There is no real way to test the effectiveness of a marketing message except by sales performance.


Keep your name in front of your prospect to create a bond of familiarity (fancy name: branding).


Be in perfect alignment and agreement with your prospect as you move closer to the sale.


Hope is indirectly implied, through testimonials for example. Imply a future result without stating a specific guarantee. Entire health industry, for example. Or lowering golf scores, getting dates. With proper credibility, you will automatically engage the power of hope, that can trigger a sale.


The strongest factor for selling books is curiosity, followed by notoriety and credibility. Hold back part of the story to arouse curiosity.Allude to something you will reveal later in the copy or sale. Use seeds of curiosity: ‘But there’s more. But what I’m about to say is even more interesting." Don’t reveal too much.


Harmonizing with the marketplace takes good listening and observation. Don’t be more interested in making a sale than in serving the needs of the prospect.

Mental engagement

Let the prospect’s brain work a little to reach a conclusion. Don’t overexplain. Hemingway described his beautiful female characters sparsely so the reader’s brain filled in the rest.


Consumers are smarter than you think — and collectively they are smarter than any one person.