A big part of my job is building relationships and connecting with business owners. I find salespeople, business owners, and marketers are always looking for a silver bullet – that one thing that can dramatically grow their business.

Last week, I was looking for some advice, so I connected to Sales Trainer and Author Craig Elias on LinkedIn. I sent him a message asking if his book Shiftwas available in audio format. A few hours later my phone rang.

It was Craig Elias. As a marketing geek and avid reader about sales and marketing, I was a bit star struck! We had a quick chat, and he offered to chat with me for thirty minutes about how to use trigger events to help grow our business fast.

Craig’s claim to fame is his focus on trigger events and how to leverage them in business. He won $1 million using this idea for a business competition called the “Billion Dollar Idea,” and he wrote an award-winning book called Shift!.  I highly recommend his book. He also has a lot of free resources available online.

Here is an example of a trigger event leading to a purchase – a middle-aged man starts going to the gym, buys a sports car and starts using Rogaine. This wasn’t because he was gaining weight, getting old, or losing interest in his minivan, which is what marketers tend to focus on. It was not a result of dissatisfaction, but a direct result of a divorce. When planning marketing, focus on events, not circumstances.

Craig’s focus is helping salespeople and start-ups, but during our chat this afternoon, I asked him for some advice for local businesses. Here are his top five tips on leveraging trigger events to help local businesses grow fast:

Have an Ideal Client Profile

Before you can start to identify trigger events, you need to know your ideal client. Be as specific as possible with your ideal client profile and proactively pursue these people. If you go after everyone, you tend to spread yourself thin. Craig used the word “propinquity” which I had to look up. Basically, it means you’re better off dominating a small neighbourhood than trying to go after the entire city!

Ask yourself “Who are my best clients?”, “where can I get more clients like them?” and “what events in their lives could trigger a need?”

E-mail Marketing

Staying in touch by e-mail is a well-known marketing tool. We work with a local retailer who has close to 40,000 contacts on their e-mail list. Craig recommends e-mail marketing, but Craig’s focus is different from what you might expect. He tracks when e-mails bounce, because this usually means a new job or a new name (marriage). This trigger events could lead to a sale.

For example, if you are a Realtor and a client’s e-mail bounces, maybe they have a new job – call and congratulate them and ask if they need a bigger house.

Track Your Social Media Activity

Whenever possible, add your clients on LinkedIn and Facebook and track when they mention any keywords that could lead to interest or intent in your business.

For example, if you sell life insurance, reach out to all your contacts when they get pregnant. This is the biggest trigger event for purchasing life insurance. If you’re a Dentist, congratulate your clients when they have kids and offer a discount on their first cleaning.

Domino Effect

Get in the habit of looking for and following the chain reaction, look for other dominoes dropping. For example, if a competing business closes down, go after their business. If you lose a client because they moved, introduce yourself to the new home owner.

Relationships

Form relationships with other businesses who service the same clients. Ask yourself “Who is serving clients today that I want to service tomorrow?” These are the businesses you should partner with.

For example: If you are a coffee shop and you are next door to a medical clinic, figure out a way to drive their foot traffic into your shop. Give them free cookies and build that relationship.

There are countless ways as a business owner, marketer or salesperson you can leverage trigger events to help grow your business. I recommend taking thirty minutes and ask yourself, “how can I leverage trigger events to help grow my business?”

Good luck. I would love to hear how you leverage trigger events in your business.

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Derek Cosgrove

Derek Cosgrove

Derek has 5 years of digital marketing experience and is a Senior Account Manager at seoplus+. He specializes in helping local businesses and Shopify stores with their digital marketing.