If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that sales has a lot in common with soccer. And seeing that I was inspired by sitting front row at a Real Madrid game last week (yes, it was incredible),I’ve got some serious soccer/sales value to drop today.
So picture this…
There’s 5 seconds till the final whistle. It’s a tie-game, 3 to 3. You’re up for a penalty kick. All eyes are on YOU.
The thoughts race through your mind…
What if I completely miss it? Which way is the goalkeeper going to dive? Why did I eat that burrito last night? This is my big chance. What if I blow it? If I make it I’m a hero. But if I miss it…
You’ve stacked the deck against yourself. If you make the shot, it’s by pure chance or luck. You simply were not prepared for this moment.
So where did you go wrong?
Your mental game was completely off because you didn’t have a trigger word. Yes, a trigger word. This simple little trick can help free you from the mental torture you put yourself through during high-stakes situations.
High stakes as in game-winning penalty kicks, job interviews, business negotiations — and you guessed it — sales calls.
Trigger words, also known as “cues” are a trick that sales pros use to engage in more meaningful conversations and close bigger deals. Before getting too much into the “how” and “why” behind trigger words. Let me give you a real-world example to sink your teeth into.
Trigger Words in the Wild
Don’t get flustered. Get triggered.
The archer Joel Turner was a recent guest on The Joe Rogan Podcast. Joel has made a career as a professional archer, and he’s done so by dialing in trigger words to “Solve Target Panic.”
Turner talks about stepping up to the target. Breathing. And instead of letting a million panicked thoughts bombard him and destroy his focus, he replaces them with his trigger word.
“Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Release.”
And the arrow hits the dead-center of the bullseye.
In this case, Turner’s trigger word is “Pull.” And he repeats it over and over to get out of his mind (in a good way) and to remain focused on the target. It has worked so well for Joel and his students that he’s actually productized his methods into an online training course called Shot IQ.
But Joel isn’t the first person to use trigger words. Top athletes in all sports, politicians, public speakers, and many business leaders have used trigger words to overcome performance anxiety and put themselves “in the zone” for peak performance.
But nobody in the B2B sales space is talking about this game-changing mental hack. That is, until today.
How Trigger Words are Used in Sales
All right, we’ve seen how trigger words can be used in sports. But what about in sales?
The use-cases are only limited by your imagination, but here are the four main areas to put trigger words to work:
Trigger words for… Sales Training and Role Play
Practice like you play. Practice like it’s the World Cup and everything is on the line. If you use your trigger words during sales training and when doing role play, it’ll be second nature to remember your trigger word when you really need it.
Trigger words for… Motivation
You can have multiple trigger words. And one trigger word can be used for motivation. Let’s say it’s 5pm and you’ve been smiling and dialing all day. You know you have gas left in the tank, and the 5-7pm window is prime time cold calling. So you repeat to yourself “accelerate, accelerate, accelerate, accelerate.” This single word, repeated over and over, will help motivate you and restore your winning mindset to finish strong.
Trigger words for… Refocusing After a Bad Sales Call
Bad sales calls happen to the best of us, they aren’t a choice. But bad days are a choice. In other words, you can choose not to have one bad sales call spiral out of control and ruin your whole day. How? After the call, take a deep breath, and repeat a trigger word like “champion. champion. champion. champion. champion.” You know that champions never quit; in fact, a champion is defined by how they bounce back from setbacks. And this simple trigger word can do all of this heavy lifting.
Trigger words for… Calm During the Close
You’ve connected with your prospect, you’ve positioned your offer as the solution to their pain points, you’ve overcome their objections, now it’s time to close the deal by asking for the sale. But this is where a lot of salespeople totally self-destruct. Not you. This time you remember your trigger word and use it to calm the storm that’s happening in your mind. “Breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe, ask.” You repeat your trigger word to recenter, and then you calmly and confidently ask for the sale. It’s that easy.
How to Pick a Trigger Word
I’ve heard people say that your trigger word has to be meaningful on some deep level. But I don’t think that’s the case. If you can make it meaningful, great. If not, that’s OK. You just need a word — any word — that will re-center you and calm the storm.
So don’t overthink this. Pick a word for the occasion and run with it. You can always change your trigger word in the future. The important thing is that you start implementing this today to boost your sales numbers. The details can be worked out later.
Trigger words are used by top athletes for a reason. They work. Plain and simple.
And during high-stress moments in sales, like negotiating with a prospect, or trying to make a stellar first impression with the CMO of Nike, this tool can help keep your mind centered on the task at hand. Because let’s be honest, our mind can go a million directions at once if we allow it to. So a trigger word really just harnesses the power of your mind to help you remain in peak flow state.
But although trigger words are incredibly powerful in B2B sales, they are no substitution for ongoing training. You have to always be drilling your role-play and practicing how to overcome objections. You should also always be reading up on sales and staying on the cutting edge as best as possible. And for good measure, become a creator yourself and start creating content around your expertise. Do this and you’ll be lightyears ahead of the pack. Most people read about doing it, but very few people actually put it into practice.
Until next time…