Sales Training Article: Why Sellers Should Leverage Triggering Events

By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

What is a “triggering event” and why are they significant to a salesperson?

triggering event is an event whose consequences are so significant that it would cause an organization to change how they operate. Generally, triggering events fall into one of three categories:

1. Bad experience. The prospect has had a bad experience with a product or service, with people or with a provider. For instance, there may have been a change in a product or service that created customer dissatisfaction.

2. Change or transition. The prospect experiences a change or transition in people, place or priorities. For example, there has been a change in executive leadership.

3. Awareness. The prospect becomes aware of a need to change for legal, risk-avoidance or economic reasons. For example, the Affordable Care Act (referred to as ObamaCare) required businesses and individuals to provide or acquire healthcare coverage or incur a financial penalty assessed by the IRS.

Why are they significant? They represent an opportunity for you as a salesperson if you recognize them and can help your prospect to successfully manage the change. How? The event may indicate that the status quo in an organization is changing. Someone in the company (the hope is that it’s your prospect) has a new goal, problem or need that he/she has to address. Therefore, it is immediately pertinent to the individual you are trying to reach or engage with. Given the significance, action is required now, not later – NOW!

Most salespeople, especially your competitors, don’t recognize the opportunity. Nor do they understand how to use a triggering event to their advantage. This advantage allows you to develop timely and relevant Sales Ready Messaging® in a personalized manner that is aligned to the specific needs of your prospects. As a result you end up with two advantages:

1. You will be the first to identify the opportunity and help your prospect, which will enable you to help define the parameters of the project – in your favor, of course.

2. By the time a competitor recognizes the opportunity or has been called in for a comparative proposal, the prospect will have invested substantial effort in building a trusting relationship with you, giving you the competitive edge.

For more instruction on how to use triggering events and improve your prospecting skills, you may want to pick up a copy of the from It’s available in electronic or textbook format. Or better yet, enroll in one of the Prospecting and Business Development Work Sessions that will be scheduled throughout North America and Europe this coming year.

Take a look at the sales training workshops available to you.