What do the world’s best attorneys have in common? The ability to persuade. The most successful people are those who get things done with and through others. They always have, always will. Persuasive lawyers build bigger law firms, have more referral sources, convert potential clients to paying clients more easily and convince resistant juries to bring in good verdicts. The ability to persuade is critical to many areas in an attorney’s career. In many ways, your success as an attorney hinges on your power to persuade.

Author Russell Granger has discovered a new and more accessible pathway to persuasion. In his book, “The Seven Triggers to Yes,” Granger posits that instead of using a logical approach, one should tap into emotional cues, or “triggers,” when attempting to persuade others.

“We’ve been going about this process the wrong way for 2,500 years,” says Granger. “Emotions not only guide our decisions – they are the catalyst in the decision-making process. Logic and reason have their place, but not the place we once thought. We are not thinking machines; we are feeling machines that think.”

With the new technology of real time brain imaging, scientists have been able to pinpoint seven of these emotional triggers. The book defines a trigger as a “decision shortcut”. It is an internal navigation aid to guide us in our day-to-day decision making, and it is vital for that process.

In order to benefit from the triggers, we first must activate them.

“Remember that the triggers lie within the other person. We evaluate each of the 7 triggers, then determine which triggers are most likely to activate the other person’s decision process. We then help the other person make the right decision by activating his most applicable triggers,” Granger says.

The book outlines seven essential triggers, which include:

  1. The Friendship Trigger
  2. The Authority Trigger
  3. The Consistency Trigger
  4. The Reciprocity Trigger
  5. The Contrast Trigger
  6. The Reason Why Trigger
  7. The Hope Trigger.

Let’s take a look at the first two triggers. The first, Friendship, is an important one for attorneys. Many attorneys do not take the time to initiate a friendship – or, activate the friendship trigger – when cultivating a new client or referral source.

Granger explains the friendship trigger is a cue that has been built into our emotional system since birth. “We bond with and trust those who care for us. We are more easily persuaded by those we believe to be like us. To activate the friendship trigger, we need to find common interests. Friendship generates trust and trust activates a powerful internal trigger.”

When meeting with clients for the first time, the Authority Trigger is also critical to activate. Given that clients have complex problem to resolve, they need to believe that their attorney has the knowledge and experience necessary to handle the matter.
Everything the attorney says and does will either add or subtract to this initial impression. Believe it or not, diplomas on the wall help this effort. Though often maligned as “ego walls,” diplomas, awards and plaques on display visually underscore the attorney’s training and expertise which helps to trigger the belief that they are an authority in their field.

Activating both the Friendship and Authority Triggers at the same time generates a powerful first impression and leads to a higher number of potential clients converting to paying clients – quickly. According to Granger, “The need for decisions never ends. If we had to analytically evaluate each decision need, we’d be paralyzed. Our triggers help us make quick automatic decisions that are right for us.”

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