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For many years, I've urged lawyers to base their marketing communications and sales investigations on a Demand Trigger, which I define as the underlying business problem or condition that begins a reliable causal chain that culminates in demand for service from someone like you. When you use it to open a door and establish relevant contact with someone, it’s called, well, a Door-Opener.

For a Demand Trigger or Door-Opener to resonate, however, it cannot be intellectual or abstract. It must be tangible, immediate and personal.

Here's an example:

A medical malpractice litigator would get little value out of a Demand Trigger expressed as "overworked nurses." While most hospital executives recognize intellectually that it's not a good thing to overwork nurses, "overworked nurses" is too vague for our purposes. Those executives would have to fill in important gaps in your expression to experience some business-related discomfort.

A more useful driver would be "when more than 20 percent of a hospital's nursing positions are vacant." If this condition exists, nurses must work longer shifts for more consecutive days. Unless this hospital has somehow managed to hire superhuman nurses, the nurses' cumulative physical and mental fatigue over time virtually guarantees that some will make mistakes. Some of these mistakes will result in allegations of material harm to patients. A percentage of these allegations will result in medical malpractice claims. Statistically, it's a certainty.

So, let's look at the Demand Trigger and how it meets the TIP test: "More than 20 percent of a hospital's nursing positions are vacant."

  • The 20 percent makes it tangible by providing a specific threshold.
  • The immediacy comes from hospital executives living with the problem daily.
  • It's personal because these executives are likely to be co-defendants with their hospital in any medical malpractice suit.

The lesson? Take this TIP to heart and craft a Demand Trigger that actually drives demand because its impact requires the company to make a decision.

Mike O'Horo


If you'd like to learn how to get your prospect to define why she must make a decision, and to specify in dollar terms the cost of not doing so, the RainmakerVT course, The Cost of Doing Nothing, will teach you via an engaging, interactive simulation where you learn by doing.

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