Book Review: The 7 Triggers to Yes

If you’re a business owner, sales or marketing person who has pulled your hair out over your inability to influence and convince prospects and customers to buy what you’re selling, a book titled “7 Triggers to Yes: The New Science Behind Influencing People’s Decisions” just sounds too good to pass up. So I didn’t.

This book practically screamed at me from the shelf and I made the decision to snap it up in a matter of seconds and here’s why.

This book practices what it preaches. The title is a grabber. When you turn the book over the first thing you read is “Master the Art and Science of Persuasion.” When you open the front flap, they actually give you a quick little summary of the seven triggers. That’s all it took. I was sold.

It’s a quick, easy and educational read. Russell Granger has a friendly, enthusiastic yet authoritative writing style that’s easy to read. In fact, I can tell you that I was able to get a good flavor and overview of the 240 pages in about 5 hours … give or take. While I was sprinting through the sections, I would mark the chapters or areas that I wanted to come back to later, but I was so interested in learning about these seven triggers, I just couldn’t wait to read at regular speed.

It’s supported by science. Using new technologies like (PET) Positron Emission Tomography scans, (fMRI) Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and several other high-tech tools, scientist have actually been able to literally watch the brain light up as it was making different kinds of decisions. Based on that, they were able to map out these seven triggers and prove that by activating those, you can connect with customers and get them to say “Yes!” For more in-depth explanations, click over to the PBS show “The Secret Life of the Brain.”

The triggers are simple, practical and easy to remember. The best way to work with these is to ask yourself the question “In what ways can I use this trigger in my sales and marketing messages? Here are the triggers:

  • Friendship Trigger — Activates trust and agreement through bonding.
  • Authority Trigger — Creates a perception of expertise that activates acceptance.
  • Consistency Trigger — Appeals to motives consistent with past actions.
  • Reciprocity Trigger — Taps into the rationale that when you give, you get something back.
  • Contrast Trigger — Makes your request more appealing when compared to other options.
  • Reason-Why Trigger — Gives reasons that activate an automatic “yes.”
  • Hope Trigger — Instills positive expectations that deliver agreement.

Granger devotes a chapter to each trigger with plenty of examples and ideas that will inspire you and motivate you to put these principles into practice.

But wait, there’s more. At the book’s web site,, there are worksheets and forms that will help you to implement the triggers for meetings, writing materials and any other way you’d like to use them.


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

16 Reactions
  1. Do you know if the 7 triggers to a yes have a base in the marketing steps called AIDA (Attention –> Interest –> Desire –> Action)?

  2. bookmarketing newbie

    These seem perfect – seven different ways to connect and make a sale. Each one can be used online as marketing techniques – reciprocity trigger would be just like having an op-in mailing newsletter with a freebie attached and so on. Thanks.

  3. Hi Martin! I’m NOT the expert in 7 Triggers, so I’ve forwarded this post to the author who will hopefully answer your question from HIS perspective. But let me throw my two cents in anyway.

    My first response is to say yes to your question. Here are my reasons. As long as humans have been “trading” we’ve observed that emotions were a powerful driver for trade. We’ve all observed that persuasion and those who could persuade were ultimately more successful than those who couldn’t. If you’ve been following the on going drama that is our election cycle in the US, you’ll see this in action. So, AIDA (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action) are the names we’ve given to this in sales and marketing. What makes the 7-triggers so powerful is the scientific proof that carries this process beyond observation and actually shows our brain centers in action as we move through the persuasion process.

    So – a rose by any other name would smell as sweet – huh?

  4. Hey “Bookmarketingnewbie”! If you’re interested in applying the 7-triggers, check out this post on my blog where I talk about that:

  5. Thank you Ivana for recommending what sounds like a great read. From what you outlined here, it looks like everyone can find some value in reading this book.

  6. Hi Ivana,

    His 7 triggers remind me of an amazing social psychology book, Influence — by Cialdini. Cialdini’s book has been around for quite some time, and it actually explains the majority of Russell’s seven triggers (probably all of it, although I might be confusing his journal articles with his Influence book).

  7. Martin Lindeskog


    Thanks for your take on the 7 triggers to yes. I look forward to hear from the author. If you are interested in the “brainy” field, I recommend you to read Ayn Rand’s thoughts on psycho-epistemology.

  8. Completely agree with you there. I would also like to add my two cents. I think that ‘In creating a sustainable competitive differentiation, how you sell is more important than what you sell’. So i guess another formula could be Identify + Qualify + Propose + Close. (You have correctly dwelled deeper on these foundations to come up with a comprehensive list.

    From all my experience in business, i think its important for a company to find its ‘sweet spot’ as well. To do all these things i also think that its very important to have certain processes in place.

    To do all this its important to MANAGE your business and marketing & sales processes. i’ve been developing a solution to some of these problems related to processes – a project collaboration tool called Deskaway . A free version exists and an enterprise version is not too expensive either. The point is, if processes are in place then a company can easily focus on the finer aspects of one’s work (which is important for a business to scale up).

  9. Sahil –

    Thanks for your 2 cents! I completely agree with having a process. If you’re not following and managing a process – then how can you ever improve? I’m just about to jump onto the link you provided. Can’t wait to see what’s there.