“This Is How To Trigger Someone In A Negotiation” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“When you treat someone in an exemplary manner, anything less than that becomes ordinary to them. Beware of the expectation triggers you setoff in others.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“This Is How To Trigger Someone In A Negotiation”

People don’t realize; they’re always negotiating.

I heard music that brought back memories from many years ago. As I listened, a broad smile captured my face. The music was the trigger of that occurrence.

When you’re in a negotiation, are you aware of the triggers that motivate your actions, your thoughts? Do you consider how the other negotiator is driven by what’s triggering him? You should be astutely aware of what’s occurring below your mental state of consciousness in both cases. Because therein lies, what will dictate the degree of success you’ll have in the negotiation. Observe the following insights about triggers, how they work, and how you can use them to motivate someone to take action in your negotiation.

Good Triggers – Bad Triggers

Triggers are not good or bad. It’s the action that follows them, and how the deed is perceived, that determines that. Thus, if you or the other negotiator become triggered by a pleasant thought that evokes moments of happiness, someone may assess that emotion to be good. The opposite is true with a trigger that’s perceived to evoke negative feelings.

Therefore, you should know, or strongly suspect, how someone might react to your trigger, based on their past experiences. Even more important, you should have an idea of how you’ll respond to being triggered. Because in a negotiation, triggers can have a profound impact on the flow of the discussions.  

Intuition Trigger

The less time you give someone to think when triggering their intuition, the more subjective they’ll be in their response. That means, if you create a scenario evoking an image that’s happy or sad, a past emotion will be the primary driver of his feelings. And time is essential as a factor in this case. Because, as stated, the less time you give your counterpart to respond, the less time he’ll have to think, which means he’ll rely more on his intuition to come to a quick decision. It’ll be a decision that you helped foster by the image stimuli that maneuvered his thought process.

Intuition triggering can be the psychological ploy that motivates the other negotiator to engage before realizing where those actions may lead. That can be good or bad for you. Therefore, when you trigger someone via their intuition, calculate your actions’, down and upside, before doing so. You don’t want to hurt your efforts – especially if they’re due to your lack of intuition about the possible outcome of your actions.

Affinity Trigger

Think about someone that fills your mind with happiness. It can be someone of prominence or someone that lacks notoriety. Can you see the image of that person? I’ll wait for a moment. Note how you feel right now.

During the negotiation, suppose you thought of someone, or a sound, that puts you into a happier mental state. Imagine the same for the other negotiator; only, in that case, you were the one that evoked the image or sound. While in that state, one’s positive feelings connect to the person they’re with, which means situations and people become perceived as being in a more positive light. That’s the affinity trigger working.

To use the affinity trigger in a negotiation, identify situations and people for whom the other negotiator has an affinity. Then, during the exchange of offers, if you wish to alter your opposition’s mental state or the talks’ flow, evoke situations or people you identified for that purpose, and observe the response. You might witness a whimsical expression appear on the face of the other negotiator. He may lean back and look upwards as though he was in a momentary trance. If he displays such signals, he’s in the mindset that you sought. That’s the time to push for the outcome you desire. His guard is down, and he’s in a more receptive mood for your offer.

The affinity trigger is employed by car salespeople when they say, think about how you’ll feel when other people see you in your new car. In that situation, they’re attempting to bring to mind the good feelings you experienced when you made a purchase that enhanced your persona. The car salesperson is appealing directly to your ego. Never discount the value of the affinity trigger. It can become a strong ally if used appropriately during a negotiation.

Visual vs. Auditory Triggers

When assessing the type of trigger you’ll evoke during your negotiation, consider to what degree the other negotiator is more visual versus auditory. Having that insight will assist you in making your trigger more impactful. If you’re initially not aware of his preference, listen to the words he uses to express his thoughts and opinions. For example, when talking about his past negotiations, he may say, I could see from the start that that negotiation was going to be tough. With those words, he spoke from a visual perspective (i.e., see). If instead, he said, I could tell by the other negotiator’s tone that the negotiation would be tough. He’d be speaking from an auditory point of view (i.e., tone).  

The more you understand and pay attention to the nuances that someone’s speech conveys, visual versus auditory, the better you’ll be able to connect with them. To do that, speak from the same perspective as they’re talking (e.g., they say see, you also speak from a visual perspective). That’s vitally important when triggering someone because they’ll hear the echo of their voice in your words.


Using triggers in a negotiation can help your offers appear more appealing by altering the other negotiator’s mind. If undetected, a trigger can become your unseen ally. That’s what makes triggers so valuable. Before engaging in your next negotiation, assess how you might employ a trigger’s power. Use them to catapult your negotiation efforts into the land of success that you only imagined. You’ll become amazed at the results you achieve at the negotiation table. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight,” click here https://themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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