Finding the Trigger Event

What’s a “trigger event?”

Don’t worry. You don’t need a gun. Nobody shoots.

A trigger event is a change at an organization. It could be new management, a new product introduction, a merger, or reorganization. Also, it could be dissatisfaction with a provider or program.

These events often “trigger” a need. And that triggers an opportunity for outside professionals.

A new CEO needs a new strategy. A new CMO needs a new marketing campaign. A new product needs a launch plan. A dissatisfied executive needs a new…(fill in the blank).

You get the idea.

Some trigger events are very public. They are announced in the media and on the internet via press release. Other events are less publicized.

Dissatisfaction, one of the most powerful triggers, can be very private. You may need a connection inside the company to learn about the opportunity.

Types of Trigger Events

As the chart below suggests, there are many types of trigger events. They fall into these categories:

  • Executive changes: New CEO, new CMO, new CFO, etc.
  • Marketing & Sales: New products, new markets, new branding, new (or lost) customers, etc.
  • Financial: New financing, restructuring, etc.
  • Organizational: Merger, layoffs, relocation, etc.
  • External: Regulatory changes, competition, technology, etc.

The graphic below gives a good overview of trigger events. It’s a bit hard to read but worth checking out.

Click on Trigger Events visual to enlarge.

Capitalizing on Trigger Events

Here are four ways to capitalize on a trigger event:

  1. A colleague alerts you to an opportunity and makes an introduction.
  2. You hear about an event and ask a colleague for an introduction.
  3. You reconnect with a client/prospect/colleague.
  4. You make a cold call (yuck!).

1. Unsolicited introduction

An unsolicited introduction usually happens because you’ve educated a colleague about appropriate opportunities. One of the most effective ways to get referrals is to describe trigger events that are opportunities for you.

In this case, your colleague has given you an implicit recommendation by making an unsolicited introduction. Also, if the trigger event is dissatisfaction, you may not have heard about the opportunity otherwise.

There’s another advantage: little or no competition for the project. You may be the only person the company considers.

2. Solicited Introduction

If you hear about an opportunity, go to LinkedIn. If you share a connection with the prospect, ask your contact for an introduction.

It’s not as good as an unsolicited introduction. But it’s better than going in cold. The prospect is more likely to talk to you.

3. Reconnect

An event is a great excuse to contact a client, prospect, or colleague. Sending a congratulatory note (if it’s a positive “event”) is a good way to stay on the person’s radar screen.

4. Cold Call

A cold call is a low percentage proposition. But if you know that Ms. BIG has a need you can fill, it’s worth trying. She may take (or return) your call if she thinks you can help. This is the only circumstance where, in my opinion, a cold call can be effective.

Trigger Event Alerts

There are a variety of services (free and paid) that will send you an alert when an event of interest occurs. You can define your trigger events with very specific criteria.

Here are some services to consider:

  1. Google Alerts (Free)
  2. iSell/OneSource (Paid)
  3. Inside View (Paid)
  4. Factiva/Dow Jones Companies and Executives (Paid)