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You’ve had a bad day at work. A couple of your most promising deals now seem like they’re going sour. Tired and frustrated, you slide into your car, grip your icy-cold steering wheel, and start your trek back home. Just a few minutes into your commute, the driver next to you puts on her turn signal, politely asking to shift into your lane. You inch your car forward and close the gap she wanted.

That’s transference.

Transference is the human tendency to act upon emotions outside of the context from which they arose. Transference makes you more likely to donate to charity when you’re feeling up and to fight with a loved one when you’re down.

In your cold calls, to channel the power of transference:

Help your prospects attribute negative feelings to their pains and positive feelings to your solutions.

Your cold call is going to be an emotionally charged environment. You can’t help that, nor should you try to. With transference, your goal is to use this emotionally charged environment to your advantage.

The frustration, impatience, guilt, and skepticism that your prospect feels on your cold call—direct those feelings toward your prospect’s pains to help your case. Is your prospect worn out after a long day of work and taking it out on your call? Think about whaDCF 1.0t might have worn your prospect out. “Ms. Prospect,” you commiserate. “You don’t have Authority X beating down your door, do you?” With this question, you a) demonstrate that you understand your prospect’s difficulties, and b) redirect your prospect’s attention toward those difficulties. When you proceed to suggest that you might be able to make Authority X less of an issue, you cease to be the bothersome cold caller and instead become the hero.

Insert yourself into your prospect’s positive emotions all the same. Get excited about your prospect. Joke around with your prospect. If your prospect tells you about her wonderful day, tell her about yours.

All intense emotions, if channeled properly, can lead to intense support for your solution. Become skillful in transference, and you will find that your prospects will sell themselves.

Further Readings: 

1) The Gatekeeper is the Decision Maker

2) Your Upfront Contract

3) An Honest Way to Develop Empathy