Cold Reading

I gotta lot of time for Derren Brown’s shows.  It’s really the way he has balls of steel to fool people, but without ever quite saying ‘I’m too clever for you’, like a sleight of hand magician too often does, and just doing enough to expose something whilst admitting to use trickery.  In his Messiah show, he posed as a John Edward’s type the-dead-talk-to-me guy.  (If you’ve never seen Crossing Over, don’t worry, it’s best to live life without.)

Derren Brown ends his show in Manhattan passing on messages from the grave to 3 New Yorkers.  It was classic Brown.  In a church.  Lights out.  Flickering candles.  Anyway, before he went in, he mentioned a key technique he would use was Cold Reading.  It’d also been used by “psychics” for 150+ years.

Popping round the web, two elements of Cold Reading can have a direct impact on selling.


Imagine, you feel you’ve got someone on the verge of opening up, maybe it’s to divulge initial requirements, or dish the dirt on internal politics.  Shotgunning will generate more info for you, allow you to dig deeper.  You know several of the things that normally apply for a customer situation to exist, so rattle some off as many as you can and see which gains a flicker of an eyebrow lift, and home in on it.

Forer Effect/Barnum Statements

This is saying something essentially incredibly vague, yet the listener will feel you’re on the right lines and begin to elaborate for you.  I surfed about Forer and found long paragraphs that describe “you” and how you might feel.  By the end of the prose, some of it rings true, so you feel he really has got inside you, yet in reality, the same amount would resonate with absolutely anyone.  An application for this is knowing what pain, circumstance and aspiration is typical for your customers, and develop a page that describes it all.

Subscribe to Salespodder

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.