Answering Sales Objections

There are many ways of answering sales objections.
Let's take a look at one.

I'm sure that any of you that have been involved sales for some time would have heard of the "Feel-Felt-Found" approach to dealing with an objection.

Just for a review let's go through an example.

Your prospect says something like, 
"I'd love to use your service but we just can't afford it." 
(Sound familiar?)

A brief example of answering sales objections using "feel-felt-found" (fff), would be something like the following.
"Strange you should say that. 
I can certainly understand how you could feel that way. 
Mr Jones over at Allied Inc felt the same way for a long time.
Then after he started using our service he found that the added cost
was minimal and was far outweighed by the benefits of our premium service."

This is quite an effective tack for answering sales objections.

The trouble with any "scripted" approach like this is that it can easily be spotted by a professional buyer who has been around for a while. 

So, the question becomes, why does "feel-felt-found" work and how can we use something similar to get the same, or better, results?

I believe "feel-felt-found" works in answering sales objections for several reasons:

  • It uses time distortion language
  • It tells a story
  • It sells indirectly, via the "quotes" or experience of the other customer.
  • It paces the prospect's current experience and then leads them to consider the experience from a different point of view

Everybody loves to listen to a story. 
Children love it. 
People stand around at parties telling them.
People lean over the fence to tell stories to their neighbour.
The minute you start talking about the experience of another person who now uses your product or service you get your prospect involved in the story.
So, you have your prospect's attention.

I love the intricacies of language.
Verb tenses are a particularly good influencing tool. 
What "feel-felt-found" does is move the prospect's objection into the past and offers an alternative belief for them to consider.

Let me explain.
When you first refer to the prospect's objection using "feel-felt-found" you use the verb feel, which is present tense and thus mirrors the prospect's current thoughts on your offer.

Then when you start talking about Mr Jones it is quite likely that your prospect will associate with Mr Jones' experience (especially if they have a similar business) and then you are using "felt" which is past tense.

By using the verb in past tense you are changing your prospect's objection from an objection they are having now to one that they HAD in the past.

This opens up the prospect's future to consider a new reality.

Finally, when you start talking about what Mr Jones "found" you preface that verb with the phrase "after he started using our service".

So, you move the prospect into the future AFTER having used your service and then invite them to consider the good experience that Mr Jones had. 
Of course, when they consider what Mr Jones found they are trying it on themselves, aren't they?

Now that you know how "feel-felt-found" is answering sales objections by using verb tense and story to counter an objection you can come up with a general formula to do something similar, without risking being caught using "feel-felt-found".

That formula would be something like:

  • Agree with the prospect's current objection,
  • Move that objection into the past,
  • Then take their thoughts into the future and, by implication, invite your prospect to consider having discovered a different reality.

So, back to our original statement, 
"I'd love to use your service but we just can't afford it."

I appreciate our service is not cheap. 
Have you always thought about our service in that way? 
Having had that thought it would not have been easy to consider using our product, would it?
You know many of our current clients used to think that same way until they started using our service.
For example, Mr Jones told me, after he'd been using X for a while that his … far exceeded his previous…"

This achieves the same results as "feel-felt-found" and is much less likely to be detected as a scripted way of answering sales objections.

It takes some practice but the results could well be worth it.
Feel-Felt-Found is certainly an nice way of answering sales objections.
If you do not want to get caught out you could use the template on this page to devise your own response.
Anyway, you don't have to believe me, just give it a try and see what results you get.

If you don't like it you could explore other ways of answering sales objections.

Here's to YourSalesSuccess.