Overcoming Sales Objections with “Verbal Judo”: Feel, Felt, Found


The Art and Science of Selling Series: Part 2

By CEO of Consensus, Garin Hess, @Garin_Hess

Consensus’ custom demo automation platform accelerates sales by reducing sales cycles and increasing close rates, but with most B2B sales, you still need to have great sales skills to get the deal over the finish line.

Inside Consensus, we’re holding intensive sales training to better equip our own account executives. In this series, we’re sharing what we’re learning in easily consumable chunks.


judo representing sales science of feel felt found
Avoid working against your prospect’s force; instead, use it to your advantage.

Verbal Judo

Listen to this interesting core Judo principle:

Don’t resist when your opponent pushes you; rather, increase your pace in that direction and pull him a little at the same time, or vice versa should he pull you. Don’t let him ever get the “strain” on you, but go with him… (judoinfo.com)

Why the instruction “Don’t resist”? Because when someone comes at you with force, your first temptation is to resist with force. But that’s the beauty of Judo is it uses the other person’s force to your advantage.

When someone raises an objection, let’s say about the price of your solution, “Don’t Resist”. As it says, “increase your pace in that direction”.  That means, move with the force, not against it.

When we get an objection is sales, instead of resisting, we need to move right with it. An objection necessarily, at first, places our prospect on one side and you on the other. The end goal is to get on the same side, and resistance keeps us on opposite sides.

Here’s how you do it.


Isolate the Objection

This article dives into this, but before you proceed with overcoming the objection, make sure to isolate it. That means truly discover what the objection is and make sure it’s the main objection between you and getting the deal done. You typically do this by asking multiple additional questions, then restating.

Once you know for sure what the objection is, then move to Feel, Felt, Found.


Feel, Felt Found

“Feel, Felt, Found” is the most simple and effective framework I’ve ever come across for handling objections. Here’s how it works:


Express empathy—truly. Don’t fake it. Put yourselves in their shoes and try to understand where they are coming from, then express that.

“You know, if I were in your shoes, I would have the same concern…”

“It makes perfect sense to me that you want the best value for your money…”

This is Verbal Judo at its core: you’re taking away the resistance. Empathy instantly begins to drop the barriers.


Next, explain that you or your clients felt that way in the same situation.

“Many of our clients similar to your situation initially had that concern as well… “

“I used to feel that way when I was in a similar situation…”

This helps them realize that their problem isn’t unique to them and opens their mind to the possibilities of solutions already learned by others.


Now explain what they discovered (found) that made the difference and made them adopt your solution anyway.

“What they found was that what looked like a large investment at first turned into a large ROI…”

“What I found was that…”

This is the final non-resistance move and lays the groundwork for turning the tables around and moving back into a productive problem-solving discussion.


Finally, ask permission to push back. “Would it be helpful to explore some of the things I’ve learned working with other prospects in similar situations that might be helpful?”


Example #1

Objection: Your prices are too high.

Feel: “I get where you’re coming from. If I were in your shoes, running your business, I would want to make sure I got the most value for every dollar spent. Plus budgets are tight all around, so it makes sense to me that you want to use the capital you have in the best way possible.

Felt: “We have many clients who were initially concerned about our prices as well. We’re not the cheapest option out there, as you know.

Found: “What they found is that after a thorough exploration of an ROI analysis and checking with some of clients as references they discovered that the price point is actually a great value because the ROI is so excellent.

Permission: “Would you mind if I take a few minutes to explain how this worked for them and see if that might be something that could work for you?”

Example #2

Objection: Your competition seems to have a better solution.

Feel: “Thanks for sharing that concern with me. It makes total sense to me that you are evaluating all of the options out there.

Felt:  “I am the same way: when I buy a product, I always want to try to make the best decision given all of the different options.  Just last month I was buying a car and it was hard making the right decision, given all of the factors involved and so many competing options.”

Felt: “What I’ve found is that the best decision isn’t just about the quality or features, but it involves all aspects including price, post purchase service, and even some intangibles, like user experience.

Permission: “Would you mind if we spent a few minutes going back over the different aspects of what you need to see if we can come up with a combined package that would work for you?”


Tips to Remember

The key to effectively using this framework is to be sincere. And the only way to be sincere is if you truly believe you don’t have to have the deal. You are there to help them solve a problem, not to get the deal. If you solve their problem, they will buy. Using Feel, Felt, Found, as verbal judo will take the opposition out of the objection and help you move to a more collaborative discussion to build the right value.


About Consensus

Consensus is Software as a Service (SaaS) that automates custom product demos to accelerate sales. Our interactive demo platform personalizes video and documents so each prospect automatically learns about your solution in the most relevant way. This cuts sales cycles and increases close rates. Our Demolytics™ dashboard helps you discover and engage the entire buying committee by gathering analytics and tracking who’s involved, what’s important to them, what they watched, and who they shared it with. This drives consensus and gets to a purchase decision much faster than traditional sales methods. Clients have cut their sales cycles by 68% and jumped close rates by 27%.

Click here to see the DemoChimp Demo.

Consensus is Intelligent Demo Automation that scales your presales function.
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