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Show Them You Know How They Feel…

Feeling Your Way Around an Objection

In sales and in life in general, we all have to deal with emotions and feelings. Feelings, whether rational or not, cannot be denied.  If a customer, partner, colleague, friend or loved one feels something, that feeling is true. Now, granted, that feeling may be based on a false assumption, bad information or something irrational. However, denying someone’s feeling is a recipe for disaster, particularly in sales. 

When a customer raises an objection based on an opinion or a feeling, you can use the “Feel, Felt, Found” technique to defuse their concern. Some key phrases to watch for include I think, I know, I feel, I don’t feel comfortable or I’m not sure.  When you hear these phrases, you know you’re dealing with feelings.  “Feel, Felt, Found” allows you to acknowledge a customer’s feeling and then respond to their concern

There process has three steps and works like this:

1.   Feel: I understand how you feel…

 You are acknowledging the concern

2.   Felt: I have/Others have felt…

      You are pointing out why that is a valid concern

3.   Found: I found/Others found…

You are defusing the concern and providing a reason

Some examples of how Feel, Felt, Found can be used are:

Customer: “I just don’t know if your company can have the materials delivered to us in time.”

Sales Rep: “I understand how you feel. General Motors felt the same way when they purchased our materials for their Dearborn headquarters. Once they placed the order with us, they found that we were able to ship the materials to them well ahead of schedule so that they could be distributed to their entire staff before the open enrollment period.”

In this instance, a specific customer situation was used to alleviate a client’s concern.  The technique can also be used with more generic responses.

Customer: “We just don’t feel comfortable working with your company since we’ve never heard of you working in California.”

Sales Rep: “I can understand why you feel that way.  We had several customers in Oregon feel that way when we first started doing business there. After working with us and finding out about our seventy-five years of experience and our Fortune 500 client list, they found that we are a reputable supplier who can easily meet their requirements.”

Another example might provide a customer with a reference to an authoritative resource to defuse their particular concern:

Customer: “I don’t know that your servers have enough processing power to handle the vast amounts of data we handle every day.”

Sales Rep: “I can see why you feel that way. Not having enough processing power could be disastrous. We’ve had other customers bring up that same concern. Yet, when they read the Gartner Group study on our servers and how they outperformed every other server in the marketplace, they found that they could rely on our equipment to meet their needs.”

This formula works very well. It allows you to acknowledge a concern without telling a customer that they’re wrong. Rather than using showstopper phrases like, “yeah, but”, you are able to answer their question and then show them (in a gentle way) why their concern can be handled.

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