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Feel, Felt, Found: here’s how my military experience might apply to your company’s own objectives


Objection handling is an important segment of the IBM sales training that I help to teach to newly hired employees.

There are numerous methods and models and tips for encouraging and handling client objections. Change to existing process is always difficult at the enterprise level and too many vendors promote their products as near-magical in their implementations = “won't be a problem.” The result is that clients are ever-skeptical of the product descriptions from their own vendors.

Sales reps are encouraged to handle objections in a direct and sincere manner employing the following logic-flow when encountering a client objection of any sort:

“I understand how you feel.” It is important to acknowledge the objection. Never ignore an objection of any magnitude.

“Others have felt the same way.” Objections or criticism are difficult to offer in our culture. Often clients say nothing or do not reveal their true thinking. Receiving an objection is a chance to resolve the objection. Including others is a way of diffusing the tension of objecting.

“I've found that when clients understand the following ... that their point of view about our product etc changes.”

Applying the 3 Fs to the Veteran Interview

Interviewer's Objection: “How might your military experience apply to the position that we have posted?”

This is an objection by the HR rep or the Talent Acquisition Manager or the individual considering you for a particular position.

I suggest that you reply in a relaxed, natural manner. You may want to use the phrases of Feel, Felt and Found. Or you may be more comfortable with similar and different words and phrases. Important is to:

  • Acknowledge the objection: “I understand how you may feel. The military has a vocabulary of its own and it is often difficult to understand how our experiences translate to commercial positions and objectives.”

  • “Other prospective employers have felt the same way as they try to match my training and experiences in the submarine service (or the Signal Corps or as a helicopter pilot etc).”

  • “I've found that when I am able to explain how my roles and responsibilities in the military realm of Mission Focus can apply directly to the commercial world of Profit and Loss, that prospective employers value our Leadership Experience, Technical Training and Capability to Achieve a Strategic Objective. Let me give you a couple of examples.”


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