How to Defuse Sales Objections Using Chris Voss’s Method


If you are not familiar with Chris Voss’s method, this material won’t be useful. To get the most out of this guide, enroll in Chris’s Masterclass. The Masterclass combined with deliberate practice won’t just help you defuse objections. It will also give you the superpower to get through to anyone you meet in your personal and professional life.


Your prospect says, “We’re already working with another vendor.”

How would you respond?

Most salespeople would say something like this:

“At this point, I’m not asking you to rip anything out, I’d just like an opportunity to show you why we’re different.”

“Companies that use both of our offerings often find that our product makes accomplishing your goal much easier.”

“Rebuttals” like these destroy your credibility because prospects can smell your commission breadth.

Overcoming objections doesn’t get you very far. People dig their heels in even deeper. It’s called the backfire effect.

Your personal trainer tells you not to eat cookies, and you end up eating even more cookies than you usually would.

Why does this happen?

People have strong beliefs about what others should be allowed to request. People don’t like to feel their freedom to choose is being restricted.

Shifting From Overcoming to Understanding

Aikido is very different from Judo.

Judo is akin to combat. You push me. I push you back.

Aikido is the art of taking another person’s attack and neutralizing it by redirecting it in a peaceful, nonviolent way.

Why am I talking about this?

Whenever someone tries to push you by overcoming an objection, you push back and resist, it’s called reactance.

Instead of thinking about objections as things you have to overcome, view them as something to understand.


It’s biological.

I have a hunger to be heard and accepted. So do you. So does everyone. The desire to feel understood and accepted is hard-wired into our DNA.

When people feel understood, they are more open to listening to what you have to say.

The opposite is also true.


This guide gives you the best chance of getting to the truth behind every conversation you have with a prospect – (1) Yes, they are interested in talking further or (2) No, they aren’t at this time.

When you intend to overcome objections so you can push the sale forward, you believe in ways that come across as self-serving. When you assume everyone needs what you’re selling, prospects can smell your commission breadth. They know you’re putting your best interests first, so they retreat.

Key Concepts


A simple technique where you repeat the last 2-3 words or most critical piece of information the other person said.

For example, if a prospect says, “Send me some information,” a mirror sounds like, “Some information?” (With a slight up-tone as if to say, “Tell me more.”)

This builds rapport with prospects because you’re demonstrating that you’re listening and have heard what they had to say. When you mirror, prospects provide additional information.


Reading between the lines to call out the emotion the prospect is thinking.

For example, a prospect tells you you they’re using a vendor, you might label by saying, “Sounds like you’re happy with who you have.”

Calibrated Question

Imagine you’re doing a project that’s $100,000. The project takes three months. 50% work is done in the first month. You ask for the following payment terms:

Payment 1: 50k

Payment 2: 25k

Payment 3: 25k

The other side wants to pay in equal installments.


“How am I supposed to do that if the project is front end loaded.”

Calibrated questions enlist the help of the other person to solve the problem. When you ask others for help, they feel in control, which lowers resistance. Calibrated questions start with “How” and “What”.


“What makes you ask?”

“What do you suggest?”

“How can I overcome the challenge of discounting without reducing scope?”

“How do we know the procurement would agree with this?”

Accusation Audit

An accusation audit acknowledges the negative emotions the prospect is probably thinking. It’s calling out the elephants in the room. Calling out the negatives defuses negatives.

For example, when you cold call, your prospect is probably thinking, “I hate cold getting cold calls.”

To defuse the negative emotion, call it out:

“You’re probably going to hate me because this is a cold call. Would you like to hang up, or can I steal a minute?”


“I’m probably overstepping my bounds here, but __”

“The timing is probably off but …”

“You’re probably going to hate me …”

“I’m about to ask an awkward question.”

“You probably think I’m going to pressure you to move forward.”

No-Oriented Question

Imagine you’re in the mall, and an aggressive kiosk person says, “Can I ask you a question?”

How do you respond?

If you’re like most people, your brain subconsciously thinks, “What am I getting myself into if I say ‘yes’?”

So you pick up the pace because you know if you say “yes”, you’re going to end up being pressured into buying some sea scrub you don’t want.

Prospects are apprehensive about saying “yes” because it feels like they are committing. “No-oriented” questions feel safe.

Example :

“Would you be opposed to looking at options for potentially lowering your property taxes and insurance premiums?

“Would you be against..”

“Would you be opposed to..”

“Would it be a crazy idea..”

“Would it be out of line to suggest..”

Here’s Voss:

“When you say ‘no’, you feel safe and protected. You feel like you’ve not committed, so you’re going to give me a lot more information.”

“We’re already using a vendor for that.”


“I’m sorry, another vendor?”

Repeating the last few words or most critical pieces of info builds rapport because it shows you’re listening.


“It sounds like they’ve been a great partner.”

Describing what someone is feeling makes them feel heard. Everyone has a hunger to be heard. Again it gets back to making people feel understood.

Calibrated question

“What is it about them that you like?”

Often if you pause after the prospect responds, they’ll tell you what they don’t like too.

Accusation audit + a “no-oriented” question

“This is probably a ridiculous question, but would you be opposed to seeing if there are opportunities beyond what you have now to avoid overpaying for property taxes? Not for now, but so that you can see what your options are for the future?”

“The timing is off”


“I’m sorry, timing is off?”


“Sounds like you have a lot on your plate.”

“Looks like I called you at the worst possible time.”

Accusation audit

“I’m about to ask you an awkward question ” (Pause)


“Sometimes when people tell me the timing is off, it’s just a polite way of saying get away from me you annoying salesperson, I’m not interested. Would you like to fire me right now? It’s okay, I’ve been fires three times this week.”

No-Oriented Question

“Would you be against seeing if there are opportunities beyond what you have now to avoid overpaying taxes? Not for now, but so that you can see what your options are for the future?”

“I’m not interested”


“Sounds like I butchered this pitch.”

“Can you send me some information?”


“I’m sorry, some information?”

Calibrated Question

“What type of information would you like?”

Accusation Audit + Go for No

“It sounds like I might be pressuring you. (Pause). Usually, when people ask for information, it’s just a nice way of saying they’re not interested, which is perfectly okay.”