Last week we looked at the pre-close technique. As part of this, we discussed using pre-close questions at every stage of the buying process, to encourage more revealing feedback from the customer. The 6C approach, on the other hand, should be used purely in the “discovery” stage of the sales process.
As we have said before, sales is a learning process and we need to educate the buyer correctly. To help them make a decision, we need to build or recognise a problem or an opportunity, so that we can create a clash between what is possible, with your service, and what their current reality is.
All about value
You may also remember our article on adding value for the customer. We do that by climbing to each stage of the metaphorical sales ladder and using disconfirmation to identify meaningful differences between reality and potential reality. The 6C approach helps us to do that.
The approach is comprised of the following categories:
- Challenges: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
- Concerns: How are you currently dealing with that problem?
- Context: How did this problem start?
- Consequences: How is that problem affecting your organisation?
- Conclusion: What does success look like?
- Commitment: If we can provide a solution for you, what would be your next steps?
A few tips
The order above is meant only as a general guideline. You can start anywhere in this sequence and you should try to use more than just a single question in each category. You can even go back and forth in the order if you feel it necessary! Here are a few more tips for utilising the 6C approach:
- You may think the “discovery” stage is about the salesperson “discovering” however you should flip this and think of it more as about the prospect discovering their own discontent. The 6C approach facilitates their discovery journey. Your questions need to make them reflect and internalise this.
- You should use open-ended questions, as much as possible. Closed questions will make the 6C approach sound more like a sales pitch or interrogation. Create and sustain conversation by minimising closed questions and maximising open-ended ones
- When handling close-minded prospects they may not see or admit to their current reality. In this case, consider reversing the order of questions (starting by “what does success look like?” and moving backwards to the problem or obstacle that is preventing it from becoming a reality).
- An easy way to remember the 6C Approach is to emulate your GP. Think about what they do in your short, 10-minute appointment and how they ask questions to reveal the cause of any symptoms (challenges).
I hope this has helped you to identify some important areas of your own sales process that can be improved. It is not an easy fix or something that will be easy to implement perfectly at first but once perfected there is undoubted value in this approach.
Practice makes perfect
As I’m sure you realise, without practice, you will not be able to reproduce any sequence of behaviours effectively, over and over again. You will need to practice this consistently until it becomes second nature, once you are there you will find it comes easily every time you interact with a new prospect and your sales technique will improve substantially.
If you would like to discuss this or any other topic, it would be great to hear from you. We are more than happy to guide any areas of your business you are finding particularly challenging right now, so please let us know where we can help.