One of the most valuable things in life AND business is time. For example, choosing to spend time on a bad lead is a wasteful use of time. While every business is unique, there is a common qualifying procedure for leads known as BANT. Using BANT cuts time-wasting WAY back in sales.
What is BANT?
A sales qualification framework used to identify and pursue leads. BANT helps determine which ones are most likely to buy based on their budget, authority, needs and timing.
Let’s dive deeper...
So what is the guideline for determining if a prospect is a serious buyer or not? According to the creator of IBM, three out of four of the following criteria must be met in order to establish whether a buyer is serious or wasting precious time better spent elsewhere. It is important to note that this method can be used during various stages of the sales process.
The Four BANT Criteria:
Let's explore each of the qualifiers and how to benefit most from them. Before asking a prospect these four questions, it's important to establish rapport.
The answers to these questions can arise more naturally in a dialogue with the prospect.
The primary goal of any business is to create revenue. Just as every business has a budget, so do individuals. It’s essential to determine if they are even able to buy the product or service. Even if they love it, they must be able to afford it first. Ask various questions to fully understand the budget such as what has the buyer or the company paid for similar services in the past. Once it is determined that the product/service is in their budget, it’s time to move to the next qualifier. However, if it is determined that the budget is not adequate, decide is it's better to move on or if it's worth trying to pitch the value of the product or service.
Not knowing who the authority is for deciding whether to buy or not can delay the process significantly. The answer to this question should be determined early on and it may take some digging to get to the right person.
Remember to make every lead feel valuable, even if they don’t have the authority to make the decision themselves. Sometimes they can be a big influence on the decision. The last thing you want to do is burn a bridge.
The third qualifier is finding out if they need what you are selling them. First you must identify the main problems. Second, you should find out if what you are selling is the solution to fix that problem. Sometimes customers will have unrealistic expectations and selling to them can create dissatisfaction later.
Timing is everything as the saying goes. You could have the solution to the need and it’s within the customers budget, but if they aren’t ready to make a purchase, then they are no longer qualified. For instance, if the customer is ready in six months, then you should put a reminder to follow up in six months or less. Many sales are made through following up.
BANT is an age-old proven process within sales. However, keep in mind that some buyers may have done research prior to contacting sales. It's important to evaluate the prospects' knowledge and decide if BANT is the best approach.
BANT has an easy framework that can be implemented into training programs for sales teams across a myriad of industries. By having a standardized process, the individual or company can analyze their results and determine if this method is effective.