For those of you who do not know what BANT is, it stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Time. If you are not familiar with BANT, or need a refresher, I suggest you read “Intro To BANT” before continuing. In this article, I am going to cover some great qualifying questions for each of the categories, and why they are effective.
BANT – Budget
Do you have budget set aside for this?
While some feel uncomfortable asking such a blunt question about money, it is not inappropriate in a sales setting. It is vital to quickly understand what the monetary constraints are, and if you are even a viable prospect. Do not spend extensive time with someone who is just window shopping.
When is your budget planning cycle?
Most companies have a budget planning cycle where they determine the spending either annually, twice a year, or quarterly. It is important to know that if they are interested, when the next opportunity to get budget set aside is.
BANT - Authority
Are you the decision maker?
It is okay to ask if the lead you are talking to has the authority to make a final decision. If they are not the decision maker or an influencer, you may be wasting their time as much as they are wasting yours. Ideally, this person will direct you to the appropriate point of contact but beware, as some will think/pretend they have authority they don’t and you will waste time with the wrong person.
Is there a selection committee?
Many times, if you are selling an enterprise solution, many gate-keepers are involved. Be sure to understand your prospect’s corporate structure, so you can tailor your approach to the correct people. If there is a selection committee of sorts, it is important to do extra account planning to tailor a message and get in front of this group.
BANT - Need
Have you ever found that X pain exists in your sales organization?
Sometimes people have a significant pain point, that they did not even know they had. In order to inspire the lead to want your product or service, they need to first understand that they have a problem that needs fixing.
If I can save you X, would that make you interested?
Once the pain point is identified, see if they are interested in fixing it. Sometimes they will, but sometimes they will not see value in your solution. If this is the case, spend some time building the value of your offering. If they are not convinced, move on and realize you may have some work to do on your pitch.
BANT - Time
When do you need to make a decision?
Inaction is always easier than action, so there needs to be a reason to act now instead of later. If they have no timeline, try to artificially create them with time sensitive discounts, promotions, and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt).
What factors are at play in this decision?
Sometimes there is pressure from management to fix a problem quickly, and other times it takes some convincing. Either way, you should understand the internal dynamics facing your prospect, so you can adjust your sale accordingly.
The sooner you are able to qualify the lead, the sooner you know if you are spending your time on the right person. Do not be afraid to ask the hard questions, as they are the most important. Spending time dancing around the questions you really want answers to wastes their time as much as it wastes yours.