BANT In Sales – How Does It Work?
BANT is a common acronym in the world of sales and is a great methodology and framework to qualify your potential clients.
In this article we’ll look at where BANT originated, what it stands for, as well as break down each part of BANT for you to use in your sales conversations and qualification process.
BANT In Sales – How Does It Work?
Where Does BANT Come From?
BANT was created by IBM, as a way to identify as early as possible whether or not their potential clients were qualified for sales conversations, and their products and services.
According to their website, their BANT opportunity identification criteria is a guide they wanted their Sales Professionals to use as a guideline.
It also states that the Sales Professionals should ensure that their potential client should meet at least three of the four criteria before proceeding with their sales conversation.
What Does The Acronym Stand For?
BANT stands for the following qualification framework:
Breaking It Down
The B In BANT – Budget
The first qualification area to explore in BANT when qualifying your potential client, is whether or not they have the budget to invest in whatever it is that you’re selling.
The reason why budget is important, is because first of all you want to ensure you’re speaking with someone who can actually buy from you, and secondly- you don’t want to be used for free consulting.
There are certain questions you can ask that’ll qualify whether or not they have the budget, or whether they’re just fishing for ideas at this stage.
Questions may include:
- “We’ve worked out that you’re probably losing *insert cost* so far by not having a solution. What budget did you have in mind to solve the issue?”
- “Who’s in charge of making investment decisions, and are they able to come to the meeting?”
- “What did you roughly have in mind to fix the issue?”
These three questions give you a quick understanding whether they’re serious about solving their problem, and if they actually want a solution to their problem.
In The 5% Sales Blueprint, we teach that not only should you find out what their budget is – but you should also explore using targeted sales questioning what it’s costing them by not having their problems solved.
What this does, is make the problem very real, and connect a financial loss anchor to the problem.
By doing so, the potential client can see with clarity that they need the issue solved – and that you perhaps can be the person to solve it.
The A In BANT – Authority
The A in BANT stands for authority.
Many Sales Professionals make the mistake prematurely presenting to potential clients, without finding out their personal needs, and secondly – not checking that decision makers are present.
It’s important to meet with decision makers as soon as possible, because if you don’t; the people you’re meeting with will sell on your behalf.
By letting them sell on your behalf, you’re not setting expectations, a framework around your sales process, and not in control of how the conversation should go.
This makes you a commodity, rather than positioning you as a Specialist.
If you’re unable to meet with the decision maker up front, get a clear understanding of what the next steps are to meet with the decision maker.
This is important, because it’ll show whether or not they’re serious about interviewing for a solution.
You should also learn and take notes about their procurement and buying decision making process.
Bonus tip: By having decision makers up front attend your sales conversation, you can cancel the two most common sales objections.
Read the related article below to find out how.
Related article: How To Overcome The Two Main Sales Objections In Two Minutes
The N In BANT – Need
As previously mentioned, Many Professionals present their ideas prematurely; hoping that something will stick and that their potential client will buy.
When asking questions, you should follow a structure (not a sales script) and ask questions that help steer your potential client is a certain direction.
The direction in which you’re steering them, is learning whether or not they have a need for your product or service.
By presenting too early; you’re making an assumption that the person wants or needs your product, which can actually cost you the sale.
Instead, we recommend focusing on the following key areas to learn about their individual business needs:
- Their pain points and friction
- Desired outcomes and pleasure
- What they’ve put aside to fix the issue
The way in which you ask questions to learn these points, are by asking tie down sales questions.
Tie down sales questions are questions in which a person can get agreement from their potential client, if there is in fact an actual need. This makes tie down questions ideal for the BANT qualification process.
Ensure there is a need before you present your product or service.
This will hold you to a standard of integrity and give you the opportunity to ask for referrals.
Related article: Tie Down Questions – Your Ultimate Guide
The T In BANT – Time-frame
Once you have established that they have a budget to solve their issue, that decision makers are present, and that they can in fact benefit from your product or service – you need to understand when they want a solution delivered.
Depending on what you’re selling – you may be able to solve their problem straight away, or perhaps it may take a while to deliver.
For example, someone looking to enhance their sales skills, can invest in The 5% Sales Blueprint, and start learning and implementing straight away – saving them years of learning and potential lost income.
A person selling SEO, will have to let their potential client that it may take a while before they start seeing results; as it generally takes consistent work and patience for websites to rank.
If a potential client thinks they’ll rank straight away – there’s a disconnect between their expectation and reality.
This will leave the client feeling unsatisfied and can massively hinder your reputation.
We strongly recommend that you’re 100% clear on what they can expect, and only serve people if you can in fact deliver on your promise.
BANT is a great qualification process for Sales Professionals and Business Owners, because it is easy to remember, and can be used across a range of industries.
To recap, learning the budget, authority, needs and time-frame are all crucial when finding out if you can in act serve someone, and if they’d benefit from your product or service.
We recommend adding BANT to the beginning of your sales process and using The 5% Sales Blueprint as a structure for the rest of your sales system.