In a data-centric world, where businesses have access to advanced technology, they still need qualified sales executives who can ask the right questions in the right way to prospects. However, many times, when the sales pipeline is being discussed, sales executives do not know these questions and whether the prospects have answered the questions accurately.
Sales executives can address this challenge by asking qualification questions which are also called the BANT questions.
What are the BANT Questions?
The acronym BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Time. Budget questions include how much money the prospect is able and willing to spend. Authority questions intend to obtain information about who is going to take the final purchase call.
Need questions are about gauging the exact pain points of the prospect that your product can solve. And, timing questions are asked to identify the prospects’ urgency to purchase your product or service.
These questions help sales executives qualify and prioritize their leads and plan their sales strategy more effectively. Let’s have a look at how sales executives should ask the BANT questions to their prospects.
● Budget Questions
A common challenge that sales executives face while approaching a prospect is to obtain accurate information about their budget. Prospects typically do not share their budget easily as they fear increased sales quote in case their budget is quite higher than the product price.
This challenge can be effectively addressed by using the technique of setting up milestones. For example, if your product costs around $5000, and your prospect is unwilling to share the exact budget, you should ask questions by assuming his budget.
If your assumption of $50,000 is too high for him, you can set up a lower milestone of $1000. If that reduced milestone is too low for him, you can keep setting up milestones within that range until the prospect feels confident enough to share the exact budget he has allotted for your product.
Apart from this technique, non-intrusive questions regarding how much they spend on similar products or services too can go a long way in making the prospect open up about their budget.
● Authority Questions
When a sales executive has the first meeting with a prospect, the key contact is often tasked with evaluating the product. At that time, these individuals are only the representatives of the company and not the real decision-makers. Also, at times, even if the initial contact is indeed the person who is going to sign the contract, the decision to buy a product needs to pass through a certain process.
The problem often arises when sales executives assume that these individuals have the final say in a purchase decision. To avoid this problem, sales executives should ask the person: “Are you going to be the signing authority for this contract if it goes through?” Most of the time, this direct question gives you accurate information about the real decision-makers, the scope of their authority, their titles, ways to access them, and the overall decision-making process.
● Need Questions
When sales executives are discussing their products or services with evaluators, they often assume that they have a real need for their product. When sales executives fail to measure the level of their prospects’ need for their products, it causes disruptions in the stipulated sales cycle.
To avoid making these disruptions, sales executives should ask questions such as: “Can you make your process better without my product? Is there anything I can do to make your process better?”
The analysis of answers to these questions helps sales executives understand the depth and sincerity of their needs better. This understanding ultimately empowers them to prioritize the leads and act accordingly.
● Timing Questions
The sales executives need to know the time frame within which a prospect is willing and able to close the deal. Many times, sales executives assume that prospects want to close the deal within a certain time frame. However, this assumption may confuse the sales process.
The best way to clear this confusion is to ask a direct yet polite question: “What can I do to close this deal within the month?” And, if the answer is: “Nothing,” sales executives get the idea of the level of their purchase urgency.
The BANT strategy is a time-tested method that helps sales executives get to the heart of the matter. Its adaptability, efficiency, and simplicity makes it one of the most prominent lead qualification frameworks. When used with the internal business landscape, it can help sales teams close more deals effectively.