For the longest time we were encouraged to use the BANT as a means of qualifying potential buyers, and I guess by extension shorten sales cycles and get more sales. When you think of the components of BANT > Budget, Authority (to purchase), Need and Timeframe, they all look sound and valid. No Budget – no buy; no authority – no buy; no need – no buy; no timeline – no buy. The implication is that without these four elements, you do not have a qualified buyer. So where is the problem, well the reality is that buyers with all four attributes present, especially in the qualifying stage, are very few.
According to the same pundits who promote BANT, usually less than 30% of your potential market, reduce that by the number of people not ready or yet prepared to act, and you are looking at a small and crowded segment. Crowded because every sales person has got their eye fixed on these people, as they are declared buyers.
The larger pool of potential buyers, who may not realise a need, and therefore will not be tied to a timeline, will be disqualified by many using BANT to identify buyers. Now some will learn to create need, and then a timeline, which is the right thing to do, the question is how to begin that process.
The means is to shift the focus from BANT related areas to the buyer’s objectives. Companies and buyers all have objectives, things they would like to achieve over time. As an example, I am dealing with a company currently doing about $32 Million in revenue, and they goal is to be at $100 Million by the end of 2019. When I was introduced to the owner, what I was selling was not on his need list, want list, wish list, any list. After all, his folks “are experienced industry veterans, many of them trained long before they join the company. Many of them were the ones that took the company from $7 Million five years ago, to where they are now, and think of the last five years.
When we first met, he had what he felt was a sound plan to get to his goal, knew what he needed, and was actively executing on those things. One of his needs was not sales training. The only thing to do was to abandon BANT and focus on the one thing all decision makes have, and will act on – objectives.
Once we shifted the discussion from what I do, and what his current perceived needs were, to his objectives, and potential barriers to those objectives, the possibilities opened up. None of them were sales training related (product), but they were all clear to the buyer, once presented in a specific light, and they all begged the question – “how do we do that, how do we achieve that so we can move towards the ultimate goal?”
In the end what will be delivered will look like sales training, but what was bought was something different, something that once defined he needed to get to $100 Million, something that was not a need before the new context, something BANT would have missed.