In this episode of Selling in Asia, we get a front-row seat to the experiences of our Sales Representatives Huan Song and Trista McIver’s use of applying the BANT methodology to qualify leads in real-life selling situations. Huan Song is a SOCO Certified sales trainer, blended learning coach, and curriculum designer. Whereas Trista McIver is a program advisor for AMC NPO Solutions and the host of their podcast, The Strategic Nonprofit.
Mistakes Sales Professionals Make
First up, we’re discussing the misconceptions and mistakes that young Sales Professionals make before jumping into the importance of applying the BANT methodology.
Let’s be honest; selling is an art form, so it takes both talent and skill to sell successfully. However, it’s a universal truth that we all start somewhere. You’ll make mistakes, take risks, and then learn from them. So if this applies to you, take note!
Talking Too Much, Listening Too Little
A study shows that top-closing professionals in B2B sales, on average, speak only 43% of the time, allowing prospects to speak 57% of the time. You’re young, passionate, and eager to prove yourself – but at what cost?
You really want to build a rapport with people, and you ended up in a really long conversation, and then you have no clear direction of where anything is going with it. The conversation goes nowhere, with no awareness or sales directive.Trista
It’s imperative to slow down and adopt the 80/20 active listening approach. So in any conversation you have, you should be listening for 80% of the time and talking only 20% of that time. Why? It shows that you value what the other person is saying, that you’re interested, and you’re not looking just to get something from them.
Customers buy value, not the price or features. Sure, price is definitely a decisive factor for most customers, but it’s definitely not why they came to buy it in the first place! If a product or service is valuable enough, a customer will invest regardless of the price.
Not Focused On Closing
As much as 63% of all sales interactions end with the sales representative not even asking for the sale, but why? As your confidence and experience grow, you’ll find that the best tactic is just to ask for the sale. If there are price objections you need to find a solution that pleases both parties. Can you ask them for an approximate budget?
Every Opportunity Is Equal
This point brings us to the topic of qualifying, an important aspect of the sales process. Why do you need to qualify prospects? When leads are qualified properly, less time is wasted on people not likely to buy from you, so you can hone in on the ones who are. This is why sales qualifying methodologies are imperative to your strategy.
There are many different qualifying methodologies out there, including MEDDIC, MEDDPICC, CHAMP, GPCTBA/C&I, ANUM, FAINT. Which one you use depends on the product you are selling and who you are selling to.
So I spent so many years thinking, it all depends on how well I pitch. Every prospect is an opportunity and every one of those opportunities equal. So it’s up to how good my sales skills were to close them. It’s a little bit of a Wolf of Wall Street mentality.Huan Song
Applying the BANT Methodology
BANT is an acronym for a sales qualifying methodology used to determine the lead quality, which can then prioritize leads based on their score. When applying the BANT methodology, it’s essential to understand the importance of asking qualifying questions and properly determining your lead’s quality while keeping the rapport with your prospect.
Budget: Does the lead have a budget to afford what you’re offering?
Authority: Does the person you are talking to have the ability or authority to make a purchase?
Need: Do they have a need for your product or service?
Timing: Does the prospect have a critical need for your solution now?
While these might seem like simple questions, don’t fall into the trap of believing that all you need to do is ask your lead these four questions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Especially when you’re trying to retain a healthy rapport – I mean, no one wants to feel like they’re being interrogated, right?
Instead when appling the BANT sales methodology, you should focus on connecting with your prospect on a personal level, making your priority building trust.
Your prospect’s budget doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. In fact, you’ll find that it only takes someone to point out how a product can save a company money in the long run to persuade a prospect to realize there is enough money in their budget for your solution.
“I spent a bit of time just practicing in the mirror – “Do you have a ballpark budget?” I made the mistakes before the actual call.
The budget question for me was pretty hard in the beginning, but now it’s not so hard because I have to quickly decipher if this is worth me pursuing. It’s about spending the right time with the right opportunity right now.Trista
It’s critically imperative that you’re aware of who makes the final buying decision with the company you’re dealing with. However, be mindful that if you find multiple decision-makers involved, you’ll need to find a way to present your solution to everyone.
It’s also important to remember if you’re pitching to administrative staff, whilst your competitors are pitching to their boss, there’s no chance you’ll be getting the sale.
Authority is something that I used to struggle with a lot. I figured my old mentality was on selling and pitching, So oftentimes, I find myself pitching to the wrong person. Anyone who will listen, it’s been 30 minutes, 45 minutes an hour with the personal assistant, executive assistant, marketing manager, or other people.
That’s well and dandy, except what is the response you’re going to get? “Yeah, send me the materials and what we talked about, and I’ll get back to you on whether we need this.” Oh my gosh, you know what a waste of time.Trista
The higher the lead’s requirement to find a solution to their company’s current problem, the more likely they are to buy a solution. You’ll need first to assess if they have a problem your product or service can solve. Then you need to establish the scale of the issue.
Asking whether or not there’s a need for it. So what I used to be taught is that basically speak until they tell you whether they need it, the better the rapport, then the more they will tell you, and then they will tell you reasons whether they need it or not.Huan Song
By understanding when your prospect will be making a decision, you’ll also be able to forecast your closed deals better and know when to follow up with them.
Maybe the opportunity has a budget and a need, but if they’re not ready to buy, you’re still going to hit a wall. They’re going to hit a wall.
The worst thing that can happen is you start chasing, which is something that I used to do.
“Hey, any updates?” “When’s a good time to talk?” And slowly, from a warm lead, it becomes a cold lead. And if you’re not careful, you are seen as like a pesty pesky salesperson,Trista
To take your sales qualification skills to the next level, join our Sales Accelerator pack inside SOCO Academy, which gives you access to over 100 sales training videos covering everything from qualifying to standing apart from the competition to closing more deals.