Qualify, qualify, qualify… at every stage

September 16, 2017

BANT: Confirm Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline

Have you BANT-ed your pipeline? If you haven’t done so till now, you are dead in the water!

Ignore the awkwardness in future; BANT your prospect immediately! There’s no shame in it and 99% of the prospects will appreciate you for it. Qualification must also be done at every stage, at every meeting if you can. This will keep you and the prospects honest. And, take it from pure sales experience, the prospect will appreciate you doing this. Why risk losing the deal just to avoid asking some simple questions?

Change is the only Constant…. in life and in sales

Anyone who has carried a bag knows how deals can just vanish or walk away. Have you faced any of these situations? The decision-maker changed, other priorities have come in, the budget has diminished, the pain-point got solved by a competitor, they didn’t know you as well as you thought they did, or just, maybe, your internal champion went on vacation and didn’t tell you. How many closes have you lost because of these?

Have you heard the expression, “Change is the only constant!”? If you are in sales and do not live by this axiom, you need to stop and re-examine yourself. The truth is that things will change and they will always keep changing. You cannot stop it or avoid it; and neither can your prospect. Add to this the busy lives everyone leads, business situations demanding immediate attention and constantly changing information, prospects are inundated with choices. How can one succeed in sales then? The answer is re-prospecting and re-qualification and rinsing and repeating this throughout your sales process.

Even when you are past the Qualification stage and are designing the solution or quoting, it still doesn’t hurt re-prospect and re-qualify. Unless you are in a one-call close, you must remain uniquely sensitive and respectful of the prospects’ changing needs. Thus, you cannot and must not take one conversation to the bank. Always re-confirm by phone, email or face-to-face.

Tips and Tricks

An email that is simple and innocuous does the trick typically. For example, “I’m glad you feel that we can help you, George. While I prepare the additional materials (or quote or XYZ), can you please confirm if you are still confirmed for the budget and timelines we discussed?” Other options that are usable are,

  • “George, here are the bullets we discussed the last time we met. Has anything changed on your end so that I can incorporate them into our next step?”
  • “Hope we answered all your open questions, George. I recall you mentioned that you are still the decision-maker on this. If there are other people we need to run this by, please let me know. I’d just like to better understand your decision-making process internally and be ready to answer questions from others.”
  • “My team is working diligently to get you started as soon as possible. I’d just like to reconfirm that your timeline is still the end of October. Can you please confirm this if you have a moment?”

Recap: If you really want to be a rainmaker, don’t ever stop prospecting or qualifying!

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