When it comes to sales, there are many frameworks you can use to help close more deals. This is especially important when it comes to the initial call.
While cold calling will leave you with a lot of rejections that you will have to overcome, it’s also one of the quickest ways to get in touch with prospects that may be interested in your product/service. Not only that, but you’ll need to qualify whether they can follow through with making the purchase.
And this is where BANT comes in. The BANT sales framework stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline, giving salespeople a great structure to help qualify prospects.
In this article, I’ll dive into how you can use BANT to help close more deals. Specifically:
- What is a sales qualifying framework
- The history and definition of BANT
- How you can apply the BANT framework for your sales calls
- Additional Cold Calling Tips
- GPCT vs. BANT
Let’s get straight into it!
What is a sales qualifying framework?
Sales qualifying frameworks help salespeople determine whether a lead is qualified and ready to buy. This is important because you don’t want to waste your time trying to sell to someone who is not prepared to make a purchase.
Many people use these sales frameworks because they provide a structure and a process to follow. This can be helpful, especially for new salespeople who are still learning the ropes.
One of the most popular sales qualifying frameworks is BANT. Some other well-known sales frameworks include:
- SPIN: Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need payoff
- CHAMP: Challenges, Authority, Money, Prioritization
- GPCT: Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline.
- MEDDIC: Metrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identify pain, and Champion
As you can see from the list above, BANT is not the only sales qualifying framework out there. However, it is one of the most commonly used, and it’s the one I’ll be focusing on in this article.
Let’s now take a look at the history and definition of BANT.
History and definition of BANT
BANT is one of the oldest sales qualifying frameworks. Created by IBM in the 1950s, it consists of four essential components that help determine how many leads have a real chance of becoming paying customers for your product or service.
Let’s take a closer look at each component:
- Budget: Does the prospect have the budget to buy your product or service?
- Authority: Does the prospect have the authority to make a purchasing decision? I.e., are they the decision maker?
- Need: Does the prospect need your product or service?
- Timeline: When does the prospect need your product or service? Can you deliver it in the time they need?
If you can answer yes to all four of these questions, then you have a qualified lead. However, if you can only answer yes to one or two of these questions, you might want to reconsider whether or not this is a good lead for you to pursue.
Now that we have a better understanding of BANT let’s move on to how you can use it in telesales and cold calling to help you close more deals.
How to Apply the BANT framework to your cold calls
When making a cold call, it is important to try and qualify the lead as quickly as possible. The BANT framework can help you do this.
Here are some tips on how to apply BANT to your cold calls:
1. Figure out the prospect’s budget
Determining the prospect’s budget for the project you’re proposing is essential. This will help you understand whether or not they can afford your product or service.
One way to do this is to ask them directly. For example, you could say something like: “Just so I can understand better - do you have any budget set aside for this?”
Another way to determine the customer’s budget is to research their company beforehand. For example, you can look at their annual report or try and find out how much they’ve spent on similar projects. This will give you a good idea of what their budget is likely to be.
Some other questions you can ask are:
- How much would you expect to spend on a product/service like this?
- Would you be willing to meet at a price if we could solve your problem?
- Do you have a set budget in mind?
- What’s an estimate for what you would be willing to spend on this solution?
If they don’t have a specific budget, you can ask them about their previous projects and how much they spent on those. This will give you a good idea of their ballpark figure.
If they can’t afford it, then there is no point in trying to sell them on it. However, if they have the budget, you can move on to the next step.
2. Find out who the decision maker is
The next step is to figure out who the decision-maker is. This is important because you need to ensure that you are talking to the right person. If you’re not talking to the decision maker, then closing the deal will be challenging (if not impossible).
To figure out who the decision maker is, you can ask them questions such as:
- Is there anyone else who needs to be on this call to help you decide?
- Who else is involved in this problem/decision?
- Did you manage these purchases/solution implementations in the past?
- Would you like to bring anyone into our discussion?
By asking these questions, you will get a better understanding of who is involved in the decision-making process and who you need to talk to.
Once you have determined the decision maker, you can move on to the next step.
3. Find out if there is a need for your product or service
BANT goes hand-in-hand with needs-based selling, which is a strategy where you focus on selling the customer what they need instead of what they want. This is important because, even if the customer can’t afford your product or service, they may be willing to stretch their budget if they see that your product or service is something that they need.
To figure out what the prospect’s needs are, you can ask them questions such as:
- What are your biggest priorities?
- What’s preventing you from reaching your priorities?
- What about our product/service appeals to you?
- What were the limitations of similar solutions you’ve tried in the past?
- What are your main challenges?
4. Determine when the prospect needs your product or service delivered
The last step in BANT is determining when the customer needs your product or service delivered. This is important because you must ensure you can meet their timeline. If you can’t meet their timeline, then there is no point in trying to sell them your product or service.
To figure out when the customer needs your product or service delivered, you can ask them questions such as:
- When do you need this project completed?
- Do you have a specific timeline in mind?
- How urgent is the issue?
- Are there any deadlines that we need to be aware of?
- How long have you been dealing with [issue]?
By asking these questions, you will better understand the prospect’s timeline and whether or not you can meet their needs.
Additional Cold Calling Tips
At the end of the day, BANT is a sales framework to help you better qualify leads and is only one part of the puzzle. There is a significant difference between cold and warm calls, with the former being significantly more challenging.
To up your cold calling game, you should consider some other strategies and tactics to help close more deals:
1. Perfect your Pitch
The pitch is one of the most critical parts of the cold call. This is what will sell the customer on your product or service.
Here are a few tips to help you create a killer pitch:
- Keep it short and sweet. You don’t want to bore the customer with a long, drawn-out pitch (if they stay on the phone long enough). Instead, you want to keep it short and sweet. Get to the point and explain why you can solve their problems.
- Use storytelling. Storytelling is a great way to capture the prospect’s attention and get them interested in your product or service. By using stories, you can make an emotional connection with the customer and increase the chances of them wanting to buy your product or service.
- Use data and statistics. Data and statistics are a great way to back up your claims and show people that you know what you’re talking about. If you can provide data and statistics showing how your product or service can help the prospect, you will be more likely to close the deal.
2. Be Prepared for Objections
Objections are going to happen, no matter how good your pitch is. Therefore, it’s important to be prepared for objections so that you can overcome them and close the deal. Here are a few tips to help you handle objections:
- Listen. The first step is to listen to the objection and try to understand where it’s coming from. Often, the prospect just wants to be heard, and by listening, you can show them that you care about their concerns.
- Empathize. After you have listened to the objection, it’s important to empathize with the customer. This means you must put yourself in their shoes and understand their feelings. By empathizing, you can show people that you understand their concerns and are trying to help them.
- Address the objection. Once you have listened and empathized, it’s time to address the objection. This means that you need to provide a solution to the problem that they’re having. If you can’t offer a solution, then there is no point in trying to sell them on your product or service.
3. Build Rapport
Building rapport is key when it comes to cold calling. If you can build rapport with the prospect, you will be more likely to close the deal. Here are a few tips to help you build rapport:
- Find common ground. One of the best ways to build rapport is to find common ground. This means you need to find something you have in common with the prospect.
- Be genuine. Another important tip is to be genuine. Be yourself and let your personality shine through. Customers can see through phony attempts to build rapport, so keeping things centered around a genuine engagement is important.
- Ask questions. The beauty of the BANT framework is that you’re asking questions. This is a great way to get to know the customer and build rapport because you’re showing the prospect that you’re interested in them and their needs.
4. Adopt tools for higher engagement
When it comes to cold calling, it’s essential to use the right tools to help you increase your chances of success. Here are a few tools that can help you:
- A good CRM. A CRM (customer relationship management) system is a must-have for any salesperson. A CRM will help you keep track of your prospects and their contact information. It will also help you keep track of your conversations and follow up with them.
- A reliable VoIP service. A VoIP (voice over IP) service is a great way to make calls from your computer. With a VoIP service, you can make calls worldwide without worrying about long-distance charges.
- Screensharing tools. Screen sharing tools are great for showing the customer your product or service. By using a screen-sharing tool, you can give the prospect a demo of your product or service without meeting in person. I highly recommend Crankwheel to help cut your sales cycle in half. This in-depth article explains why screen sharing is necessary for remote sales calls.
Here are 9 recommended tools for cold calling.
GPCT vs. BANT?
In recent years, a new framework called GPCT (goals, plans, challenges, and timeline) has been gaining popularity. GPCT is similar to BANT in that it helps you to qualify leads. However, there are a few key differences between these sales frameworks.
GPCT is more comprehensive than BANT because it covers four key areas instead of just three. BANT only covers needs, budget, and timeline, while GPCT covers goals in addition to what’s covered in BANT.
Additionally, GPCT is more focused on the future than BANT. BANT is focused on the present and the past (needs and budget), while GPCT is focused on the future (goals and plans). In a customer-first world, this is an important distinction.
GPCT is also a more flexible framework than BANT. This is because BANT can be challenging to use in certain situations, such as when the customer doesn’t have a specific need or when the timeline is unclear. In these situations, GPCT can be a better option.
In saying that, BANT is primarily used for sales, which makes it great for cold calling. GPCT is used for sales but can also be used for other things, such as project management or product development.
So, which framework should you use? BANT or GPCT?
The answer to this question depends on your individual needs and preferences. GPCT may be the better option for you if you prefer a more comprehensive framework. However, if you prefer a more straightforward framework, then BANT may be the better choice.
No matter which framework you choose, both can equally help you close more deals than not having any framework.
BANT is an excellent sales framework for cold calls because it helps you focus on the most important things. By asking the right questions, you will be able to determine if the customer can afford your product or service, if they have a need for it, and when they need it delivered.
Combine that with being genuine, using the right tools, following the best cold calling tips and being solutions orientated, and you will be well on your way to closing more cold calls.
About the author
Jessica La is a Content Marketing and SEO specialist at Melbourne Appetiser App Development. She loves creative writing and is passionate about the unique ways individuals and businesses can grow with SEO and content in the digital landscape. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org