Navigating the skills it takes to slay your sales funnel is critical to entrepreneurial success. There are dozens of skills that I plan to address on this blog to help you sell more, faster. But up first is one that I find many inexperienced sellers fumble most often: deal qualification.
Watch for upcoming blogs covering topics like:
- Active Listening
- Powerful Discovery Calls
- Presentation Skills
- Pricing Strategy
- Lead Generation
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For now, let’s dig into deal qualification – why it matters, how to do it, and how much impact it can have on your business!
Learning how to qualify sales opportunities immediately frees up your time to ensure every moment you spend selling is on opportunities that can actually make you money. When your time is spent on discovery calls, with qualified prospects, your closing ratio will dramatically improve. Strong closing ratios means more profit for your business!
What is deal qualification?
Deal qualification is a process which a sales person makes an honest evaluation of the prospect and deal they are working to close. Qualifying a deal in a defined way provides you with a roadmap of which deals to invest time in immediately and which deals should be disqualified from your funnel.
Furthermore, with a true process that you follow consistently, you will open up time on your calendar and increase your close ratio. AKA more time and more money, honey!!
Why does deal qualification matter?
If you allow your mind to be tricked into believing a deal is qualified when it is not, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and a lot of wasted work effort.
Inexperienced sellers will stretch the qualification criteria in hopes of building a funnel that looks strong. Promise me you won’t do this?!
Resist the urge. Be HONEST about your deals. Cultivate your sales funnel with only highly qualified prospects who are ready to make a buying decision.
How to appropriately qualify your sales opportunities
There are many well-researched deal qualification techniques and strategies. Most of them are wild acronyms that stand for similar theories. My philosophy is to simply pick one. No matter what technique you choose you will see similar value.
I choose BANT – mostly because it is easy for me to remember and I have been using it my entire sales career (17 years).
Introducing BANT Deal Qualification Methodology
BANT is an acronym that stands for: Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline.
Essentially, you work to ascertain if your prospects have those 4 key components before you dedicate time nurturing and closing the opportunity. This occurs by asking the right questions at right time. And more importantly, listening to all buying queues, spoken and unspoken. What questions do they ask? What questions do they not ask?
It’s part psychology. Part emotional-intelligence. Part strategy. Part intuition. And a lot of timing.
It does take years to master. But, its worth it.
Now to the acronym:
Budget – Does your prospect have the service or product you are selling budgeted for? Does the price tag align with their expectations and ability to pay?
What I listen for: Is the prospect ready to make an investment in your type of solution? Have they used a competitive/complementary solution before? How does that competitive solution compare to your pricing?
Authority – Does your prospect make the buying decision? Can they execute the contract on their own? Do they prefer to make joint decisions with a partner? Understanding precisely who you are selling to is critical to a successful deal close.
What I listen for: Are you selling to a solo-prenuer? Is there a co-founder? Is a spouse/partner part of the approval process?
Need – Do you understand what need your solution is providing to this potential buyer? What is the use case? What problem does it solve? Or what need does it fulfill? You’ll want to be specific here.
What I listen for: The use case. Period. What is the use case/problem statement/need this prospect has? Does your solution fulfill it?
Timeline – Is this an immediate need? Or next quarter/next year?
What I listen for: This one is simplest but also the easiest to be blindsided by. When is the customer looking to solve the need? How dire is the need?
Perfecting the BANT strategy becomes much more than simply asking the right questions. There is also an art to how and when you ask those questions. If you rapid fire through them consecutively, you will turn off your prospect and lose the deal. Do not approach your qualification process rapid fire. Do not email your prospect all of your qualifying questions.
Master the art of the dance.
Add value while seeking answers.
Then continue adding value while you close the deal.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Let me know below if this was helpful to you? What sales lesson would you like me to write about next? How else can I help you?