Entrepreneurs and solo-preneurs most often are the face of their business. That means YOU are the one out meeting people and talking about what you do to folks who might potentially be a good match for your product or services. I often ask my clients how they “know” someone is a good lead or prospect, and the answers I get tell me that we each develop a vague sense of how much interest or need there is. Vague sense is a good start, but we’ll be more on point and successful if we have a stronger way to classify and prioritize our potential customers.
Large companies often use a system called BANTS. Entrepreneurs can use a simplified version in their own marketing. It’s an acronym that stands for five issues that we usually address informally in sales conversations.
B is budget – is this person willing to set aside the money necessary to purchase your product or service?
A is authority – are you talking to someone who can make a yes decision to buy? And if you aren’t, who is the authority, and can the person you are speaking with introduce you or include that person in your meeting?
N is need – does this person have a need for what you offer?
T is timeframe – when does the person see moving forward, or when must the need be solved?
S is sales-ready. Is this person ready to buy now?
Some companies use the S as size, meaning, how large will this sale be in monetary terms? Is the opportunity large or small?
If you are the marketer for your business, you can use this acronym to quickly see what is lacking when a sell is not moving forward. Maybe everything looks good but budget won’t be in place for another six months. By asking the right questions you’ll know that – and you can make a note to reach out again in 4 or 5 months rather than spending your wheels and getting a constant “no deal.” Try using BANTS or adopt it to your own unique situation. I’ll bet you will more clearly see where things are stuck, and learn to use these criteria to market more successfully. And that will be one more way to make your business thrive!
(c) Sue Painter